The issue of the unissiued

"unissiued, textbook and hard to upgrade". Interesting, many dealers and collectors are selling loads of unissiued ww2 field gear. The amount varies and some dealers have a lot of unissiued items. If we go back to 1945 the german soldier was in short of equipment. Volkssturm was mobilized with a minimum of gear. There was no giant surplus of unused german field gear at the end of the war. Some of the so called "unissiued" items are early dated. Statistically the amount of these items doesnt add up. Are they extremely good fakes? The author of this text thinks, partly yes. There are almost no veteran porsche 911 964 model in mint unissiued condtition and this car wasnt used during a war (Ferdinand porsche did some german work, but that is a different story). Another category of unissiued are the reproductions made today, we will take comparison wit an unissiued, original, hard to upgrade A-Frame tropical bag. we will compare this unissiued original bag to confirmed original items, even one with confirmed storage conditions until today. The tropical A-frame bag on this page have (visually) been confirmed authentic in more collector forums

Picture to the left shows Volkssturm marching to battle armed with panzerfaust and an mg34. They wear an armband stating "volkssturm" on their arm to fulfill the requirment of the genevaconvention. If there was giant surplus of unissiued gear these soldiers wouldnt be marching in civilian clothes only wearing an armband. The "unissiued" term has popped up the latest years, 30 yrs ago it wasnt a subject. Has all this gear just been found in alot of stay behind storages? (picture: bundesarchiv)

Inside view of the original and unissiued bag. Pay attention the buttons wich seems to be in a "new" condition. The buttons are identical to the repro and in the same condition. More about the metal part further down on this page. The leather on this one has noe Tannine smell but looks too bright to be 81 yrs old. The stitching are very correct when compared to a confirmed original one. But stitching is the easiest to reproduce. The internal straps for the RG32 looks to be brand new. Thread was taken out of this straps and burns with a black flame, it leaves a black plastic hard pearl indicating it is made from petroleumbased fibers.

Inside a repro (sold as repro). The size of the top flap and placing of the holes differs from the alleged original tropic on displayed on this page.

The back of the tropical bag (original). The stitching and placement of the loops are identical to a confirmed original. Notice all buttons on this bag is exactly in the same condition.

unissiued vs confirmed original

The unissiued tropical compared to an original non tropical. There are noe difference in usage as the only difference is that the manufacturers used webbing instead of leather to save resources. The none tropical is also in a very good condition and seems to have been stored well. Look at the buttons. The button on the non tropical shows sign of corrosion, wich is highly likely considering it is 81 yrs old. The button on the tropical has no sign of corrosion and all the buttons are in the same condition. The standard bag has a much stronger significant "storage smell" than the unissiued. There are much less loose threads on the inside. Also note the difference in the webbing.

Picture shows the difference in teh fabric. The tropical one is much brighter wich doesnt say much as different variation in fabrics exsists. Note the Threads in the stitching of the straps. The standard bag has darkened trough the years, the unissiued has bright thread.  The tropical A-frame bag made by "otto koberstein" with the same internal strap all have the same condition of the buttons. Four of the Koberstein's has been compared, if you own one, please send me pictures for comparison.

Picture comparing the two "lines" on the A-frame bags. Left is the tropical. They both have the same glossy finish wich is reassuring. The standard feels old when holding it, the tropical does not give the impression of beeing 81 years old. The smell, the condition of the webbing, buttons with no oxidation leave questions. "storage finds" are known to exist but the items have the tear and wear of age. The germans did not store gear vacuumed in a controlled atmosphere with no light. Moisture in the air, little creatures and light does something to the materials during a long period of time and that is scary considering the better and better repros made today. in 50 yrs they will fool someone. The danger of someone using it as reference for original when comparing is also present.

This tropical breadbag was bought from pictures. There are some lessons to be learned. Be sceptical, if there is a detail or side of the item not pictured, ask for a picture. This particulary bag was on several collector forums where it was confirmed authentic. They also, as the buyer of the item, judge it from the pictures. Holding it in your hands and comparing it to other autenthic relics is a completely different thing. More items from the same maker are needed to conclude, but it seems all Otto Koberstein A-Frame bags is in the same condition. That is questionable, as they certainly wasnt stored under identical conditions. 

The consern is that much of the socalled "unissiued" items are very good fakes made post ww2. The amount of "Unissiued" items, the condition wich doesnt reflect 80yrs+ of storage and the fact that there were not so many unissiued items 30 years ago. Logically it should be opposite.

To further undemine this statement, the picture on the left shows an authentic, original unissiued pouch for the spare filter for the gasmask. This was taken from a luftwaffe storage depot in 1945 by a relative. For 80 years it was stored in a clothing cabinet so the entire story and conditions for storage are confirmed. Look closely at the button. It has been affected by the moisture in the air during the years and shows signs of corrosion, altough it has been stored in a dry stable temperate room. The seams in the button has darkened over the years and the fabric on the pouch show signs of age. Now scroll back up on this page and study the buttons on the tropical breadbag, compare the state of the cloth and the color of the straps and seams. Did I buy the A-Frame Bag? yes. Would I have bought it if i held it in my hand? no I dont think so. If its a fake, it is a damn good one.