Alsace and Lorraine - 1875
This infantryman, from the “Herwarth von Bittenfeld” infantry regiment (1st Westphalian) no. 13, represents the German soldier as he was viewed in the popular imagination. While newly equipped with a modern uniform in neutral colour, “Feldgrau”, some archaic elements, the legacy of a longstanding warring tradition, meant there was a degree of déjà-vu about the “Boche” at the outbreak of war, awakening bad memories of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871.
The 1895 Pickelhaube (spiked helmet), covered with a helmet cover, and the leather boots, had been in use for many years in the Prussian and then German army. The uniform in feldgrau fabric was made up of a pea jacket (1907/1910 model), with a straight cut and high collar, which closed at the front with eight buttons and was lined with red piping for most infantry regiments. The soldiers wore trousers in the same fabric. Their equipment comprised a leather belt and cartridge pouches, a haversack, a satchel, a canteen, an entrenching tool and a Gewehr 98 rifle, made by Mauser, and a bayonet.