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Scandinavian Uniforms

Article about: Hello! It has come to my attention that the topic of Scandinavian uniforms from pre, during, and post ww2 seems to have very little coverage, especially in English. After discussing with fel

  1. #1

    Default Scandinavian Uniforms

    Hello! It has come to my attention that the topic of Scandinavian uniforms from pre, during, and post ww2 seems to have very little coverage, especially in English. After discussing with fellow forum member 37Webbing, we decided to open up a new thread that will be used to discuss this very subject.

    In this thread, we hope to be able to figure out and find answers to many of the questions we and fellow other collectors may have. We also plan on organizing the already known uniforms and information here as well. That way there can be a one-stop shop for all your Scandinavian uniform needs. If you are one whose interested or know a thing or two about this topic, please chime in! In the coming days, we will be expanding on this thread.

  2. #2

    Default

    Danish M/44 Uniform (post war):

    Well let me begin with the Danish post war M/44 uniform!


    History:
    Name: When it comes to the M/44 uniform the nomenclature is a bit misleading.
    The post war M/44 went through a number of iterations before it came to the above version. According to Danish officer (and webbing manufacturer) Anton N. Hvidt,* the M/44 uniform did for instance not receive collar badges before 1949 and the colour changed through the years. Minor details like buttons, lining, and similar was changed too.

    The uniform is very similar to the British battledress. Both in cut and colour. However, it is easy enough to spot that the uniform is not made for the British Army.

    But why copy the British? Why name the uniform the M/44 (1944) - when Denmark was occupied from 1940-1945? The answer is twofold:

    1) During World War Two Denmark long balanced a tightrope in its relations with Germany. Without delving too deep into the waters of Danish World War Two politics Denmark had resisted (very briefly) the invasion on April 9th 1940. 16 killed and 21 wounded. Following the invasion Denmark was allowed to keep a token force of the Army, Navy and all of the police. Denmark was "nominally" under German occupation - but was allowed to conduct business as usual from 1940-1943. In August of 1943 things went from bad to worse. Following civil unrest and an increased sabotage activity the Germans demanded that special courts and the death penalty be introduced - the Danish government and king refused and resigned. As a consequence the Germans decided to apprehend the rest of the army and transfer the Danish navy to the German. That did however not happen without a struggle. The army resisted and suffered 24 killed 50 wounded. The navy sank all the ships.

    A few months after the August Rebellion a small exile army was gathering in Sweden. Sweden allowed both Denmark and Norway to have "police units" on Swedish soil - and supported the effort with weapons, uniforms, and equipment. They even went the extra mile and planned a combined Swedish-Danish liberation of Denmark (Rädda Danmark) and a combined Swedish-Norwegian liberation of southern Norway (Rädda Norge). Both exile armies existed as part of the allied war effort and the Danish unit was known as DANFORCE at SHAEF.

    DANFORCE was equipped with the Swedish basic equipment. However, the uniforms were not standard issue but special uniforms made to look like the British battledress. However, cut, colour and several other detail are very different from the British uniforms. As is evident in the above photo. They were introduced in the summer of 1944! Hence the name for the post war uniform - the M/44. They are rather rare today. Below is an original from the Swedish Armemuseum in Stockholm:


    The uniforms of DANFORCE will be covered in another post.

    2) Following the war Denmark supported the British occupational forces in Germany. The deal had already been made during the war. The British politicians and army wanted to free up soldiers that had spend years fighting. The were badly needed at home. The Danish army had a brigade sized unit deployed in Germany from 1947 until 1958. As part of the agreement with the British the Danish army committed to buying old surplus British equipment and uniforms. The first uniform in any number used by the Danish army post World War War two was hence the different iterations of battledress that was bohgt from British stores:

    5. Kompagni; Danske Bigade i Tyskland 1947- Øvelse på Lüneburger Heide.jpg
    5. Company, the Danish contigent in Germany, 1947 at Lüneburger Heide.


    The aforementioned reasons - the uniform used by DANFORCE and the extensive use of British surplus equipment - were driving factors behind the adoption of a "home grown" designed that incorporated the style, cut, and colour of the Battledress. But Danish-British relations in NATO and the importance of Danish exports (butter and meat) could be regarded as equally important.


    Basic info:
    The uniform basic uniform consist of a short battledress jacket and trousers of the same heavy brushed wool cloth.
    Colours range from karkee (late 1940s - early 1950s) to green-brown (late 1950s - early 1960s). The uniform was used well into the 1960s. The last unit to use it was the Home Guard. It was for several years used in alongside the the more modern and better liked M/58 uniform.

    Collar badges were, as previously mentioned, allowed in 1949.
    Lining ranges from light sand coloured / karkee coloured cotton to heavy duty green cotton.
    Buttons are often plastic on the uniforms of the late 1950s - early/mid 1960s. But many of the uniforms from the late 1940s - early 1950s can be found with solid brass buttons.

    Photos:

    Jacket:

    Trousers:



    Buttons:


    *In his The Danish Infantry's Uniforms and Equipment Throughout the Past 200 Years. 12 Coloured plates with Danish and English Text. Copenhagen: Harder, 1962.

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