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German Web Fieldgear
As early as 1939, the Germans began producing fieldgear made from cotton webbing, rather than leather. I suspect this was an attempt to conserve leather or simply develop improved gear rather than a decision to prepare for desert warfare.

This type of fieldgear is often referred to as "Tropical". However, this is a misnomer. Although most troops stationed in Africa do indeed appear to have been issued with this equipment in lieu of leather, it was used in all theaters. All one need to is to study original photographs of the Heer and Waffen SS and it is fairly easy to find. Web fieldgear was obviously issued concurrently with the more common leather equipment. It begins to show up in photos of the Eastern Front during Barbarossa, and is relatively common by the following summer (1942). Most readily identified are the Web Y-straps- look for the square slides on the front and lack of a rivet on the shoulder. A-frames, equipment straps, belts, canteens, etc are harder to see as they are often obscured by other items.

So, it may be an uphill struggle, but we will call it "Web" rather than "Tropical" since it is a more accurate term.

ATF's Web German Fieldgear

The construction of German webbing itself has always been an obstacle in making truly accurate reproductions of this equipment, since, in typical German fashion, everything was purpose-made and simplicity was not a consideration. The weave and structure are very different from US or British materials. After 15 years, we finally found a company in Pennsylvania that still had the old style shuttle looms that can make this complex material so we are now able to offer the tapered widths and woven buttonholes that make WWII German webbing so peculiar. We intentionally developed several subtle shade variations- originals rarely have perfectly matching components so neither will ours. However, all of this was extremely expensive- nearly $100,000 was invested in the materials and hardware to make these products. Compared to other copies, the price is high, but these products have no equal- they are identical to the originals in every way, except age.

German Webbing Color, etc
There are always a few people who are disappointed that I don't choose to make the color or variation that they want or believe to be. But our measuring stick are original items, not reproductions, screen shots from video games or movies. For the table below, only actual, authentic WWII samples are used.
School is open:
Q: Which Color is right?
A: All of them.



Which color is the "correct" color???
Original samples of WWII German 25mm webbing.
These are by no means all the shades possible,
but the main ones are represented.
"A" is the color we copied.


Original web tornister straps,
worn and dirty. Which color is right?
Web Y-straps. Varying from near
mint to beat.

Original A-frames. If I make
the one on the right- will all the others be wrong?

Some of the original samples sent to the webbing company.
Yes, a web Y-strap died for the cause...
Unissued clothing bag,
showing the webbing from the inside where there
is zero fade, compared to our webbing.
We did use two different webbing companies- some of our web is slightly khakier,
but the difference is very subtle.
Once in awhile, we have original components to use.


Why don't you make "classic khaki"?
Most A-frames and web Y-straps I've owned or examined lean toward the olive-tan shade we copied, so it's a good average. Even though the real gear is sometimes very pale, I just have a peeve about copying the lightest shades of anything- once it fades, you end up with off-white which really looks awful. Regardless, we chose a common, actual WWII color. We are working from actual originals, not photos copied from the internet, a reproduction of some sort nor an "action doll".
Fade


Our material does fade. The piece above was left in the sun beside our dumpster for 10 days. I used a brick to hold it in place and to shade half of it.

How best to "age" your gear I'm not willing to post, due to the meathead factor- someone invariably goes too far and screws things up, then screams at us for "telling them to do it". However, the inference one can draw from the photo above is hardly rocket science.
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