Prussia – Tunic / Uniform Ensemble – Staff for General Lieutenant Of The War Ministry – Feldgrau
This is an ultra rare feldgrau uniform ensemble for a Generalleutnant who served at the Prussian War Ministry. This consists of the tunic and matching trousers. In the Prussian army during WW I there was no lack of Generalleutnants who served at the front commanding Divisions and even in some cases Armeekorps. But this is a rare bird indeed as we will now share with you.
The material of the M-1915 feldgrau tunic is rich and lustrous. It is unblemished and is in spectacular condition. As this is a staff general officer it does not have the typical collar tabs of a general officer. These tabs are silver bullion edged with the special red. This is our first clue as to what this tunic is. It also has a single row of seven silver buttons. The silver buttons are repeated at the cuffs, rear vent, and on the shoulder boards themselves.
The shoulder boards have a single brass pip for a Generalleutnant. The underlay and trim is red. The shoulder boards have black chevrons which indicate Prussia. One word about this special red trim which is seen on all of the facing and trim of the tunic. This was ONLY used by the war ministry. The Prussian War Ministry (Preußisches Kriegsministerium) was involved in the administrative functions of the army. It held no command function unlike the Great General Staff which held direct responsibility for the conduct of the war during WW I. These were two distinctly different arms of the German military. The War Ministry was smaller in numbers than the General Staff (Commanded for much of the war by Generalfeldmarschall Paul von Hindenburg) and thus had fewer General officers. I am sure with a little time and effort by the new owner of this ensemble that it could be identified. This makes the grouping all the more special.
Continuing our description of the tunic it has wide sewn in loops for a medal bar. On the left breast there is a large pair of sewn in loops which could either accommodate a 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class or possibly even a breast star which is quite possible due to the owner’s rank and position. There are two pockets on the exterior of the tunic and they are lined in silk. Turning to the interior of the tunic we see that it is handsomely lined in two colors of silk. One is gray And the other is in red. There is an inside pocket which is lined in red. Stenciled on the upper part of the tunic we see that at some point it was sold or given to a costume or theatrical house. There is also a stencil for another firm in Bavaria. It should also be noted that the sleeves are lined in a different color of silk. This was common during the period where officers or men disposed of tunics that they could no longer use or wear.
The other part of this ensemble are the matching trousers. They feature the twin wide stripes in red of a general officer with a narrow red trim band in between. They have ties on either trouser leg to secure the socks before wearing boots or shoes to keep the trousers looking tidy and not bunching up. There are buttons at the waist where suspenders (Also called braces) could be installed. There are also several buttons at the fly. There are two exterior pockets on the trousers. Interestingly, one is deeper than the other! There is some silk at the top of the trousers but essentially they are unlined. In two places we see the stencil from the costume house in Bavaria.
I cannot begin to emphasize how rare and in such pristine condition this ensemble is. It would be a highlight to any advanced collection and would look magnificent mounted on a mannequin.