This is a superb M-1910 feldgrau officer’s tunic from Infanterie-Regiment Alt-Württemberg (3. Württ.) Nr 121. The regiment was founded in 1716 and garrisoned at Ludwigsburg. It was attached to the Württemberg XIII. Armeekorps. The M-1910 feldgrau tunic is a companion to the same officer’s feldgrau feldbluse tunic. It is the classic and most frequently seen of the officers’ wartime tunics. The tunic has a single row of eight silver buttons that run down the tunic’s center. Three additional silver buttons appear on each sleeve. The sleeve cuffs and collar display the matching red trim used by officers assigned to Berlin’s Great German General Staff. [The latter served as the Imperial German Army’s heart and soul. It was responsible for everything from planning the logistics of getting material to the troops in the field to selecting new items for uniforms, headdresses, etc. It had more departments than I can name, with the major departments commanded by General Officers. The major departments had lesser departments reporting to them. All of these departments had many officers of varying ranks who handled the paperwork generated to-and-from the field commands and kept the war machine humming].
This tunic was the second of our man’s garments, for when he transferred to the General Staff. It is impressive, to say the least. The shoulder boards are different from those on the other tunic. They are pre war examples, NOT the later M-1915 feldgrau variety. They again sport the “121” for Infanterie-Regiment Alt-Württemberg in gilt rather than silver. The “121” is flanked above and below by a Hauptmann’s twin gilt pips. The exterior’s final two buttons appear on the reverse in the vent area. They are the same size as those used to run down the tunic’s center.
The shoulder boards are the sewn-in variety, which was quite common among Leutnant’s, Oberleutnant’s, and Hauptmann’s ranks. One side is sewn into the tunic and the other is attached by a button. Each shoulder board has a white underlay. The shoulder boards are of the M-1915 feldgrau variety. The chevrons atop the shoulder boards are both black and red, which is indicative of Württemberg. The tunic’s collar is also feldgrau, which is quite interesting.
One other very important area on the tunic’s left chest elevates this tunic to the realm of the VERY, VERY special. The top left breast area sports large set of horizontally sewn-in loops for a massive ribbon bar. A total of X” loops appears that measure X” in width. Based on these dimensions I believe that a MINIMUM eight-to-ten decorations appeared on the actual ribbon bar. Just below this area, the tunic gets even better!
Typically, most tunics sport two or three sets of loops for its owner’s decorations. This tunic displays SEVEN sets of loops. Some contain two loops, while others have three. The loop sets that I have artificially designated as “one” and “three” are of the size that could sustain a larger decoration, possibly a breast star. Loop sets “two” and “four” are probably designed for an Iron Cross 1st Class and possibly a wound badge. Loops “five,” “six,” and “seven” are also large and could carry larger pinback decorations or breast stars.
It is my opinion that at LEAST two breast stars were worn on five of the loop sets, while the balance would have accommodated a larger decoration. I have some other “guestimations.” For a man to have this many orders and decorations, we are quite possibly looking at a member of royalty. Considering its relatively low rank versus the high number of awards, I think we could be looking at a young Prinz or Graf. My theory is based on the supposition that a lowly Hauptmann assigned to the General Staff would NOT have a tunic that housed so many orders and decorations.
The interior of the tunic is finished in fine gray silk. It has only one interior pocket. A decorative tailor’s tag appears on the interior below the collar. It reads “Gustav Gfrörer, K. u. K Hoflieferant Stuttgart.” The term Hoflieferant indicates a purveyor to royalty, which in this case means Württemberg’s König William II (1848-1921). It also further enforces our supposition that the tunic’s owner was a royal or a nobleman.
The tunic’s condition is excellent both inside and out. I can detect NO moth damage. The tunic has been well preserved for the last nearly one-hundred-years. It is a superb tunic for any collection, especially if coupled with its “mate, listed above.