M1915 Greatcoat
as worn by the Matrosen Divisions of the Marinekorps Flandern
Reproduced from the Doppler Collection by kind permission


The sailors ("Matrosen") of the Imperial German Navy who fought on the Western Front during the First World War were issued the army M1915 Infantry Greatcoat. It was field grey with a grey-green collar with six dull metal buttons down the front, deep plain turn back cuffs and two buttoned hip pockets.

The greatcoats issued to the Matrosen differed in two ways from those issued to the army. Firstly they had no shoulder straps and secondly they had the Imperial Crown on the buttons rather than state crowns and emblems worn by army units. Officers' greatcoats were double breasted.

In the photo on the left the Matrose is shown wearing the ribbon of the Iron Cross Second Class (see Medals Details Page). This Matrose also wears an army issue flashlight hung from a button on the greatcoat and carries M1909 ammunition pouches in brown leather. The German army issued an order in 1915 that all brown leather equipment be blackened. This would presumably also have applied to Naval units on the Western front but may not have been rigorously applied in all units.

The headdress is a blue naval cap with an imperial cockade and a black cap tally with the words "MATROSEN. DIVISION. I" in gold lettering.

Please respect the owner's generosity in sharing these photos with us by not reproducing them without prior permission.

(Click on the pictures to enlarge)


A view of the front of the greatcoat, cap and equipment.   A rear view showing the training cap tallies and the equipment, consisting of an M1915 canvas backpack with an M1910 mess tin strapped to its back. Around the backpack is an M1914 tent quarter. Hanging from the belt is a M1893 bread bag, M1893 water bottle and just visible on the left is an M1898 entrenching tool.   Another view of the rear side.
A well worn greatcoat button still bearing the shape of the imperial crown worn by naval units. Later in the war brass buttons were replaced by cheaper metals painted in a similar shade to brass. This appears to have happened here and then the paint has mostly worn off. Buttons were also painted grey or other dull colours by frontline units so as to be less conspicuous.   The issue stamp inside the greatcoat showing it to have been issued by the BAW ("Bekleidung Amt Wilhelmshavn"- Clothing Office in Wilhelmshaven) on the 1st June 1917.   The blue naval cap with an imperial cockade and a black cap tally with the words "MATROSEN. DIVISION. I" in gold lettering.
    The issue stamp and owners tag inside blue naval cap. The markings on the left in red show it to have been issued by the BAW on the 28th of July 1914 (the same day Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia). The markings in white show it as belonging to the 2nd Matrosen Division (II.M.D.). The sewn on name tag below says the owners name was Rohrman.    






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 All photographs on this page are copyright Doppler 2007

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