Wehrmacht kit used by the Bundeswehr. (Stll used?)

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by BuggerAll, Feb 21, 2008.

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  1. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I was wondering what happened to all the shed loads of WW2 German kit. Did the Bundeswehr use much of it when it formed? Clearly a lot was destroyed but there still must have been heaps left.

    I know that they use the Coal scuttle helmets for parades, and still use the MG42. (I supervised the destruction of a few WW2 MG42s in Bosnia) but what about armour and aircraft?

    Did the DDR use any WW2 kit?
  2. In the very early days of the Bundeswehr they used a lot of WW2 infantry kit, including the old helmet (not used on parade today-that is simply their normal Kevlar combat helmet without a cover), MG42, KAR98 etc. Pretty quickly replaced by new stuff, mainly US (however they used the FN FAL for a short time as the G1, but replaced it with the G3 when FN wouldn't give them a licence for production). The machine guns you have seen in Bundeswehr hands are the MG3, essentially new-build MG42s using the 7.62 NATO round. The ones in the Balkans would have been either Yugoslav copies (post-war) which still used the 7.92x 57mm round, or the real thing as Yugoslavia kept the German kit they captured.

    WW2 combat aircraft would have been pretty useless by the late 1950s. Spain used copies and a few originals of the He111, Ju52 and Me109 until the 1960s (ironically many with Merlin engines) but they weren't part of NATO. The French operated copies of the Ju52 and Fieseler Storch in Indochina. Some Czech-built 109s were exported to Israel in 1948/49, along with a lot of German-pattern small arms (KAR98s, MG34s and MP40s). West Germany's air force started off with Sabres, F-84 Thunderjets and Dakotas. One Type XXI U-boat was refitted for service with the navy, AFAIK it was the only WW2 submarine ever used by the Bundeswehr. The French and Russians used several Type XXIs though, and Britain and the States had one or two of them and some Type XXIIIS for evaluation only. The cruiser Prinz Eugen was sunk in the atom bomb tests at Bikini atoll.

    As for armour, none to my knowledge used by the Bundeswehr, although German AFVs were used by other countries. Finland used German tanks and assault guns they received during the war until the 1960s. France had some Panthers on strength for a while but not, as sometimes wrongly reported, in Indochina.Some Panzer IVs ended up in Syria somehow.

    In summary, German WW2 kit was either a) destroyed, b) used for a while after the war, but in most countries pretty quickly replaced with shiny US or Soviet kit with readily available spares or c) bought up by arms dealers like Sam Cummings of Interarms fame and exported to obscure countries. The small arms lasted the longest- aircraft and armour not so long, as spares were a problem and they were also obsolete pretty quickly. The thing you have to remember is-yes there was a lot of surplus German kit, but a lot more surplus American and Russian kit. A lot of US stuff was simply scrapped after the war, I would be surprised if German stuff wasn't too.
  3. Sturmgewehr 44 was used by DDR and Yugo forces for a while
  4. An old uncle of mine, now long dead, used to tell me of post war Germeny and its kit. Part of the problem was the destruction of the factories and tooling needed to maintain it, US factories could produce the stuff as the tooling was intact, also the German stuff in some areas was very advanced and required skilled support, newer kit though at times inferior in technical ability was far more use in the field and easy to use. Hence little German kit used elsewhere.

    Edited to add, he had a great job, evaluating kit and working out not if it was good to use, but what parts were good. He specialised in guided missiles and radar, IIRC some post war anti ship and anti armour missiles were virtually German design, he also had a picture of a B24 Liberator shot by a missile! As a kid his place was like aladins cave, every week a new invention :D
  5. I think the mess kit set (aluminium mess tins etc) used by both East and West Germany were the same pattern used by WW2 Germany. I bought a set and they are really very good. From what I recall seeing whilst in Cold War E Berlin, the E German army and Border Police appeared to be wearing what was essentially WW2 pattern uniforms and web (altho in leather) equipment.

    The USA and USSR used a lot of German equipment but this was mainly their scientist, engineers, intelligence networks and experimental planes plus rockets.
  6. IIRC, a lot of WWII vintage German armour was de-turreted and de-gunned then used for tractors and construction equipment immediately after the war until it fell to pieces or could no longer be repaired.
  7. Chilean Army

    Syrian Panzers



  8. Even more bizarre was the post war colander market in Germany.!!

    The manufacturer of the Luftwaffe Para helmet still had the dies for the helmets. He simply re jigged the line with a final stamp, which put hundreds of holes into the unlined helmet.

    E voila

    A colander.

    The were a few for sale on E-bay 4 or 5 years ago.

    Went for a good price too. :D
  9. A few Pz3/4's ended up being used by Denmark to demine the country.
    Also the Swiss picked upand used the Hezter tank and used it until the 60's as did the Cezch's who had made the initial type 38 tank that the chassis was built round.
    The East German army also used the very late WW2 style helmet. In a an after the battle mag were it covered the making of the German film Stalingrad it was mentioned that they had got access to a large warehouse full of captured WW2 kit as to is use was it emergency reserve war stock? Anyway most of the uniforms seen in the film are original.
  10. Some of which were used in the film 'The Battle of Britain'.

    I'd imagine some of the NCO's & Officers in the early Bundeswehr were of Wehrmacht vintage! :D
  11. Ammo must be a little problematic I would think

  12. Like this chap........


    An Oberst at the end of hostilities who rose to become a Generalleutnant in the Bundeswehr. Awarded quite a bit of tin including the RKT with all the jangly, shiny bits.

    IIRC there were several others, certainly up to the late 70's: was'nt the Dep Cdr/Cdr AFCENT a one-armed box hea.....sorry....Bundeswehr General??? I recall being on a multi-national guard at Brunssum for the chap.
  13. Purely out of interest, would he have been able to wear all his WW2 awards in the Bundeswehr? Wasn't there something about swastikas had be removed from Iron Crosses if worn by veterens?
  14. *Anorak on*
    Correct: for serving soldiers, all the tin was translated into a ribbon and a miniature of the award (Wound Badge, Close Combat Clasp, Campaign Shield, etc) was worn on the ribbon. All Third Reich military awards could be worn but the Swastika had to be removed. The exceptions were NSDAP awards (Blut Ordern, etc) which were banned completely.

    *Anorak off - and rest!*
  15. Remeber an old man telling me the germans had panther tanks post war for a bit .