Shoulder Straps - Armoured Troops

Examples of specific Waffenfarbe and Device Combinations for Enlisted Men
 

The Black AFV Uniform

Prior to the start of the war, there were only a handful of combinations of waffenfarbe and shoulder strap devices for shoulder straps as worn by men issued with the black AFV uniform.

(a) Men in Panzer Regiments wore pink waffenfarbe without devices, only a unit number.

(b) Men of the 24th Panzer Regiment wore golden yellow waffenfarbe with the unit number.

(c) Armoured reconnaissance troops wore golden yellow waffenfarbe, with an "A" device and unit number.

(a) (b) (c)
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Wartime Changes and Additions

After the start of the war, more men were ordered into the black AFV uniform.    Armoured reconnaissance units, previously drawn exclusively from cavalry regiments, could no longer draw solely on these units for personnel, so new units were created along with a new waffenfarbe - copper brown.  Other supporting arms, as part of the makeup of a panzer division, also moved to the black AFV uniform.

(a) Armoured reconnaissance troops manning armoured cars and halftracks wore copper-brown waffenfarbe.

(b) Signalmen wore lemon yellow waffenfarbe with a unit number.

(c) In May 1940, armoured pioneers were ordered into the black AFV uniform, and adopted black and white twist piping.  They stopped wearing this uniform about a year later.

(d) When significant numbers of self-propelled guns became common in 1941-42, the crews of some of  these vehicles (officially called Panzerjäger) were ordered into the black AFV uniform as well.  They were distinguished from tank crews by the "P" cypher in addition to their unit number.  In February 1942, Panzerjäger crews were ordered into the field grey AFV uniform.

(a)
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(b)
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(c)
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(d)
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In March 1943, armoured car crewmen in reconnaissance units were ordered to change back to rose pink piping, with the addition of the "A" cypher.

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Orders in May 1944 set out that men serving in Panzerjäger units within Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions, as well as Army or Corps units equipped with the Elefant, were to wear the black AFV uniform, with pink piped shoulder straps and "P" cyphers.

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The Field Grey AFV Uniform

The introduction of the field grey unifom, as well as the expanding array of special-purpose armoured vehicles in the German inventory, led to an increase in the number of waffenfarbe colours and device combinations.  The question of shoulder straps is confused in this period as well by the "official" move from dark green shoulder straps to field grey - both colours remained in use side by side until the end of the war.  To avoid confusion, both types of strap are shown here.   Also, the use of shoulder strap numerals and devices was severely curtailed in forward areas as a security measure.  These illustrations here are intended to be representative of official regulations, not actual practice - which included obscuring shoulder straps with camouflage covers, wearing the straps inverted, wearing numerals and devices on slip-ons overtop of the strap, and forgoing the use of numerals and devices altogether.

Assault Artillery (Sturmartillerie) crews (ie assault guns) were equipped with the field grey AFV uniform, with red waffenfarbe.   Self-propelled artillery crews also gravitated towards the wear of the field grey AFV uniform, also with red waffenfarbe. p15.gif (1537 bytes) p14.gif (1537 bytes)
In 1941, Armoured Pioneers were ordered into the field grey AFV uniform. p12.gif (1538 bytes) p11.gif (1538 bytes)
In February 1942, Panzerjäger (self-propelled anti-tank) units were ordered into the field grey AFV uniform; they continued to wear pink piped shoulder straps with "P" cyphers, with the strap itself being either dark green or field grey to match the new uniform.

Orders in May 1944 confirmed that Panzerjäger crewmen in units under Army or Corps command (except those equipped with Elefants), or integral to Infantry, Rifle and Mountain Divisions (and their respective regiments) were to wear the field grey AFV uniform, with pink piped shoulder straps and "P" cyphers. 

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Armoured Infantry

The infantry component of the Panzer Divisions were the Schützen Regiments.  They wore standard field grey field blouses (not the AFV uniform) with pink waffenfarbe, and an "S" device on the shoulder strap above the unit number.  In 1943, when the honorific title "Grenadier" was bestowed to all German Infantry Regiments, the Schützen Regiments became redesignated "Panzergrenadier" Regiments.  They adopted a new waffenfarbe - grass green - by the middle of 1943, and wore no other devices.

An exception to this was Grossdeutschland; while officially an Infantry Regiment in 1939, by 1942 GD had expanded to Divisional status.  When GD was redesignated a Panzergrenadier Division, the two infantry regiments were renamed Panzergrenadier Regiment Grossdeutschland and Panzer Füsilier Regiment Grossdeutschland.   While equipped as panzergrenadier regiments, they were permitted to maintain the white waffenfarbe of the Infantry.  The two units were distinguished on shoulder straps by coloured loops; white for the Panzergrenadiers and red for the Panzerfüsiliers.

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