Luftwaffe Ground Crew Work Uniforms

Tools 'n' Tips Article by Hal Marshman Sr


   All the way from Home club meetings, to the Nationals, I really enjoy looking at dioramas. Airplane dioramas are pretty much my favorites. As those of you who delve into this venue know, the appearance of the figures can make or break a well done diorama. What I’m talking about in this case, is not how beautifully they’re painted, but how accurately they’re rendered. Now, set aside the splendidly decorated pilot and visiting officer figures, and take a good look at the mechanics and other ground crewman, such as fuelers, armorers , and laborers. It is most likely that they are not wearing Luftwaffe Grey field or dress uniforms, but the specially designed Luftwaffe work uniform. 

   A simple coverall type garment, rather loosely fitted was the main article. I have also seen a 2 piece version of this uniform worn. .In any case, It was a rather simple garment, made out of a black denim material, the color chosen to disguise grease and dirt smears.


There was a matching cloth belt with open buckle intended for wear with this uniform, but quite often the leather field belt with Luftwaffe insignia was worn. I’ve seen a great many pictures where no belt of any sort was in evidence. There was a black denim overseas style cap intended for wear with his uniform. I have found no evidence of an M-43 style cap produced for wear, and naturally the visored dress cap was not worn.. In certain situations, the regular steel helmet could be worn. 

   The insignia worn for all ranks was limited to the Luftwaffe eagle in white or grey  on the cap, but not on the uniform breast. There was no cockade on the cap. Medals and specialty decorations were not worn. Rank was limited to the normal lozenge or chevron sleeve insignia on the left sleeve. Collar tabs and shoulder straps were not worn. NCO ranks wore a single band of tresse down the front of the collar, and around the base  The tresse was 1 centimeter wide, and light grey in color. In addition, the sergeant grades had tresse rings around the cuffs of both sleeves, as follows

  • Feldwebel – one ring about 4 inches above the cuff.

  • Oberfeldwebel – 2 rings.

  • Hauptwebel/Oberfeldwebel – 3 rings

  • Stabsfeldwebel – 3 rings topped with a lozenge.

   Officer ranks wore the same field sleeve insignia as Fallschermjaeger (paratroops).

[Tresse was a flat braid type of material, with the Luftwaffe having a different weave than the Heer or SS.] 

   This article basically pertains to Luftwaffe ground crew, but this uniform could also be seen worn by Luftwaffe fire personnel and Luftwaffe Flak personnel, to include Hitler Youth Flak Helpers and Female Flak helpers. (Hilferen and Hilferinnen.) In addition to the black denims, I have pictures of Luftwaffe personnel of Flak units, and other personnel unloading bombs from trucks, wearing  both one and two piece uniforms made of an off white material. In this case, they seem to be wearing normal Luftwaffe headgear. I’ve not seen mechanics wearing this garment. 

   I hope this summary of Luftwaffe ground crew uniforms may have been of assistance to those who might be contemplating including mechanics, fuelers or armorers with their airplane dioramas.

Have fun, 

  • Bibliography: this article was prepared using information found in Vol. 2, Uniforms and Insignia of the Luftwaffe, 1940-1945, by Brian L. Davis, Publ by Arms and aaArmour Press, London, UK, 1995   

Hal Marshman Sr

Photos and text © by Hal Marshman Sr