Wehrmacht Guidelines for Inspections By Hans Rödel
From “Hilfsbuch für den Hauptfeldwebel”, 1942
Translated by Nadine Wichmann and Chris Pittman



Translators’ Note: This is a copy of the original Wehrmacht guidelines describing how German soldiers should appear for inspection by their superiors. This document details the regulations concerning how uniforms and equipment were to be carried and worn. Although the book was published in 1942, some of the information in the article likely dates from the pre-war period. Presumably this article was intended for recruits in training.

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Spiess inspecting men

Guide for Inspection

Appearance: Clean hands and fingernails, freshly shaved,short haircut, without rings on fingers, without watches.

Underclothes: For each inspection, fresh, mended service underwear. Buttons on the shirt, underpants and service undershirt fully present and buttoned. Suspender loops sewn on to the underpants. Lace in the back of the underwear pulled in, lower part of the under jacket in the underpants, clean, well-darned socks.

Cloth trousers: Well ironed, buttons fully present and buttoned (also on the pockets), hosenriegel [?] closed, complete, clean suspenders with the loops pulled through the underwear loops. Contents of the pockets: Clean handkerchief, knife, thread, matches, small wallet.

Field blouse: Collar hooked, sleeve buttoned, shoulder strap buttons with Kompanie numbers should not be twisted. Internal suspenders must be pulled through according to regulations. Belt hooks on both sides must be pulled through the exact hole so that the belt sits between the two bottom buttons. Contents of the pockets: Truppenausweis in the left breast pocket, shooting book, range finding book in the left side pocket.

Lace up boots: Foot smooth and oiled, shaft cleaned. Laces blackened, pulled through to the outside and tucked in. Laces not laced crossed over.

Belt: Outer surface of the belt and belt buckle blackened. Uniform, lightly crowned belt buckles. Ammunition pouches on the belt. The ends of the straps on the pouches tucked away. Ammunition in the left foremost pouch compartment, all other compartments filled with wood blocks.
Order of equipment on the belt, from left to right: Ammunition pouch or binoculars (binoculars strap under the gas mask strap), belt hook, right bread bag loop, helmet carrier, right Zeltbahn strap, bread bag hook, belt hook, left bread bag strap, gas mask strap hook, left bread bag loop, right loop of the shovel carrier, belt hook, bayonet, left loop of the shovel carrier (with the wire cutters pouch, the left loop comes before the bayonet), ammunition pouch, and if applicable, the map case under the ammunition pouch. The strap of the shovel carrier should be crossed over the bayonet. The shovel should not protrude too far from the carrier.

Bread bag: Full canteen on the right side, canteen cup handle toward the body, mess tin on the left side, the loop of the strap on the middle of the mess tin lid, the prong of the strap buckle toward the body.
Bread bag contents: Field hat, rifle cleaning kit, red helmet band, per squad one shoe brush and a cleaning rag.

Gas mask: Carrying strap pulled over the right shoulder so that the mask no longer hits against the mess tin, the strap not too tight. The carrying strap fastened so that the end of the strap and the smooth part of the button point to the middle of the mask. Nametag in the lid, fresh replacement lenses.

Zeltbahn: Width of the rolled Zeltbahn approx. 25 cm. The straps are pulled towards the body as closely as possible, the prong of the buckle towards the body. The Zeltbahn fastened to the belt (see above).

Stahlhelm: front visor even with the eyebrows, interior clean, strap well tucked away, loop of the strap generally to the left, with people who shoot left handed, to the right.

Rifle and bayonet: Well cleaned, lightly oiled, Unfleiss [?] well spread, shaft well cared for.

Exercise [dummy] bullets: Cleaned and lightly oiled.

Troddel: white troddel, bound long over short.

Sport outfit: Training pants over the lower part of the training jacket.

Shooting books: The cover of the shooting books and the range finding book are covered in blue paper. On the front of each a cut-off name tag is to be glued on. Shooting books to be carried in the left side pocket of the field blouse.

Truppenausweis [troop identification]: With cover, in the left breast pocket of the field blouse. In the cover are found no other papers.

Shooting glasses: To be carried in the right trouser pocket and brought to shooting service and battle observation.

Brustbeutel [small purse worn around the neck]: With name tag, hung at the throat, to be worn over the shirt.

All clothing and equipment items to be inspected must be extremely clean and in a condition suitable for roll call. The cleaning of the leather gear is of great importance. As ordered by the Kompanie, nametags and stamps are to be found in all clothing and equipment items in the prescribed locations (see the hanging by the blackboard). Nametags in poor condition must be renewed.

Guide for Pre-Inspection

After the Kompanie is assembled the first time, the Hauptfeldwebel, Zugfuehrer and other older Unteroffiziere are to look in the following order:

1. Distribution on the belt.

2. Ammunition pouches in the loops, ends tucked away. Gas mask strap not twisted.

3. Bayonet properly put away, not too greasy, Troddel bound according to regulations.

4. Position of the helmet, foot placement, loops on low boots tucked away.

5. By the clothing Unteroffizier: Wrinkles smoothed out, collar bind position, belt position.

6. By Hauptfeldwebel: Collar done, all buttons buttoned, look over the entire uniform once again.

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Mess Inspection