Tent equipment

During the entire course of the war, the soldiers carried tent equipment as standard part of their field gear. This equipment, in contrary to other field gear, saw little evolution and changes during the war. The Zeltausrüstung 31 included a Zeltbahn 31, a Zeltleine 1892 (tent rope), a Zeltstock 1901 (tent pole) and two Zeltpföcken 1929 (tent pegs).. There was a m1915 pole bag to carry these items, but it was rarely used in the field. The equipment was often rolled up inside the zeltbahn. The M15 pole bag was constructed to be mounted inside the Tornister. The system was not only intended to be a shelter quarter. It was also intended as rainponcho, camouflage and used as stretcher and raft. The intended use s are described in the heeres dienst vorschrift HD 01/250 issued 20.04.1932.

The M31 Zeltbahn

A central piece of the tent equipment was the Zeltbahn. It was a triangular shaped tent quarter with different camouflage colors on each side. It replaced the M98 pattern square zelt used in ww1. There are square ww2 in existance, but they are very rare and reportedly used by radio(funk) personnel. The zeltbahn has a straight shape in the bottom, defining the bottom and has buttons and buttonholes along the sides. This makes them versatile as a tent can be made from one zeltbahn, 4 zeltbahns, 8 etc combining the equipment of several soldiers. This patent is till used by some armed forces and the original ww2 tent system was used by the norwegian armed forces up until the ninethies. For that reason one can find original ww2 zeltbahns with norwegian names in them.

Picture above left shows a marking found in one zeltbahn, these are often located near the square corners on the bright side. Many zeltbahns are unmarked by the reson they were made to keep the rain out and therefore many markings are washed away. Bundes grenz schutz used similar zeltbahns, but they are not of the same shape and are white on one side. The swiss are square but has a similar camouflage pattern, but there are green ticker lines going trough the brown sections.

The picture in the middle shows the neck opening in three layers making it rainproof when used as a tent. Often the soldiers used a helmet on top of the tent to make it rainproof. The picture middle below shows the zeltleine, appx 2mtr long with lops at the end.

Picture below right showing different coloring of the Zelt. There were many colorvariations within the same patterns. There are many variants postwar but compring to original Zeltbahn31 they differ and are easily identified as non period german. Then there is the repeating case of re-enactor marked. They are thinner and the material differs. The repros are also often more expensive than the original ones. Would love to have one to see how close they get them to the original.

The Zeltbahn was carried in the mantelrolle on the m34 tornister. On the M39 it was fastened to the A-frame attached to the tornister. Picture above left shows an A-frame with zeltbahn.  The M44 sturmgepack had similiar straps to fasten the zelt. Mounted troops an motorcycle often had the zelt rolled around the gasmask canister. Picture below showing the M1915 Pole bag. The straps was to attach it inside the tornister.

The swiss had similar polebags made in tarn camouflage, often marked with the swiss cross. They are from the correct period and often pushed on the collectormarked as german ww2. Sellers even marked it as swiss production for wehrmacht. The german armed forces never used camouflage m15 pole bags. They hardly used the german produced ones.

Above left is a 1940 dated german M1915 polebag. They exist in one lengt carrying pegs and one carrying also the poles. Picture right shows the swiss army version. It is period, but is not related to the third reich. Note the ticker green line going trough the brown part to the left of bottom leather. Typical Swiss Tarn pattern.

The pegs was initially made of aluminium, but scarcity and resource priorities after the war erupted, forced them to be made of different materials. In 1940 steel made pegs appears. early ones with reinforcement rib on the back, later without.  They measured 16cm long and 1,5cm wide. In 1940 there seems to be a paralell production of both aluminium and steel, but after 1941 the pegs are made out of steel. Late war dated pegs are not common. There is also a production of bakelite pegs to save scarcer metals for the war industry. The picture in the middle shows pegs from left 1936, 37, 38, 39, 40 and 1941 dated. The rope at the top is there to make the pegs easy to grab out of a bag or a pack.

The poles were made out of wood with metal reinforcement. They measured appx 37cm long with a top diameter of 21 mm and at the bottom 13mm. They connected together to make the tent pole. The pegs are not valuable enough to fake but with the poles there are afterwar useage to be aware of. All this equipment was not discarded after ww2, but reused by several armies and the need and marked for spareparts arose after the war. Poles marked with "HÆR" burned into the wood are norwegian made poles. Poles ww2 german are marked with capital letters.

In addition there are several tents and accessories. Picture right shows a lot of ropes for the german tents.