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Gordon Craig

East German Forestry Service Uniforms

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Gents,

In another thread I promised to post pictures of my East German Forestry uniform collection. I'll also include as much of the histroy as I have been able to find on this organization.

At the end of WWII, the German Forestry Service continued to wear their Third Reich uniforms with the insignia removed. These uniforms were introduced by Herman Georing in 1935. In the early 50's, about the time the SMAD came to an end and the DDR came into being, new uniform regulations were produced for the East German Forestry Service. The uniform design remained the same as that adopted in 1935. The Forestry Service in the DDR stayed a national service as it had been in the Third Reich. The West German Forestry Service reverted to the pre-Third Reich structure of individual State Forestry Services rather than a national forestry service. The West Germans also maintained the 1935 uniforms. Other than the labels indicating where the uniform was made, if they are present, it is difficult to tell the uniforms of the two services apart and extremely difficult to tell a West German Forestry uniform for one made during the Third Reich period. The only obvious difference was that the West German Foresrty Service maintained the previous custom of having the cap of the acorn used in the rank structure point towards the collar while the Est Germans had the acorn cap face the shoulder seam. The acorns and shoulderboards look identical with a very similar rank structure. The East German Forestry Service wore the 1935 style uniforms until the end of the DDR in 1990. They did however, introduce some lighter weight uniforms in a different material, but in the same style, at some point during their existance. That date I do not know at this time. The West Germans moved to a new style uniform in the early 1990s.

As a reference point, the first uniform pictures I will post are that of the Third Reich Army Forestry Service. Their uniforms and rank structure were patterned after that of the State Forsetry Service with a few exceptions. The shoulderboards are of the army type and use army rank stars instead of the forestry acorns and the collar tabs have black background instead of the dark green of the State Forestry Service. The Army Forestry Service used the same rank structure but instead of being refered to, for instance, as an Oberforester he would be refered to as a Heer Oberforester. Their job function was identical to that of the State Forestry Service only they maintained the forests on army property.

I need to edit this post by addidng that this tunic was called the "A Rock" and was the dress tunic. I should also have stated that the Army Forestry Servcie wore the army style of cord as is pictured with this tunic. The tunic comes with the button under the shoulder for the cord, a dagger hanger in the interior and a slit in the left waist for the dagger hanger to protrude from.

Edited by Gordon Craig

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The shoulderboards and collar tabs for this uniform. While the collar tabs are of the correct rank to match the shoulderboards they are not the correct collar tabs for the army being the dark green of the State Forestry Service. It appears the original collar tabs were removed at some point in the past and State Forestry collar tabs hand sewn into place. I have never been able to find a pair of army black background collar tabs of any rank let alone one to match this tunic.

Edited by Gordon Craig

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The next pictures will be that of the first East German Forestry Sevice that I bought. When I bid on this uniform I had no real idea what it was never having seen an East German Forestry uniform previously. It was listed as an East German Foresrty uniform but I do not think eother the vendor nor anyone else who was bidding really knew what they were bidding on. After some years of research I was able to identify this uniform as belonginh to the NVA Forestry Service. Only last years when I visited Berlin was I bale to confirm for certain that the NVA did indeed have a small Forestry Service when my friend Nico showed my a set of regulations for this service. It is completely different from other East German Forestry uniforms in that it is cut exactly like an NVA uniform. It has the same buttons as the NVA but the shoulderboards of the Satate Forestry Service. It is also of a very unusual colour of grey/green that exists in no other DDR organization that I am aware of. It is also unique in that it has a dagger hanger inside and aslit in the left waist for the dagger hanger to protrude from. This confused me because the DDR Forestry Sevice did not have a dagger. It was possible that the DDR NVA Forestry Service wore the army dagger. A couple of years ago when I bought a set of uniforms from a retired West German forester I asked him about East German Forestry daggers and if they wore them. He said it was possible because forestry daggers were produced and sold in the DDR. This is still an unresolved question. The tunic has thread loops over the left breast pocket for the wear of a ribbon bar/awards.

The uniform pictured next is the only one like it I have ever seen. It came with a peaked cap in a matching colour. It has a grey/green shirt totally unlike the DDR NVA shirts. It is designed to be worn tucked into the pants unlike the NVA shirt which follows the Russina style. It has small silver buttons 12mm in diamtre sewn on. There is a button on each sleeve to allow them to be worn rolled up and fastened into place. It has the standard DDR type of shoulderboard attachments on the shoulders but it did not come with shoulderboards. The tie is a strange colour of dark green. Again, unlike any other DDR tie I have seen. It is fastened around the neck with an elastic band. The trousers are for wear outside the boots and have a dark green stripe down the outside seam of each leg.

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Next is the collar tabs and shoulderboards. The collar tabs are of machine embroiders grey thread. You see lots of these for sale on ebay.de and they must all be fakes. There just too many of them for a small service like the NVA Forestry Service. The shoulderboards have a silver metallic underlay and a dark green cord overlay with a single silver acorn. Interestingly eneough, this tunic has the acorn facing in the Third Reich style IE towards the collar. It has obviously always been on the shoulderboards in this position. Nico has promised me a copy of the NVA Forestry Regs but I have not received them yet so I can not confirm the authenticity of the acorn placement on these boards but I suspect the NVA Forsetry Service, like the Army third Reich Forestry Service before them adoted some changes to the standard State Forestry Regs.

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And finally, a shot of the loops above the left upper pocket. More photos of my DDR Forestry collection will follow over the next few days.

Edited by Gordon Craig

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My gosh! I had no idea the GDR uniforms so closely resembled the ones used during the war. How can a tunic or tabs be accurately dated?

Did the forestry service continue to use the TR color system?

Black- Luftwaffe

Brown- Private Service

Gray- Heer

Green- State

Paul

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Paul,

No they did not have the same colours as the Third Reich. They all wore green, as you will see in some future posts, or the NVA colours as shown in this post. Since there was only the NVA and not a separate air force etc there was only the NVA Forestry Service and not the multiplicity of Forestery Services that existed in the Third Reich. There is nothing in print on the DDR Forestry Services and only a few of us have studied it in any depth. What I have learned about the DDR Forestry Service comes from the DDR Regs, the uniforms I own and a great resource, a member of the faculty at a University in Berlin, who collects German Forestry item.

Dating tabs and tunics can be difficult. Especially as I mentioned, the West German ones. I'll try to cover that in some depth when I post some more uniforms.

Regards,

Gordon

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Gents,

Time to continue with the NVA Forestry uniform. The first picture will be of the hat that came with the uniform. This cap is unlike any Third Reich cap and any reasonably knowledgeable person would not be fooled if someone were to doctor it up and thry to pass it off as such. This does happen in Germany where someone takes an extremely rare DDR cap and tries to make it into something they think will generate more cash. The sweat diamond was romved at sometime in the past, much to my distress, so I have not taken a picture of the interior. It is just a green cloth interior of a light wool material. As in Third Reich times, the crown of the cap has dark green pipping although much darker than that used in the Third Reich. The cap band is the same colour of dark green and matched the green stripe in the out seam of the trousers.

Note-we can date this cap as being after the date that the compass and hammer state symbol were adopted so no earlier than the early 70s. Also note that although this uniform belongs to the NVA the cap bears the civilian style cap badge and not the NVA style.

Regards,

Gordon

Edited by Gordon Craig

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The next picture will be of the Army Third Reich Forestry cap that came with the uniform in the first picture. It is missing the eagle which is not unusual for these caps. I am showing this picture only so you can compare this cap with the very early DDR Forestry cap I will post after it.

I should have mentioned when I first posted the NVA Forestry Service uniform that those of you familiar with Third Reich SS rank insignia will recognize the leaves used on the collar tabs. Only the NVA Forestry Service and General Officers in the DDR Polizei wore this type of collar tab insignia.

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The next cap is a very early DDR Forestry peaked cap. Note that the cap badge uses the roundel in common use in the DDR before the hammer and compass state symbol was adopted. As a civilian cap it makes sense that it should have the civilian cap badge. Its shape is very similar to world war II caps and this makes sense once you know that it was made by Emhage (formerly known as EREL during the Third Reich). They are even at the same street address.

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Here is the interior of the early DDR Forestry Service hat. I have not been able to find out very much about this hat except that it is authentic. It is the only one like it I have ever seen except for a poor picture in a small book on DDR hats published in 1990. I have to assume that it was worn with a uniform much the same as the DDR ones I will picture shortly but do not have a photo of the hat in wear with a uniform.

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Hi Gordon,

Outstanding pieces! I remember seeing a couple of the forestry uniforms about two or three years ago and they went for cheap. I was very tempted and had the $$'s at the time but went for other goodies instead. Now I wish I'd picked them up. I also like the customs uniforms and the ones for pilots in the border guard. Railroad uniforms are very nice too.

Here's hoping you get to add alot more to your forestry collection before too long. Thanks so much for sharing. :beer:

Dan :cheers:

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Time to add some state forestry uniforms to this thread.

First is a long sleeved shirt for winter wear. Note the green colour which is different from that of the DDR police. This shirt would have been worn with the jacket because there is no way to attach shoulderboards to indicate rank.

There is not makers mark in the shirt. Just a size 41N tag at the neck. The tie shown with the shirt is a police tie which I have been told is what was done. Since DDR ties were not notmally marked it is hard to say if there was a specific green State Forestry tie as there was with the NVA Forestry Service uniform.

Edited by Gordon Craig

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Next is the standard State Forestry tunic. It has four pockets closed with green plastic buttons. The upper breast pockets are false pockets with just the flap. The front closure has four plastic buttons. The shoulderboards are for the rank of Forst Anwarter. A forestry member who has just joined and is on a probationary period. I beleive this is a later period uniform as it is made of a more modern material instead of wool.

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The makers lable in this uniform. A very common company lable found in civilian DDR uniforms.

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Next up is the summer shirt for wear without a tunic. It is in the form of the standard DDR summer shirt which is a copy of the Russian summer shirt. The green plastic buttons are of identical design to the tunic pictured previously. The size is 42N and the maker is VEB BECHSFELDER HEILIGENSTADT.

The similarity to these boards and the NVA Forestry Boards are obvious.

Edited by Gordon Craig

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Now we move on to a DDR State Forestry Service woman's tunic. This tunic is of exactly the same design as the previously shown man's tunic except it buttons on the opposite side. Collectors in Germany have told me that women wore the same shirt as men but I tend to doubt that. Why create a woman's tunic and not awoman's blouse to wear with it? All other DDR organizations did. I have ben unable to abtain a skirt to go with this tunic or pants to go with the previous tunic.

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The lable inside the woman's tunic. Thats it for today post. Some hats in a few days.

Edited by Gordon Craig

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Your collection is amazing!! I have never seen these articles before! Do you know how many members were in the DDR forestry service? There were only about 600 fallschirmjagers at any point in time, yet I own five and seen hundreds of them!

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Paul,

I have no idea how many people served in the DDR Forestry Service. There clothing is indeed rare. I have been lucky in some areas of my Forestry Service items especially because of my collector collegue in Berlin. I don't know if anyone has any idea of how many people served in the DDR Forestry Service but I'll ask and let you know what kind of answer I get. Like you, these are the only items of this type that I have seen. There is one other light weight uniform that has escaped me. I have a pair of trousers but not the jacket.

Regards,

Gordon

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