BACKGROUND: The development of the M36 field blouse can be traced back to April 1933 with the introduction of the first pattern field blouses which were a departure from the cut and style of tunics utilized in World War I. From its introduction until 1936 the field blouse underwent a couple of small modifications designed to enhance its performance, appearance and longevity. Modifications to the 1933 pattern field blouse began in December 1934 when the original field-grey basic cloth collar was altered to a field-grey badge cloth for a better appearance. In September 1935 the collar was altered again from the field-grey badge cloth to dark blue/green badge cloth. The final pre-war modification to the field blouse occurred in December 1936 with the addition of a partial lining to the interior breast and upper back panels to increase its wear-out time. The Officerís service tunic followed the basic design of the EM/NCOís field blouse with the most readily visible difference, besides the insignia, being the turned up French cuffs. This example is an M35 field blouse that has been modified by the addition of Officerís quality insignia and simulated French cuffs giving the appearance of an Officerís service tunic. The modifications appear to have been period applied. The different branches of service within the army were allocated a specific, identifying, waffenfarbe, (Branch of Service Color), with white being chosen for Infanterie, (Infantry), personnel. On the field blouse and service tunic the waffenfarbe was generally displayed on the shoulder straps/boards and the collar tabs. Officers and certain senior NCO ranks were responsible for purchasing their own uniforms and as a result were allotted a clothing allowance through the armyís Kleiderkasse, (Clothing Account), system. The Officers and certain senior NCOís could choose to purchase their uniforms from the armed forces clothing depots or to privately purchase garments of higher quality. Although enlisted personnel were issued their uniforms from government supplies they were also permitted to purchase privately tailored uniforms although the price may have been restrictive. Of Note: The 44TH Infantry Division was originally formed in Vienna in 1938 and the 134TH Infantry Regiment was the tradition bearer of the Imperial Austrian Armyís 4TH Infantry Regiment Hoch-und Deutschmeister. The originally 44TH Infantry Division was destroyed at Stalingrad in February 1943 and a second 44TH Infantry Division was formed in June 1943 and given the honor title, Reichsgrenadier Division Hoch-und Deutschmeister. On December 31ST 1943 personnel of the 134TH Reichsgrenadier regiment division staff and its replacement battalion of the 44TH Infantry Division Hoch-und Deutschmeister were bestowed a unique, shoulder strap/board, "Stalingrad" cross cypher that was based on a design of a cross that was worn by the 12TH century chevalier monks of the Deutschmeister-Orden.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Field-grey, wool/rayon blend construction tunic with a lay down, blue/green badge cloth collar features a vertical, five button front closure with double metal hooks and eyes positioned at the forward neckline. The field blouse has four, pleated, front pockets with scalloped edged, button down flaps. The breast pockets are the standard patch type while the hip pockets are the saddle-bag type with expanding side panels. The right breast has an Officerís quality, hand embroidered national eagle with outstretched wings, clutching a wreathed, canted, swastika in itís talons in bright, silver wire threads on a cut-out, blue/green, badge cloth base. The eagle is neatly handstitched to the tunic. Original award loops for two breast badges on the left upper pocket. The tunic has sewn on shoulder boards in matte, silver/aluminum Russian braid with a stamped magnetic sheet metal, "Stalingrad" cross cyphers with silver, gilt and light blue finishes, all mounted on white wool waffenfarbe bases. The Christian style "Stalingrad", crosses have subtly outward fluted arms with a raised outer lip. The slightly recessed arms of the crosses have a light blue painted background field with embossed, stylized, ornamentation and the apex of the crosses arms feature a gilt washed, embossed shield shaped base with a superimposed national eagle with out-stretched wings, clutching a canted swastika in itís talons. The shield shaped, central motif has a slightly pebbled background field and a raised outer edge lip. Situated just beneath the shield is a slightly scalloped, horizontal banner with the embossed script, "Stalingrad". The crosses retain over 95% of their respective finishes with light age tarnish to the silvered portions. Scarce, elite unit insignia. The shoulder boards, pebbled, retaining buttons are intact. The reverse of the blue/green lay down collar has the typical zig-zag reinforcement stitching. Original officer collar tabs with original application. The interior of the tunic is lined in rayon. Buttons look to be all original stitching as well. There are a few light period stains to the front of the tunic. The tunic is roughly size 34" chest. Comes with a nice pair of private purchase officers breaches (size 32" waist).

GRADE ****1/4                             PRICE $2,499.00

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