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Hi all!  This tunic came to me just today and I don't know what to think about it.  The tunic is standard field grey Ulanka with yellow piping and flight boards.  The tunic history, came from the family, been in same collection since 1970 (no doubts to this).  However several things confuse me. 

1.   This individual was a pilot, but started in Ulanen-Regt. Kaiser Alexander II von Rußland  and then became a pilot in 1917.  The piping colors for von Russland is red, yet this tunic has yellow piping.  I know pipings came in different colors for "regiments": for aviation troops during the war, and some individuals kept their piping from their original units (von Richtofen being a prime example).  This individual was wounded in 1917 and was relegated to desk duty for the remainder of the war.  Could he have switched his piping yet retained his uhlan uniform?


2.  This tunic looks like an EM tunic rather than officer.  I know some guys wore EM tunics as a work tunic or combat tunic rather than their nice officer one.  Was that standard?  The depot marks are on the back of the tunic yet very faded.  Was this a common practice for officers and field grey tunics from WW1 (my experience comes with German WW2 where anything was possible)

3.  One board popped off so you can see the stitching, The boards look good to me, the piping is more vibrant than the lower parts of the tunic which could indicate wear or replacement later on. 


  I'm at a loss for this one.   I don't know if the individual would have changed his piping after getting wounded, and kept his uhlan tunic rather than switching to the standard tunic in 1917.  The story from the family is the tunic came from the deceased pilots wife in the late 60's/70's.  The guy who had it was a huge enthusiast for WW1 aviation.  There are photos with him and the pilot in the hospital, but no records of the tunic from the wife.   I know the old adage, don't buy the story; but this story is pretty good.  There would also be very little reason for the individual to fake the tunic and the story, especially in the 70's/80's.  I'm just at a loss to why it is not officer quality, why the piping is yellow rather than red. 


Edited by Chris Liontas
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Who was the pilot Chris? My guess is the enthusiast added the boards, the buttons look to be for a mantel which may be replicas, the tunic's been worked on imo.


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I like the tunic. I can't say the boards are original to the tunic but with some neat sewing you could better secure them to the tunic. I have seen slip on sewn down frequently.

the buttons are not correct as pointed out but I have seen officers and one general wearing M15 buttons on 1910 tunics and simplified tunics in period photos. I can see the loops well enough to determine if I think they're period or added for a badge latter.

i like the way it looks and would proudly own it. I would not pay a premium Ulan officer ulanka price though.

I have a Guard Ulan Rgt 3 tunic and visor and the piping is similarly faded in areas.


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Hello guys!

There were only two Ulanen-Regiments with yellow pipings.

3.Garde-Ul.Rgt., Ul.Rgt.11 and 15

We don´t have Garde here. Both also had yellow pipings at the shoulder boards.

Ul.Rgt.1 (Kaiser Alexander II) had red pipings on the tunic and white pipings at the shoulder boards.

Strange to me the numbers inside of the tunic.

We might know the name of the man to get on.

The colour of the buttons were:

Ul.Rgt.1: Tombac

Ul.Rgt.11: Tombac

Ul.Rgt.15: Nickel


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I own myself a Ulanka for an officer of Ulanen-Regiment „Graf Haeseler“ (2. Brandenburgisches) Nr. 11. He was transfered to the Fliegertruppe late 1917. Could not say if he was an pilot or observer. He wore the uniform without any modification during his duty at the Fliegertruppe. No winged prop device on the boards.





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Does anyone have an issue flieger bluse? 

Id like to know the number of pilots who were officer, NCO, and enlisted (gefreiter and flieger ranks)

My understanding is all observers were officers.

Pilots could be enlisted or officer. I've seen non NCO pilots but can't imagine how they were used or why. Seems like you should be promoted if you are to be a pilot of a plane.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey all!!


  Thank you so much for the replies!  The tunics you guys posted are fantastic!  Thank you so much! German stuff is so nice, but so darn hard to ensure the originality.   I didn't add the pilots named at first, because it was one of those situation where the instant reply would be "fake".  Sometimes a person is so famous, that is will instantly cast doubt on an item due to the impossibility of it being original.  I figured that would be the situation, so I left the name out for the time being.  Here is the whole story.

The Enthusiast was a nice guy and never would mean to default, so I will leave his name out.  Lets call him John Doe.  He lived in a time  when they did not have the references we have today on uniforms and regiments of the German military.  This is a good example how never to buy the story, even though the story is true; it sometimes doesn't have anything to due with the item.   The tunic was named to Alfred Gerstenburg, friend and pilot with von Richtofen, and organizer of the Ploesti defense in WW2.

   John Doe met Alfred Gerstenburg when he was in the hospital dying from Tuberculosis.  They would talk about WW1 and his service during the war.  Alfred was assigned originally to Ulanen-Regiment Kaiser Alexander der III. von Russland  as was von Richtofen.  This is where they met.  Here is the first part of the problem, their piping was red, not yellow.  Gerstenburg transferred to flight troops along with Manfred and their served in the same squadron until Alfred was wounded in the throat and scratched from flight duty. I would assume, when Alfred was flying and was promoted to flight status, he would have still worn his Uhlan uniform.  The piping would have been red though, not the yellow seen here.  Additionally, it appears the Gerstenburg's had some money through farmland.  This tunic looks to be enlisted quality, not high quality officer tunics you guys have posted.  The lining looks very basic and reminds me of a standard enlisted mans tunic in the III Reich period.  After Alfred was wounded in the throat, he recovered for some time and then was assigned non flight duties in von Richtofen's squadron.  Now upon this assignment, why would he not have purchased or obtained a tunic like the one ccj posted above?  Why on earth would Alfred get an enlisted man's tunic, piped in yellow when his regiment was originally in Red.  The flight troops did have yellow piping for sections, but why would Alfred then buy an enlisted tunic for the Uhlan piped in the color.  It makes no sense.

    After Alfred died, John Doe was presented a tunic from Frau Gerstenburg as a thank you for talked to Alfred before he died.  Now this part of the story is totally true.  I've seen photos of Gerstenburg and John Doe talking in the hospital.  This tunic had been in the same collection, and on display for years.  So I know Frau Gerstenburg presented a tunic, but I highly doubt it was this tunic.  I have a sinking feeling that whatever was given to John Doe was either mixed up, or lost (possibly stolen) at some time.  Frau Gerstenberg may have given this tunic to John as a thank you, knowing it was not Alfred's.  Alfred was Prussian, was captured and interned by the Soviets post WW2, and his family farmland was overrun but the Red Army in WW2.  There is a high probability that everything he had stored at home was annihilated by the Soviet Army as it steamrolled Prussia.   The kicker to this idea, the markings in the back of the tunic are from a California Costume shop that rented stuff out during "Hells Angles" timeframe.  John Doe had several of their costume tunics was reenactment pieces.  Some of the costumes were made from originals, altered originals, or parts.  This tunic appears a original type, possibly altered.  The shoulder boards are not sewn on any way resembling German craftsmanship.  They are connecting with maybe 6-8 stitches external to the seam of the shoulder. 

I really had hopes for this tunic.  The story was iron clad, and I know something was actually presented.  What was given is still a mystery.  I'm going to get to go through the original records and see if I can find a mistake somewhere.  The original tunic may be hanging in a corner closet somewhere still. 

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Chris its still a nice coat, try and get original buttons personally I'd lose the boards. I think we get too hung up on things like piping etc the Germans reused everything wartime, and didn't give a dogs bottom if a dude's tunic/hat had correct whatever.


ccj uniform is awesome,,,,good heavens.

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  • 1 year later...

Hello gentlemen :The theme of the uniforms used by german pilots and observers is not very complicated , in first place existed the fliegertruppen , uniform as the one of the pioneers with light grey shoulder boards th 1st abteilung with withe piping the 2nd with red the 3rd with yellow and the 4th with blue . Officers transferred to the fliegertruppe were either infantrymen,  cavalrymen artillerymen or pioneers . they retained during all the war their original unit uniforms . for example : Immelman was a militar railroad officer ,Boelcke a telegraphist , Goring a infantryman . both von Richthofen cavalrymen Udet was of other origin first he learn to fly paying and licensed then was admited into the fliegertruppe as officer . he wears the uniform of the flieger . Milch was a pre war Artillery officer , von Beaulieu Marconnay another cavalryman . so apart of the reglamented uniform of the fliegertruppe a vast diversity of uniforms was used by officers pilots and observers till the end of the war. a colourful look . Artillery officers and General Staff ones, acted as observers but not ever early in the war. later , with more qualified NCOs these were observers . of course there were NCOs pilots. Unteroffizier Kandulski , a fighter pilot bring down the french ace Pegoud .Kandulski was a pre war civilian pilot . 

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The "UCI" mark is from United Costume Inc,. which was a provider of costumes to Hollywood. I don't think they did a retail business. Most of the WWI stuff in their inventory was acquired in the 1920s. So, this story of the tunic's history, is just that....a story. My guess is that a collector got hold of this tunic when UCI's stock was sold back in the 1980s. It probably had no insignia or buttons and they were added. 

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