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Has anyone seen this before? Rolled like the French wore them....

These are the regular straps rolled up to hide the regimental numbers. When in occupied areas to not give away the positions of units.

It was also an excellent way to keep the Tornister straps from sliding over the shoulders.

Edited by Naxos

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But to answer your question, yes, this is one of the common ways that straps were rolled up. There were other ways, most notably, just folding them in half and sticking the loose end through the shoulder "Schlaufe".

Chip

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Double shoulder straps! Very strange. I've never seen that before. Each man seems to have two straps on each shoulder.

... maybe to cover the unit-number on the straps!???

Best regards,

Jens

Edited by KIR

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... maybe to cover the unit-number on the straps!???

Well, but the one man rolled up his straps, which would expose the number on the strap beneath. I have no idea.

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Here is a thought or two...

That it was done, sure, but rather uncomman if you see how often you see it in photos... if you think about it.. what purpose does it serve?

If the enemy captures somone, or finds a body... they can just unroll the strap and see who it is....?

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If the enemy captures somone, or finds a body... they can just unroll the strap and see who it is....?

From what I gather, it was more to prevent the enemy from identifying units by sight before an action. The enemy might be observing troop movements through periscopes or telescopes, or they might interrogate captured prisoners who saw the unit in question moving up on the line, for example. The rolled straps would prevent initial identification.

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It was done to conceal the unit's identity from French civilians in the occupied areas.

In case of capture the man's unit was on the ID disk anyway.

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In case of capture the man's unit was on the ID disk anyway.

UNLESS he wore it backwards!!!!!! ;-)

I suppose this whole process was done until someone had a "Eureke!" idea and said "just take the damned things off and put them in your pockets!!!!!!"

Did you hear the one about the Just commisioned Leutnant from Ost Friesland ... he tired to roll his shoulder boards.... :-)

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I suppose this whole process was done until someone had a "Eureke!" idea and said "just take the damned things off and put them in your pockets!!!!!!"

Ding-ding-ding-ding! Give that man a cigar!

The 12th Company of the III. Garde-Pionier-Bataillon.

Edited by Thomas W

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Thomas,

The "double strap" is actually a M07 strap with tongue. In this case, just the top half of the strap was unbuttoned and folded back an tucked underneath the "Schlaufe". First time I have seen this done on a M07 strap. Thanks for showing this Jens!

Chip

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Ding-ding-ding-ding! Give that man a cigar!

and then you might be giving him something for a wrong answer. Why?

On the m10 style ENLISTED tunics, the straps are removable; on the ENLISTED "Bluse" introduced in the middle of the war, the straps are sewn by regulations supposed to be sewn to the tunic.

Units from the size of companies on up, have at least one officer. OFFICER field tunics have shoulder straps that are sewn into the upper seam of the top sleeve, and those straps have metal unit numbers or cyphers fixed on top, in plain sight.

If the intention of removing shoulder straps is to hide the unit's identity for whatever reason, what about the officers who can't remove theirs? The enlisted men being told to take the straps off, while the officers have theirs permanently attached and that can be used to identify the unit, are at odds with each other.

Also, spiked helmets were usually worn in the field with helmet covers that also had unit numbers, etc, on the outside.

Why have enlisted men remove shoulder straps if the officers in a unit cannot remove theirs?

Edited by Les

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and then you might be giving him something for a wrong answer. Why?

Actually, I was talking about the M.1910 Waffenrock only, not the Bluse. That's why I posted a photo of a flamethrower pioneer wearing an M.1910 Waffenrock. I didn't mention that I was talking only about the M.1910 Waffenrock, because I assumed everyone understood that.

The metal numbers on officers' straps could be removed, and the numbers on helmet covers were often removed or covered with squares of cloth.

Soldiers with the Bluse often wore slip-on covers for their shoulder straps to hide the numbers. Here are a bunch of pioneers with Bluse and M.1910 Waffenrock, wearing both rolled straps and slip-on covers for the straps.

Edited by Thomas W

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By the way, I have plenty of photos on men wearing the Bluse without shoulder straps. Even though regulations said the straps had to be sewn on, either the men cut them off, or the jackets were issued with removable straps.

Here are men attending a Minenwerfer-Kursus in the Vosges, February 28, 1918. Three of them wear Bluse without shoulder straps.

Edited by Thomas W

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Were the straps not sewn "on" as opposd to "in" ?

Makes a world of difference to removing them. when you need to.

How do you go on a trench raid with sewn in straps?.. sewn on are off in a minute,,, 5 minutes to put them back on...

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Were the straps not sewn "on" as opposd to "in" ?

Don't know. I've never seen a Bluse in the flesh, as it were. Maybe some of our collector friends can answer...

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Chris,

EM straps were sewn on to the Bluse, not into the seam.

One possible explanation why some (but not all) troops might not have straps on could be due to depot replacements on their way to their assigned units, or men re-assigned to other units and haven't been completely assimilated into their new unit. For example, during the winter of 1917 and first few months of 1918, younger men from eastern front units were frequently re-assigned to western front units in need of replacements prior to the "Friedensturm." Although Allied reports of captured Germans during 1918 report some German units had men with shoulder straps from several units, some unit commanders might have preferred men under their command to remove past unit identification marks in the interests of "uniformity" rather than having three, four or more unit numbers being worn by men under him.

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On 1/29/2010 at 22:22, Chip said:

Thomas,

 

The "double strap" is actually a M07 strap with tongue. In this case, just the top half of the strap was unbuttoned and folded back an tucked underneath the "Schlaufe". First time I have seen this done on a M07 strap. Thanks for showing this Jens!

 

Chip

That was my first reaction, too--tho odd they did not just remove them.

One from my collection. 

Soldatenfoto aus Ingolstadt 1917 (2).JPG

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Quote

EM straps were sewn on to the Bluse, not into the seam.

Not really true. It was the primary custom of the Bavarians to sew the M15/16 shoulder straps into the shoulder seam. Most Bavarian straps you will find are unfinished on the end (not sewn shut), as that end would be hidden anyway. I have a near mint 1916 dated Bavarian Bluse and you can plainly see that the shoulder seam was left open so that the strap could be inserted. From the factory, it was just whip-stitched shut. 

 

IMG_1274.JPG

Edited by Chip

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On 1/30/2010 at 11:41, Les said:

and then you might be giving him something for a wrong answer. Why?

If the intention of removing shoulder straps is to hide the unit's identity for whatever reason, what about the officers who can't remove theirs? The enlisted men being told to take the straps off, while the officers have theirs permanently attached and that can be used to identify the unit, are at odds with each other.

Why have enlisted men remove shoulder straps if the officers in a unit cannot remove theirs?

Officer's had two types of shoulder insignia...those sewn into the shoulder seam and the removable type. Early in the war, when it was found that the bright prewar straps were leading to officers being targeted, several forms of covering were used. The most common was a strip of cloth sewn over the board. Officers also painted their boards field gray and before the September 1915 regulations, a type of "subdued" board was available. By the September 1915 regulations, officer's boards were either subdued flat gray Feldachselstücke or the bright Friedensachselstücke, primarily meant for the Friedensuniform and the Kleiner Rock. So, from the very early days of the war, there was no need for an officer to remove his sewn-in boards, as there were several means to hide them.

Chip

03_04_10.JPEG

08_04_2.JPEG

Edited by Chip

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