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Luftwaffe Field Divisions

The first Luftwaffe ground combat units were formed in the winter of 1941/2 for fighting in Russia. The units were quickly formed in response to the overwhelming losses of the Wehrmacht earlier that winter, that resulted in German retreat. Sometime in February, 1942, Brigade Meindl was consolidated for combat on the Northern Front in Russia.

On the 17th of September 1942, Goering issued a proclamation for the institution of the Luftwaffe Field Divisions. By the end of 1942, Luftwaffe Field Divisions 1-22 and Field Corps I-IV were assembled and placed under control of the Heer for deployment on the Eastern Front. In order to train these former Airmen, the needed instructors were transferred from the Heer to the Luftwaffe.

By this point in the war, the Heer was in dire need of combatants while the Luftwaffe had a surplus of men. While it would have made more sense to simply transfer men into the Heer for training and deployment, Goering wanted a land combat unit of his own.

While these men had better equipment than their Heer counterparts, their lack of training and experience resulted in very high losses. as a result, the Luftwaffe Field Divisions were transferred to the Heer's control by Hitler's direct order on 20September1943. During the time period between September1943 and May1944, several field divisions and corps were disbanded. The remainder was reorganized along the lines of Heer Infantry Divisions and returned to the front(the Flak units and other personnel suitable for the new Fallschirmjager units remained with the Luftwaffe). Despite the fact that the Heer took complete control of the Luftwaffe Field Divisions, they maintained their association with the Luftwaffe by use of the term, "Field Division (Lw) or (L)".

Also despite being transferred to the Heer, the Luftwaffe retained their standard uniforms and insignia. The use of camouflage articles was wide spread, with some specialty items being developed and issued. There are many period photos that suggest a hodge podge of uniform articles commonly being worn by FD members(mixture of Heer and LW uniforms and insignia.

In the early days of the LW Field Divisions, the soldiers maintained the waffenfarbe of their former units. In 1943, a new system of branch colors was introduced. These colors followed the Heer's waffenfarbe system.

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Insignia configuration:

The following is the manner of insignia configuration for the Luftwaffe Field Divisions, starting in 1943. I will list the branch colors shortly.

Enlisted and NCOs-

Shoulder straps with piping of the branch color.

Collar tabs are rifle green with piping in the branch color.

Officers-

Shoulderboards are made from matte gray cords(like the Heer) with the underlay of the branch color.

Collar tabs are rifle green with the standard LW aluminum twist piping.

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Here is a listing of the various Collar insignia. Remember, that the shoulder boards and straps had the same piping as the outer piping on the collar tabs for enlisted ranks. For Officers, the branch color is only present on the shoulder board underlay. The base color for all collar tabs was Rifle Green

Rifle Regiments and Guard Companies- Rifle Green(with a black line separating the piping from the body of the tab).

Recon and Bicycle Companies- Golden Yellow

Artillery Regiments, Flak Battalions, and Tank Destroyer Battalions- Bright Red

Engineer Battalions- Black

Signal Battalions- Golden Brown

Supply Units, Field Police Units(until 03Jun43)- Light Blue

Military Police Units- Orange (added 3Jun1943)

Veterinary Units, including farriers, were transferred from the Heer and were supplemented by Luftwaffe Personnel. Veterinarians were transferred in from the Heer and maintained their Heer uniforms. Luftwaffe EM/NCO Veterinary Techs and Farriers were given their own waffenfarbe of Carmine on 07Jul1943. The collar tab was solid carmine in color, without piping. The straps had a carmine piping, as well.

The White branch color was designated on 10Jul1944 Luftwaffe Rifle Regiments(except for the 20th LW Field Division)

NOTE- There was not a panzer division in the LW Field Divisions, thus no pink piped tabs. Any such tabs should be considered for the Jaeger/Tank Destroyers from the Hermann Goering Division.

*Rifle Green was approximately the same light green as seen on Air Traffic Control Service, but just slightly darker.

Here are some EM examples from my collection.

Unissued FD Artillery

Unissued FD Communications

Unissued FD Engineer

Issued FD Rifle Regiment(Jaeger)

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Next are some collar tab examples for the Officers...

Leutnant

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Hi Jon,

Thank you for posting this great periodical. Does it get into details on the Felddivision?

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I think so but its in German(a rarer Der Adler for that) but I'll open up the frame tonight and see if it has any more pics of them in it. It should as whats featured on the cover of the Der Adler usually has the main story inside. All the best, Jon

***Correction Im sorry I just went to look at the frame and this particular mag is in a frame with another three that I nailed shut. So I wont be able to open it...I apologize.

Edited by Luftwaffe Rules

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This bundle of Field Division tabs is from the collection of Jerry B(last name withheld)! Thank you for allowing their use here.

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Any data or militiaria related to Luftwaffe Field Divisions will be greatly appreciated.

As usual, anything pertinent to the topic is welcome... period photos, insignia, uniforms, instruments, documents... anything goes!

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I have some docs and stuff to add, but it will have to wait a few weeks... this is a topic with great potential! my wifes great grandfather was killed in the 6th Luftwaffe Filed division.

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I have some docs and stuff to add, but it will have to wait a few weeks... this is a topic with great potential! my wifes great grandfather was killed in the 6th Luftwaffe Filed division.

Thanks Chris! I look forward to ANYTHING you can add here!!! :jumping: Even translated personal letters!!! :jumping::jumping::jumping:

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Paul,

thanks for posting some of my luft fd tabs. I Hope you like them.

Thanks,

Jerry

Edited by Galizien41

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Anytime Jerry!! Your FD tab collection is second to none!

Here is another set that just arrived today!! I have not been able to find when the unpiped tabs were used.

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Very nice pair....I should have bought them!! :cheers:

Anytime Jerry!! Your FD tab collection is second to none!

Here is another set that just arrived today!! I have not been able to find when the unpiped tabs were used.

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Hi Gary!

Thanks for the compliment. Had you have gotten them, the floodgates to your wallet would have to open as you will have to get ALL of the EM tabs as well! :lol:

I did you a big favor by taking the temptation away!

Paul

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These two are for Rifle Regiments(Green piping) and Recon/Bicycle troops.

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Paul,

Great score. Got my recon in as well. nice textbook pieces!

Thanks Jerry! I am only missing an orange and light blue piping.

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Newest piece is for a member of the Luftwaffe Field Division Rifle Regiments.

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Here is a nice single board, originally from George Peterson via Garth Thompson, to it's new care taker.

The board is for a LW Field Police Oberst. I bet there were not more than a couple of these people around, between the HG and FD units. As stated, the Orange waffenfarbe was announced in 1943 for Field Police.

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Thanks Mark, for your supportive comments. This stuff is sort of a passion for me.

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