Updated: Sep 26
The photograph grouping here shows German Luftwaffen-Feld-Divisionen dug in on the eastern front. The 6 photographs here show a group of Soldaten in the field, the exact location is unknown but as seen across the photographs they are dug in position attempting to stay warm in the conditions of the front, as seen some are taken whilst dug in enduring snowy and cold conditions. The photographs are suggested to be taken late 1943.
The first photograph showing the harsh conditions Soldaten had to endure in the east. The photograph shows Soldaten of the Luftwaffen-Feld-Divisionen in a dug in position. Likely a trench or MG position they are seen taking rest and keeping warm. The use of zeltbahns can be seen to cover possible equipment with the eyelets and Splinter Camo just in shot. In this first photograph we see them sitting around a stove that was used in the field to keep warm as well as used to cook on. Notably this stove seems more compact and rectangular for easier positioning in the emplacement. Two mess tins can be seen on top, possibly full of food they are cooking or keeping warm to eat but could also be water to make a hot drink to keep warm. Smoke can also be seen coming out of the small circular chimney attached. The three seen close to benefit from its warmth, two are seen wearing Mausgrau Parkas . These parkas were worn over the top of the woollen flieger that can be seen worn by the centre Soldat in the first photograph. These parkas seen here are Mausgrau and were reversible to white that could be used to blend with the snowy conditions. Across all photographs in this group they are seen wearing M43 Ski caps. Also seen in the first photograph to the left behind the Soldat smoking can be seen a field telephone, likely in use to keep in contact with other positions as well as receiving orders.
The second photograph shows the same dug in position but taken at a different angle to show two others both wearing Mausgrau parkas, seen notably to the left is a Soldat with the hood of his Parka up over his M43 ski cap trying to keep warm. He is also seen eating something with a knife in his hand. The hobnails in his boots can notably been seen just like the other entrenched Soldat to his right. The right Soldat can be seen eating also, the lid of his mess tin can be seen resting in his lap as he has some kind of food in his hand. The sun can be shining on him, notably he is seen with a different studding style to the other Soldat. Notably seen with studs bordering the shoe, this was used instead of a toe plate as seen on the right studding design. Just as seen in the first, the snow and cold conditions are set in.
The third photograph shows a Obergefreiter wearing a flieger, notably with no Gull insignia. This was Common for Feld-Divisionen as in some cases the Gulls may reflect or be noticeable when in the field. The Obergefreiter is see standing in front of an MG position. This is seen with made wooden supports and camouflage foliage in front. To the left can be seen the stump of the logs used for the supports, on top can be seen a grenade at the ready. Seen in front of them to the right can be seen some storage of boxes. Likely containing food and ammo, seen just to the right of them is the stock and half of and MG34. The MG34 resting for use in position with ammo in reserve next to it. A two pack of MG Trommelmagazinen can be seen on top of the boxes to the left. These would hold 7.92 rounds used for the MG34 in the position. The Obergefreiter is seen with a pair of binoculars around his neck, likely posing for the photograph in front of the position. The binoculars being a important and useful piece of kit for identifying and spotting advancing enemy forces.
The fourth photograph shows three Soldaten wearing type 2 fliegers, all be it the removal of the gull insignia. The three are seen standing on a raised wooden structure that has been built. To the left it can be seen to be risen up and a rail has been attached to which the three are leaning on. On the left there is a Unteroffizier, this is seen by the shoukder boards he is wearing. The Unteroffizier is also, like the rest across the photograph grouping to be wearing M43 ski caps. The Unteroffizier to the left is seen also awarded an EK2 ribbon that can be seen worn on his flieger as well as a Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge. The class of the Ground Assault Badge cannot be determined as is to distant but is also notable in the other photographs in the grouping. He is also seen wearing a scarf which is notably seen worn by the furthest right in this photograph as well as others in the group, as keeping warm whilst in the field was essential. In the centre another unteroffizier is seen, he is also seen with an EK2 but it is worn in feldspange (bar) form. There can also be seen a whistle that can be seen as a small lanyard, that would sit inside his flieger. Lastly on the right the Soldat is seen wearing a Fatigue tunic and belt. No insignia can be seen so a rank cannot be identified. The background behind the three can be seen as small river with two banks either side, likely that the position and tents are near the water, perfect for potential food and cleaning. Just seen to the right is the corner of a raised Zeltbahn. This zeltbahn likely to be the same that is seen in the sixth photograph in the grouping. The zeltbahn seen in Splinter camouflage pattern.
The fifth photograph shows a larger group of the Soldaten across the photographs in this group, collectively they can all be seen wearing type 2 fleigers and all without any Gull insignia. A few are notably seen wearing scarfs as they try to keep warm for the photograph, the snow that is seen in the other photographs can be seen to the left behind them. From left to right; The left shows an Unteroffizier, seen here notable for his collar treße and shoulder board treße. The Unteroffizier is also seen awarded a Ground Assault Badge as well as a EK2 in feldspange (bar) form. He is also notably seen wearing leather gloves and his trousers over his boots in a different style to everyone else. To the right of him is another Unteroffizier, notably seen with a map case across his front, likely containing documents and a map of their location. He is also seen with a single button M43 ski cap in comparison to most with two button caps. To the right of him is another Unteroffizier with treße on his collar, he is seen with an Ostmedaille or Eastern front ribbon. This showing he has been survived the cold temperatures of fighting in the east in 1941 and 1942 so he would be used to the conditions seen in the photograph. To the right of him is an Obergefreiter, also seen wearing a scarf to keep warm is also seen with a pair of woollen gloves as he poses for the photograph. Seen just in shot behind him is another Unteroffizier. Next which has the hand of a Unteroffizier on is another Unteroffizier, notably seen with two ribbons and an award. The two ribbons in wear being EK2 and an Ost ribbon. The award like the others seen is a Ground Assault Badge. He two has his hand on an Unteroffizier with the same awards next to him, possibly friends who have served together for some time. Lastly is seen a Gemeine soldat, he is notably seen with an Ost ribbon being worn in feldspange. This is a nice group photograph showing them together in the field.
The final photograph shows a Gefreiter and an Unteroffizier seen posing in front of their zeltbahn, as seen in the fourth picture. This is seen by the wooden structures that are built around the zeltbahn. The zeltbahn is seen more in this photograph, the entrance can be seen open. This zeltbahn is a 16 man zeltbahn set up, likely the place where the soldaten seen across the group sleep in as well as storing supplies. Both are seen here wearing Snowshoes, these being used mostly by sentries as to run in the field in replacement of jackboots is not as efficient. They are in fact warmer and have a cork sole with half an inch of felt re-enforced for warmth. This photograph is odd but also very comedic as seen the Unteroffizier on the right is seen stroking a dead badger. This is likely an animal they have found or disturbed when building there position. The humour of this photograph can be enjoyed as they have propped the dead badger up on a log that is used for the construction of the raised zeltbahn.
This is a crisp photograph grouping showing Feld-Divisionen in the field facing harsh conditions of the eastern front. The dug in positions being made by the Soldaten themselves out of wood that would be sourced nearby. The foliage of pine trees used to camouflage themselves in the positions and MG positions set as a defence for wherever they are in the field. Awards on show from eastern front ribbons, EK2s and Ground Assault Badges showing that the Soldaten photographed have seen some combat and been recognised for it. Most being Unteroffiziesr. All are seen trying to keep warm, if it be by the fire or by wearing warm clothes such as Parkas and snowshoes. You can feel for the Soldaten and the cold conditions they endured and somewhat laugh whilst admiring their attempts of in the field comedy as seen with the dead badger.