Asked in World War 2World War 1Germany in WW2
What did the German soldiers wear in world war 1?
November 09, 2007 10:56PM
Feldgrau (field gray). The German Army adopted this color for their field (combat) uniforms in 1907, but it was not one single color. Basically it was a gray-green but it came in many shades. Feldgrau was used right up to the end of World War 2 in 1945, and even thereafter in the West German defense forces (Bundeswehr).
The color was very suitable to the age of the machine gun and highly accurate rapid-fire rifles for, while it was not camouflaged as such, it blended well into the background, making the wearer harder to see. The French Army, on the other hand, went into battle in 1914 in the same highly colorful uniforms with red pantaloons that they had worn since the 17th Century, and it proved to be a disaster since they made easy targets. The French quickly figured this out and adopted the Horizon Bleu. By 1916 all the belligerent armies were in some relatively inconspicuous color, such as British khaki (which means "dusty" in the Urdu language).
Incidentally, in 1915 the French were the first to adopt a steel helmet, called the "Adrian." By 1916 all the belligerents had adopted some form of steel helmet to protect their wearers from shrapnel during the incessant shelling. By far the best was the German "Stahlhelm" (literally steel helmet) with its deep skirt to protect the ears and neck. The modern U.S. Personnel Armor System Ground Troops (PASGT) helmet is sometimes called the "Fritz" helmet for its strong resemblance to the Stahlhelm. The resemblance is not accidental: the deep flared skirt does provide more protection than the older "steel pot" worn since World War 2, and the new helmet is made of Kevlar® and resin, making it possible (sometimes) to stop a rifle bullet.