We would like to thank you for taking the time to review our event regulations. We know they are lengthy and in some ways very strict, however our goal is to teach our members and participants while concurrently advancing the hobby; toward greater authenticity. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them. The only stupid question is the one that is not asked. That being said, we ask you to read this in its entirety and in the event that you find any errors in this edition, please bring them to our attention with documented sources.
No Modern clothing, eye wear, watches, food/water containers are authorized at any time in the event area. You will have to carry everything with you. You will have a central area to securely store extra period gear, however if overrun by the other force, you may not have access to it. Once you enter the event site from the parking area you are live and in play.
PLEASE NOTE: for this event a photo of your impression will be required (you in your uniform). This is not a fashion show or an “elitist” thunder dome of destruction. They are simply to help our participants with their impressions prior to event and to maintain high standards. At no time will these photos be released to the public or posted on other forums etc. We want to work with participants in order to avoid someone showing up and being turned away, when it could have been avoided. So either through loaner gear or advice, the goal is to advance the hobby while maintaining a high standard of authenticity, and not belittle anyone. If unit commanders feel better collecting photos and presenting them to the event staff, that is ok as well.
Uniform observations In order for you to better understand this events impression, we should first discuss a few things.
The 12th SS was all over the spectrum of camouflage fielded by the SS at the time of June 1944. That being said, each sub-battalion tended to have noticeable differences. We have compiled the following conclusions through over 250 photographs and 10 plus collector grade books; so we feel comfortable forming this consensus in uniform and equipment standards.
For instance the famous pics of 15/25 show heavy use of Italian camouflage Kombi’s. Tracing this unit back to training photos, it would seem they were issued those in training and maintained them through Normandy until they wore out. Likewise, you can find photos attributed to Rgt 25 mainly in smocks and wool uniforms.
With Rgt 26, you see more dot 43/44 uniforms worn alone or over wools or in combination with smocks and Italian camouflage pants. Another observation is that NCO’s in Reg 26 wore a higher number of Italian camo pants with wool tunic and smock (one could assume this is to identify rank). There is one photo with a Unterscharführer wearing a full dot uniform with non-subdued NCO sleeve rank, however no others show any use of other rank or insignia (exception sleeve eagle on Dot 44 uniforms).
Oddities let's talk oddities in photographs within the 12th during June 44, the goal is to better help participants understand what you are looking at.
Dot 44 and wool uniforms: Some photos show use of dots over wool with scarfs or sweaters. Though the 43/44 Drillich uniform was designed for wear over the wool uniform, we can also see it was worn by itself. Now most people look at this and go, “man this is June (summer), I would burn up in wools”… In Northwest Europe and on the Normandy coast, it’s never exactly summer like in North America. That is due to where Normandy is located just above the 49th Parallel, which includes parts of Canada and some of the north central part of the US. So, in June 1944 the temperatures were in the mid 60 F to low 70 F and down to 50 F at night. Top this climate with rain, and you can get cold quick.
Italian camouflage:. In the 12th, you see a lot of Italian camouflage. However if we examine photos we can better determine its use. In Reg 26, you see Italian camouflage pants in various designs, some resemble the current available reproduction, also those cut like Pz trousers with a drawstring cuff and pocket flaps, along with pants with two front upper leg pockets with gussets. Another observation is the use of gamaschen (gaiters), with Italian pants in some photographs.
You see limited numbers of M42 tarn caps in Italian pattern, with the majority of tarn caps seen are of plain tree and or blurred edge. Pz Kombi’s in Reg 26 appear on officers mainly and those photos are in training prior to Normandy. Two piece uniforms or tunics made from Italian camouflage all seem to be upper NCO and officer rank. Lower NCO and enlisted should not wear an Italian camouflage tunic.
NOTE: We can tell you there is photographic evidence of 12th SS Rgt 25 in training with Italian camouflage smocks (they look to be from a funker section). The smocks do not resemble any known reproductions available and there is zero evidence at this time of them being used in Normandy within the 12th SS. Therefore this will not be a discussion of what ifs.. NO ITALIAN CAMO SMOCKS.
Black face paint (corked): You often see black face paint used in photographs of the 12th SS, but this was mainly while in training in Belgium and stems from preparedness for night operations. So this is typically just residual and or dirt in combat (often on POWs rather than corked face troopers in Normandy). The proper method of darkening ones face was burnt cork or soot from mufflers and lamps (resulting in a blacken face). So, you should not be running around reapplying black paint on your face during the day. It was for night operation.
LSSAH Cadre in the 12th: Some NCO’s /Officers and enlisted men were brought over to help form the 12th in 1943 to establish the base rank structure of the newly established div. These were typically personnel in the grade of Sturmaenner and above with Sturmaenner being rare.
12th SS “Hitlerjugend” cuff title: The official issue date for the Div was Sept 19th 1944, so after the Normandy campaign. And there were not enough titles to go around in Sept, so most of the div did not get theirs until Oct-Nov of 1944. The one off’s HJ and other tailor made (sent from home) titles are post Normandy. All enlisted and most NCOs should not wear any cuff title on their uniform period regardless of what it says (-Yes we know about the 43 order for the cuff title).
1st SS “Leibstandarte AH” cuff title: Transfers from LSSAH would have maintained their cuff title. Therefore those in the rank of Scharführer and above can request permission to wear the LSSAH cuff title. Note: Cuff titles were awarded to members following training and mostly hand sewn on uniforms, so it’s quite common to find personnel wearing other div cuff tiles from the units where they had previously been assigned. For this event LSSAH cuff titles may be worn through approval.
Bottle green collars: There are photos of enlisted personnel with modified M42 tunics with a bottle green collar. This was done post Normandy and will not be allowed.
Tunics: Most of the 12th, about 99.9% wore wool M42 tunics. Typical 5 button front SS model M42 available today. M40 tunics are seen in transfers from LAH and some early training photos. M43 tunics are authorized however would be the exception to the M42. Post Normandy in the cuff title issue film of 19 Sept 44, you see Rgt 26 all in M43 tunics and single button M43 style caps. This was how the unit was refitted, not what they looked like in Normandy.
Smocks: Let’s discuss the primary smocks seen and by whom. Well type I (M40) and type II(M42) were both seen in all ranks. There does not appear to be any method to the madness for either unit or rank regarding camouflage or smock type. However there is always a majority and or a top 3 smocks seen. If we had to rate them in order it would be 1: blurred edge, Palm 2: plain tree or overprint 3: oak.
Helmet covers: The type 1 helmet cover is probably the most widely seen cover in the array of camouflage seen in the smocks above. Type II appear in Oak. It is interesting to note that most smocks and helmet covers did not match.
Palm covers: OK yes there is one cover seen in training of a 12th enlisted member wearing a palm helmet cover in training. It is the exception of the norm. If you are that one guy that has to be cool and you want to wear your palm cover, ask yourself in all the other oddball stuff you see in 12th photos, is that helmet cover really going to be the breaking point in authenticity? (Palm helmet covers are discouraged. If you want to be cool add the stretching/sizing/reinforcement strip to your cover. That would be a better representation than Palm helmet covers.)
Heer Insignia: You will see some Heer insignia being utilized by officers of the 12th. This is due to Heer officers being assigned to the 12th. They wore SS camouflage but maintained their insignia and rank.
LW/KM: There were also personnel brought into the Div both from the LW and KM.That being said, most were found to be unfit for Pz Grn duty and transferred in exchange for other SS personnel in support positions. This means LW and KM personnel were swapped with younger SS men previously holding positions in support positions resulting in Pz Grn Reg formations being manned by the most fit personnel available. If you have an itch to be cool and are older and doing this event as SS, a LW or KM Soldbuch with SS Stamp would be your cool status. SS uniforms remained “as is” minus LW or KM awards oddities. Again, they were not like the Heer officers in the Div. This has been debated over the years but for this event, SS uniform and insignia with LW or KM Soldbuch with correct conversion to SS service stamps.
Y-Straps: There are some that will say M40 or hidden stitch Y-straps are the way to go for 12th SS. Yes they are seen in high numbers and are preferable. However…... both the exposed stitching/M42 and (limited) web Y-straps are seen.
Grooming: There are POW photos of older members typically in NCO and Officer position, that have facial hair. They typically have it around the jaw line vs full beards. For this event for members in those positions a 2 to 5 day growth mimicking existing original photos are ok. Full beards or other fashion facial hair is not permitted and you will be asked to shave or leave. If you are capable of growing facial hair and are in a lower ranking position you should start the event clean shaven. Mustaches do not show up in original photos, and the facial hair seen is due to constant fighting and being unable to shave vs what was typically seen. Hair.. tends to be longer, for this event a fresh haircut is not necessarily accurate. One method you can do is get a hair cut 3-4 weeks before the event and let it grow out. look at original POW photos and attempt to mimic those styles. Dirt.. these guys were tired, dirty and had been fighting for basically 20 days straight. So we ask that you attempt to look like original photos. The fresh new look should be avoided if possible. We will not recommend weathering techniques as there are plenty of FB groups and web sites to help you out.
We saved the best for last!
Original color photo. 12th Div guard at one of the Divisions HQ in the Eure region France Spring 1944. Note the olive green MP40 pouch with brown leather tabs, rubberized gas cape bag, and BLACK low boots. ALBUM HISTORIQUE 12. SS-PANZER-DIVISION HITLERJUGEND
Boots: Low boots were seen on 99.9% of members in all ranks through photos. Jacks were seen in vehicle crews and some officers. If you wanna be a cool LAH transfer with the cuff title and M40 tunic, wear low boots. The entire Div was outfitted with them. There are photos of officers and certain NCOs wearing civilian ski boots.. It is the exception but seen in greater numbers than jack boots. And lastly standard German Mountain boots are authorized in very limited numbers..
Boot color: Period COLOR photographic evidence shows black low boots in the 12th. This being said, we are not going to debate the order of 43, 44, 45 etc. We can tell you what we will not allow, untreated boots. If you come to the event with untreated boots, you will be asked to treat them or leave.
What does treated mean: it means you will treat them with some sort of boot grease at min, whether they are blackened or not! We have no preference but hubbards is a good start to darken and treat your boots. Go with what you want to pay for but do not show up with untreated light brown boots period, not up for discussion. It is encouraged for you to blacken them with polish, however you will not be turned away for brown treated boots.
Helmet: Single decal (SD), No decal (ND), Double decal (DD)
M42 SD/ND with cover or two tone (Green tan) preferred
Use a cover on all other helmet types. IE Heer SD/ Heer/SS DD or rainbow camo
Bread bag straps are authorized for use and seen.
No period photo (as we know of right now) survives of a chicken wired helmet or helmet net
Properly constructed camouflage face veils are authorized, it should be worn on the helmet in the up/tucked position or around the neck when not in use (Nordhaus is currently the only manufacturer of correct face veils)