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Flight Suit Design Changes - 1937


The year 1937 brought more substantial and visible changes, applied this time to all three existing Fliegerkombis.


Addition of Survival Equipment Compartments

A portion of the changes stemmed from a desire to accommodate certain pieces of survival equipment, placing the equipment in specially designed compartments. Hence, the order LV37, Nr.667 was issued on 20 May, 1937 specifying the addition of two compartments to the outer thighs, directly and a short distance below the zippered apertures at the hips- one compartment on each leg.

Appropriately, the right side compartment held the newly designed Kappmesser, or gravity knife, holding the knife within a small, trapezoidal-shaped inner retaining pocket, with the release lever down and to the rear.

The left side compartment held two first-aid bandage packs, secured by two leather loops sewn to the inside wall of the compartment. This pocket was a feature incorporated into all subsequent Luftwaffe flight clothing through the end of the war.

Rather than mandating a wholesale retrofit, the above referenced order directed that knives and bandage packets be carried in the zippered front thigh pockets of previously manufactured Fliegerkombis.


Changes in Dimensions of Retaining Pocket in Kappmesser Compartment

Later in the year, per order LV 37, Nr.1477 of 10 November, the dimensions of the Kappmesser compartment's retaining pocket were enlarged slightly to better facilitate insertion of the gravity knife. See the illustrations below for the specifics of those changes.


Addition of Small Diagonal Access Zipper

At some undetermined point during 1937, Fliegerkombi manufacturers implemented one further modification, namely the addition of a small diagonal zipper to the front of the suit below the main diagonal closure. Like the side zippers positioned at the hip, its function was intended to provide access to the wearer's inner clothing, in this case from the front. No extant order details this change.  As, to date, the access zipper has not been observed apart from the lower leg compartments, it is plausible that the introduction of the those features was roughly concurrent.


Photo Gallery

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1937 Sommerfliegerkombi - Front
1937 Sommerfliegerkombi - Rear


SOURCES:

Angolia & Schlicht, III, 240.

Author's collection and observations.


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