Mystery uniform

Young artillerymen training with a 7,5 cm leichtes Infanteriegeschütz 18 (7,5 cm le.IG 18), autumn of 1936. This light artillery piece was introduced in 1932, intended to provide artillery support on regimental level. It was crewed by five, and could fire a 6 kg grenade up to 3.5 kilometers.

The uniforms of the gun crew are a bit of an enigma. They look like police uniforms, with their dark, two-button cuffs and many front buttons. The boots seems to be police issue, too. The Army-style national eagle over the breast pocket wasn’t a feature on police uniforms, even if there were exceptions. The M1918 Stahlhelm doesn’t add to the mystery, though, as the newly introduced M35 helmet hadn’t been produced in sufficient numbers by then.

This is one of those photos that raises more questions than it answers. Were they issued police uniforms because of shortages due to the rapid expansion of the Wehrmacht that began in 1935? This is what makes researching even a rather trivial photo an interesting challenge.

Edited to add: The boots are probably the three-buckle Army boots used before the traditional jackboot was reintroduced again. The buckled boots had lacing, but there were issues with them leaking, so the older style was preferred.

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