Luftwaffe Airbase Firecrews

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PaulReck
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Post by PaulReck » 15 Nov 2006 12:44

wuerttemberg,

Those uniforms are great!! They are the first I have ever seen, of the LW Fire Police!! Nice!

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Post by wuerttemberg » 15 Nov 2006 19:51

I never have seen a correct textbook example or other tunic in a collection I know. I had many luck to get this uniforms with some other Luftwaffe items from a Fire department near my home.

Regards, Sascha

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Re: Luftwaffe Airbase Firecrews

Post by Feuerjager » 15 Nov 2006 21:43

vogelbird wrote:This could be a tricky one: does anyone out there know what the uniform of Luftwaffe Airbase Firecrews was like? I have the helmet, an M34 pattern finished on glossy black with a 1cm white band painted around the crown, Luftwaffe adler and national shield (strangely applied to opposite of regulation sides, ie adler left and shield right) and the strap is of the Y type with press fastener release instead of buckle. The lining has the fittings for the leather neck guard. Although I have searched many uniform books I have not come across any photographs or descriptions of the uniforms of the crews who wore these. Anyone in the know??? 8)


Would like to see a photo of this helmet as well. PLEASE! :D

<S>!

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resonse vogelbird

Post by wuerttemberg » 18 Nov 2006 11:59

If you didnt know. There are some descriptions of this tunics in baers helmet book and also in the uniformenmarkt also in the offical dienstkleidungsvorschriften between 1938 up to 1940 of the Luftwaffe. The helm description from you seems like a correct one for this firefighterunits. I have also many original fotos of this units. First helm type is the one wich was used for the Freiwillige Feuerwehr: difference the Luftwaffe insignia placed for the police insignia. The second type is the helmet marked with the white ore light ring arround for the field-airports of the Luftwaffe. In the wartime at 1941 all firefighter tunics were changed in the Luftwaffe-uniforms. The dress tunic I placed were used between 1937 until the 40s. Only for the civilian Luftwaffe-personnel. Military Luftwaffe-personnel were added to the civilian personnel and got the black, blue and white overalls af the technical support. Up from 1941 the special tunics of the Fliegerhorstfeuerwehr were changed to the grey military tunics of the Luftwaffe and the helmets are often the normal miltary Luftwaffe helmets. But some were also used with the white or light ring arround.

Sascha

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new2this
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Post by new2this » 18 Nov 2006 18:34

Those are excellent uniform pics. Thank you for posting them. I had wondered about that particular group, but had never had the opportunity to see anything like that.

On a non-military note, does anyone know of a similar forum where I could post pics of a civilian fire uniform I have and get opinions? I have one, which I believe is pre-WWII, from Germany. It is brown denim, with a black wool collar (stand up / roman type) and cuffs, and blue braided shoulder boards. It also has gold buttons, with the early German helmet and crossed axes, and a black and red belt, with leather closure. There are holes in the collar where, I assume, some insignia was originally. I just wanted to know more about it.

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Re: Luftwaffe Airbase Firecrews

Post by Laurence Strong » 08 Feb 2009 16:54

Very nice uniforms Thanks for sharing them

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Re: Luftwaffe Airbase Firecrews

Post by PaulReck » 17 Aug 2009 17:37

I am very envious of these uniforms! Very nicely done! Are they all to the same man? I know that later in the war, these officials(if phyiscally fit) were pressed into military service and lost their status of officials. The ones not fit for joining the regular Luftwaffe(flight branch as Fire Fighters, yellow waffenfarbe) became Wartime officials with a yellow colored Sonderfuhrer insignia.

Do you still have these uniforms? If you ever decide to sell them, let me know because I collect all LW Beamte!

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Re: Luftwaffe Airbase Firecrews

Post by PaulReck » 19 Aug 2009 00:55

Here is a collar tab for a Fire Fighting Official, which was created in 1944 from the civilian LW Base Fire Dept personnel.
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Re: Luftwaffe Airbase Firecrews

Post by HPL2008 » 22 Aug 2009 16:56

PaulReck wrote:Here is a collar tab for a Fire Fighting Official, which was created in 1944 from the civilian LW Base Fire Dept personnel.


Sorry, but the yellow tab is actually for a Sonderführer (Stellengruppe Z - K) with the Fliegertruppe.
The partially visible pink one appears to be for an Ingenieur auf Kriegsdauer.

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Re: Luftwaffe Airbase Firecrews

Post by garlock » 23 Aug 2009 11:50

Hello all,

I'm not at home with my books, but I believe that Brian Davis has illustrations of fire crew uniforms in his Luftwaffe uniforms book, volume one.

regards, John

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Re: Luftwaffe Airbase Firecrews

Post by garlock » 23 Aug 2009 16:13

Brian Davis, Uniforms and Insignia of the Luftwaffe, vol 1, 74-78.

regards, John

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Re: Luftwaffe Airbase Firecrews

Post by PaulReck » 26 Aug 2009 01:12

HPL2008 wrote:
PaulReck wrote:Here is a collar tab for a Fire Fighting Official, which was created in 1944 from the civilian LW Base Fire Dept personnel.


Sorry, but the yellow tab is actually for a Sonderführer (Stellengruppe Z - K) with the Fliegertruppe.
The partially visible pink one appears to be for an Ingenieur auf Kriegsdauer.


You are correct in that the yellow tabs indicate the status of a Sonderfuhrer. On the other areas you are not.

Basically, the dark blue uniform with the carmine and dark blue insignia belongs to the Air Base Fire Department. This was a completely civilian organization that was under the responsiblity of the Luftwaffe.

As the war waned on, more and more of the air facilities were within range of enemy attack. As a result, it was decided to make all able bodied men members of the Luftwaffe. They were given the status of soldiers and given the Luftwaffe uniform with the yellow colored insignia as seen on flight and paratrooper personnel. This transition occured in 1940/1. Basically, you would not be able to distinquish between a Fallschirmjager or one of these men(minus equipment and badges). Their duties did not change, just their military status. The other men not up the the physical standards required for military service remained with the Air Base Fire Dept Service and stayed at airbases further away from the front. The dark blue uniforms were abolished and the Air Base Fire Fighter insignia was replaced onto the fliegerbluse.

On 01Jun1944, an order was passed to liquidate the Air Base Fire Department organization. All remaining men were given the status of officials (Sonderfuhrer-F) and given the insignia of a Sonderfuhrer, except the branch color was to be yellow. (The "F" in Sonderfuhrer F was a title given regardless of the rank of the official. The F stood for Feuerwehr).

There is very little writen on the Sonderfuhrer. It is a very underappreciated field of study. I personally have in my collection a Sonderfuhrer tab in wine red, a set in cornflower blue, as well as the green, pink, and yellow that you see here. I have a close friend who has a set of Black of Sonderfuhrer tabs. I have seen before a set of red tabs and boards(the boards had the unauthorized red underlay). The Davis book is VERY VERY general when it comes to the Sonderfuhrer. I think that all he discusses are the Sonderfuhrer auf Kriegsdauer and theIngenieur auf Kriegsdauer. There is much that is left out. Most of my information comes from Vol 2 of "Uniforms and Traditions of the Luftwaffe", page 78. Even that book has many informational holes when referencing the Sonderfuhrer.

ALL SONDERFUHRER were "auf Kriegsdauer".

The only Sonderfuhrer references I have ever seen are the:

Green- Administrative Sonderfuhrer(also, mechanics and other specialties)
Pink- Ingenieur auf Kriegsdauer
Yellow- Air Base Fire Fighting Officials

Now how about:

Red- ?
Blue- ?
Black- ?
Wine Red- ?

I would speculate what the others are, but I would have never guessed that the yellow tabs would have been for a fire fighter unless I saw it referenced myself.

This is another topic for a new thread.

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Re: Luftwaffe Airbase Firecrews

Post by HPL2008 » 26 Aug 2009 19:39

PaulReck wrote:You are correct in that the yellow tabs indicate the status of a Sonderfuhrer. On the other areas you are not.

I stand partially corrected. You are absolutely right about the wartime transition of Luftwaffe firefighters to Sonderführer status and the assignment of yellow Waffenfarbe to this group. This is indeed described in Angolia & Schlicht's "Uniforms and Traditions..." work (I have the German edition) and it is fact that I had completely forgotten about and should have re-checked first.

However, that work does not state that this branch color was not worn by any other personnel of Sonderführer status and that yellow-colored Sonderführer tabs were unique to this particular group.
Indeed, it only mentions quite broadly that the Sonderführer wore the appropriate service color of the branch to which they were assigned, but it has no specific data at all on whether all of the Luftwaffe's branch colors were used by the various Sonderführer or if some colors were not. I strongly feel that all colors were.

My reason to believe this: Angolia & Schlicht also cite a 1938 order that originally Sonderführer were exclusively to be employed with: construction units, medical services, air traffic control facilities, telegraph-construction units and radio communication facilities of the weather service.
This alone should account for the existence of black (= construction), cornflower-blue (= medical), light green (= air traffic control) and light brown (= signals) tabs.
The work goes on to say that Sonderführer status was also given to personnel of non-military organisations who were attached to the Luftwaffe "for special purposes" and that, broadening on the groups specified in the aforementioned 1938 order, the possibilities for employing Sonderführer were greatly expanded during the war. Thus, given the general wartime manpower shortages and the high degree of specialized knowledge necessary for a large portion of an air force's functions, they were probably found in all branches.


PaulReck wrote:ALL SONDERFUHRER were "auf Kriegsdauer".

Correct, insofar as they were only to serve "for the duration of the war", which is what "auf Kriegsdauer" means. Just to keep the terminology clear, not all LW personnel serving for the duration of the war were designated as "Sonderführer". We are talking about three equivalent, yet distinct groups:
- Sonderführer (= Personnel acting as LW NCOs or officers for the duration of the war)
- Beamte auf Kriegsdauer (= Officials for the duration of the war)
- Ingenieure auf Kriegsdauer (= Members of the Engineering Corps for the duration of the war)


PaulReck wrote:I personally have in my collection a Sonderfuhrer tab in wine red, a set in cornflower blue, as well as the green, pink, and yellow that you see here. I have a close friend who has a set of Black of Sonderfuhrer tabs. I have seen before a set of red tabs and boards(the boards had the unauthorized red underlay).

Wine-red tabs were used by judicial officials, thus a wine-red Sonderführer-style tab would appear to be for a Beamter auf Kriegsdauer with the judicial branch.
Dark green would be worn by a Beamter auf Kriegsdauer and pink by an Ingenieur auf Kriegsdauer.
The others were for Sonderführer proper, black = construction service, cornflower blue = medical service, yellow = flying branch/firefighting branch. Bright red would hint at an artillery affiliation, orange-red at weapons-technical personnel.

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Re: Luftwaffe Airbase Firecrews

Post by PaulReck » 26 Aug 2009 21:32

Hey HPL2008,

First let me thank you. You are the first person I have ever been able to draw into a REAL conversation about the Sonderfuhrer. I am always up to learning more about this group of men!

I have only the English version of the Angolia series. I have heard that there are a few informational differences between the German and English versions, and you seem to have found one. I have not seen it written anywhere, even broadly, that the Sonderfuhrer wore the appropriate branch color of the unit to which they were attached. Very interesting indeed! I can see the logic behind yellow being chosen for the the branch color for the Fire Fighter Officials, as the Base Fire Dept members who were brought onto soldier status were given the waffenfarbe of the flight corps. This completely makes sense. I also missed the 1938 regulation that you cite as well, which specifies certain specialties that would make use of these officials. (Since meterology was an Administrative Official Specialty, I can see the green tabs being used for that one. The early nebenfarbe for the meterological administrative officials was, ironically , golden yellow).

I completely agree with your definition of the Sonderfuhrer, as it related to the Luftwaffe. I guess that the US equivalent would be a Civilian GS worker attached to the Army who was given a uniform(that is the way I see it?).

You mention an orange-red waffenfarbe? Have you seen these before? What colors have you seen?

Paul(Shooting you a PM).

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Re: Luftwaffe Airbase Firecrews

Post by HPL2008 » 28 Aug 2009 19:31

PaulReck wrote:I completely agree with your definition of the Sonderfuhrer, as it related to the Luftwaffe. I guess that the US equivalent would be a Civilian GS worker attached to the Army who was given a uniform(that is the way I see it?).

I am not sure there is any direct U.S. equivalent to these men.
Legally, for the duration of their service, they were classed as soldiers in the sense of military law, served in officer- or NCO duty assignments and given officer- or NCO status (but not rank). Officer-grade Sonderführer were given command authority and disciplinary powers, but only within the limits of their specific assignment.
Perhaps they could be described as kind of a cross between auxiliaries, reserve personnel and warrant officers?

PaulReck wrote:You mention an orange-red waffenfarbe? Have you seen these before?

Sorry; I am afraid I have to correct my statements yet again. Orange-red branch color was worn by weapon-technical officers of the Heer, but the Luftwaffe did actually not utilize it for this group, using bright-red as for the artillery branch instead. The orange-red collar patches of the Luftwaffe were actually used in the 1938-39 period for personnel with “zur Dienstleistung” status, i.e. inactive personnel recalled to active duty. Thus, they would not be found worn by a Sonderführer.

(E-Mail sent regarding the relevant passages in the Angolia/Schlicht work.)

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