GERMAN SOUTHWEST AFRICA – TUNIC AND TROUSERS – NCO – PRIVATELY-PURCHASED UNIFORM
This wonderful, privately-purchased tunic and trousers once belonged to an NCO who served in Deutsche Südwest Afrika (German Southwest Africa). [PLEASE NOTE: It is VERY difficult to offer the tunic and the trousers from any WW I regiment or unit, perhaps because soldiers were allowed to wear their trousers when they returned home. Also, many of their tunics were either stored away or sold to costume houses for use in movies and plays. A number of these tunics eventually reached the USA, where they were used in movies from the 1920’s-1940’s. The German uniforms and gear used in “Sgt. York” make my mouth water]!
The tunic is made of fine, cotton twill that is in marvelous condition. It features six silver buttons running down its center, all of which are decorated with the Hohenzollern Crowns used on Imperial Germany’s colonial uniforms. Each of its four pockets displays a similar silver button to secure it. The shoulder straps display the same button design in a smaller size. Dark-blue piping appears on the tunic’s collar and cuffs.
The aforementioned buttons exhibit a special detail. Each one is attached to the tunic by a special, removable, hoop arrangement. Picture, if you will, a screwback 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class. The latter was mounted to its tunic via a small hole that allowed the Cross’s backing plate to be inserted through it, then screwed on. The removable mounting hoop enables these buttons to be attached through similar holes cut into the tunic, thus eliminating the need to sew them on. I have NEVER seen anything like this before, although I have seen certain Bavarian General Officer’s tunics employ such systems for their shoulder boards’ buttons.
As noted above, the shoulder straps are sewn-in on one end, while the other end is secured by a small, silver, Hohenzollern-Crowned button. A series of black chevrons appears on the shoulder straps’ white background. The tunic’s left breast pocket features a magnetic 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class secured within a set of sewn-in loops. The paint on the Cross’s obverse is in excellent condition, rating right at 100%. The final detail to the tunic’s obverse is a large set of four horizontal, sewn-in loops above its left breast pocket. These were for a large, extensive ribbon bar that could display six-to-eight decorations. This combination of a 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class with such a large ribbon bar is all a bit unusual to discover on German NCO’s colonial tunic.
The trousers are also made of cotton twill. The stripes displayed on the side of each trouser leg are a slightly lighter blue than the tunic. Six bone buttons appear on the trousers’ waist, a sizing device graces the rear, and a very deep pocket is present on either side. Each trouser leg’s bottom features a slit to accommodate a boot. Ties are attached to the pant legs to secure them underneath the wearer’s socks.
The tunic’s condition is excellent, overall. Some wear is present along the collar, but that is its only issue. I only wish I had a suitable schirmmütze to go with the group!