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Flight Suit Design Changes - 1935


When Hitler officially announced the formation of the Luftwaffe in February of 1935, much of the flight equipment and clothing hitherto assigned to the DLV Fliegerschaft was transferred over to Germany's newly instituted Air Force.


Snap-Strap on Wrist Closures

Predictably, with the commencement of operational flight activity and increased scrutiny, the first of many modifications to the three Fliegerkombi designs occurred in late 1935 in accordance with Order LV 35, Nr.1032 of 17 December of that year.

The order provided for a snap-strap to be sewn into the lower end of the outer seam of the zippered wrist cuff closure. The strap secured the closure by fastening across the zipper by means of a snap, which prevented self-opening of the zipper. This feature became a hallmark of all Luftwaffe issue flight clothing, a modification retained through the end of the war. Naturally, the order applied only to the KW s/34 winter overwater and KW So/34 summer suits.

As the order mandated that all suits- both those in use and in stores- be appropriately modified to include the straps, from a theoretically standpoint no readily identifiable pre-LV 35 specimens are extant, except where the suits are dated 1935 and before. Additionally, obvious differences in thread/material type and/or obvious depot modification may indicate that a particular specimen predates the LV35 order.

There is substantial photographic evidence that, though offically outmoded by 1939, the pre-LV37 Kombis remained in frontline service (see Prien's JG53 in the Sources).  By the early 1940s, the garments were largely relegated to the flying schools.


Wearing Of Field Rank

Another change, likewise relatively minor, was proscribed within order LV 36 Nr.21, issued on 24 December, 1935, which allowed the wearing of field rank on the outer sleeves of the Fliegerkombis, between the shoulder and elbow.


Photo Gallery

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1936 Overwater Winterfliegerkombi - Front
1936 Overwater Winterfliegerkombi - Rear
1936 Overwater Winterfliegerkombi - Frontal Details
1936 Overwater Winterfliegerkombi - Cuff Snap Strap
1936 Overwater Winterfliegerkombi - Markings
1936 Overwater Winterfliegerkombi - Hersteller Label
1936 Sommerfliegerkombi - Front
1936 Sommerfliegerkombi - Rear
1936 Sommerfliegerkombi - Frontal Details
1936 Sommerfliegerkombi - Cuff Snap-Strap
1936 Sommerfliegerkombi - Unit Markings
1936 Sommerfliegerkombi - Hersteller Stamp


SOURCES:

Angolia & Schlicht, III, 236, 239.

Carlsen & Meyer, I, 115,152,165, 183.

Prien, Jochen, Jagdgeschwader 53, (Altglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 1995), I, 57.

Author's collection and observations.


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