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The Tarnjacke M42 (Camouflage jacket Model 1942) also known as M42 Smock was a camouflaged smock of German origin. It was an improved version of already existing Tarnjacke M38, also designed only as camouflage cover for uniform and was thus intended to be worn just above the standard wool made Feldgrau (Greenish gray) service uniform so it typically did not feature any kind of symbols nor rank insignia. It was produced only in SS camouflage patterns, so it was used exclusively by them. [5][6][7][8]

OverviewEdit

The M42 smock was being produced in two of already five SS camouflage patterns in existence during that time; the Rauchtarnmuster (Smoke pattern) as well as Eichenlaubmuster (Oak leaf pattern - pictured) since the other three patterns; Blocktarn (Block pattern), Platanenmuster (Plane tree pattern) and Palmenmuster (Palm tree pattern) were made only for its mentioned predecessor, the M38 smock (although there are many modern reproductions showing M42 smock in M38 patterns or vice versa). So, like the predecessor, it actually existed in few different and all reversible camouflage patterns.

Together with the M38, the M42 smock was the standard SS battledress appearance until the all new design, the Erbsenmuster (Pea dot pattern) appeared in early 1944, which became their first true (actual) camouflage combat as well as service uniform and which was intended to replace the slowly agening Felgrau wool service uniform together with these camouflage smocks. However, despite its appearance, the M42 and even the M38 were continued to be extensively used until the very end of the war, firstly due to the fact that there was always a serious lack of new uniforms on frontlines, what was mainly due to wartime which sometimes seriously hampered supply lines as well as production and logistics.

Also, due to simplification of the battledress, the existing smocks were sometimes modified (to become actual uniform, like the mentioned Erbsentarn) by the sole soldiers using field improvisations (sewing blouses and trousers from smocks, as an example), so that they could just wear the camouflage patterns rather than wearing both standard Feldgrau uniform together with camouflaged smock above.

The M42 smock was of relatively simple design, it was made out of linen (a type of textile), it had laces buttoning and featured two lower pocket with knob buttoning as well as foliage loops to improve camouflage using branches or leaves, if necessary (although the latter feature was very rarely used, moreover, it was often removed due to having tendency to snag while moving through underbrush, as an example). It was always a reversible design, which means that it had always featured two types of camouflage pattern, one from the outside and another from the inside or vice versa. It can be visually easily told apart from its mentioned predecessor, since the M38 smock was somewhat simplier design, firstly by lacking foliage loops and it also had two vertical upper pockets without buttoning instead of two horizontal lower, so the M42 was in the same time, actually just a modified M38 smock. As mentioned already, the M42 was being produced for only two wartime years, from 1942 until 1944, when it was, together with its all predecessing patterns, replaced in production by all new Erbsentarn combat & service uniform and was, theoretically, that is, formally also replaced in service, although it remained in widespread usage among SS infantrymen until the very end of the war, as stated.

In contrast to Erbsentarn which was heavily used by SS Panzertruppen (tank crews) despite being a camouflage pattern designed primarly for infantry, the M38 and M42 smock and all of their listed camouflage patterns were never used by them since those were only garments rather than actual uniform like the Erbsentarn was.

As with other German World War II uniforms and equipment in general, the M42 smock was originally designated only as Tarnjacke along with name of the pattern in which it was being made (Eichenlaubmuster Tarnjacke as an example), so the mentioned M42 is actually just a modern and unofficial designation given primarily by collectors.

One interesting fact is that, nowadays, more than seventy years after the end of World War II, the modern Russian army has made copies Eichenlaubmuster pattern, which was originally used only on the Tarnjacke M42. Their designation for this pattern is Partizan (Partisan) which is printed on their Gorka coverall suit and used by some units, mainly Specnaz (special forces) and some reconnaissance forces. However, in contrast to original Eichenlaumuster which existed in only two variants (due to the fact that it was a reversible smock, and other pattern variant was actually the other side of the smock, as previously mentioned), the modern Russian versions have at least four variants, and their mentioned coverall suit is not as reversible as the German M38 or 42 smocks. Moreover, the Russian army has also made copy of Sumpfmuster/Sumpftarn (Marsh pattern) which they designated as Sumrak (Dusk), which was, together with its predecessor, the Splittermuster/Splittertarn (Splitter pattern) originally printed on Zelthban (canvas strip) or on Anorakanzug M43 and is today also being used by some minor special forces of Russian Armed Forces.

VariantsEdit

Type IEdit

The Type I M42 smock had straightly horizontal lower pockets.[9]

Type IIEdit

The Type II M42 smock had sloped lower pockets presumably for easier access to them.[10]

ModifiedEdit

There is evidence that some M42 Smocks had hoods made of Zeltbahn cloth attached to them. Another known modification was the common practice to remove the foliage loops to avoid snagging in the bushes of the bocages of Normandy.[11]

GalleryEdit

In popular cultureEdit

Media

Notes

Date

Combat Mission II: Barbarossa to Berlin The M42 Tarnjacke is used by SS units 2002
Call of Duty The Waffen-SS Type II Smock is worn by Waffen-SS troops at the Battle of Stalingrad which is historically inaccurate as they were not present at this battle. However, it is also appropriately worn by them later during Invasion of Normandy, Warsaw uprising and Battle of Berlin as well as in the Battle of Kursk in Call of Duty: United Offensive, the official expansion pack 2003
Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 The M42 Tarnjacke is being used by SS infantrymen in Platanenmuster camouflage pattern 2005
Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood The M42 Tarnjacke is being used by SS infantrymen in Platanenmuster camouflage pattern 2005
Faces of War The M42 Tarnjacke is used by SS infantrymen in Platanenemuster camouflage pattern 2006
Company of Heroes The M42 Tarnjacke is depicted as being hybridized with the M43 Winteranzug as it has a hood and white lining. It is worn by the Stormtrooper Squad and Sniper units 2006
Call of Duty 3 The Waffen-SS Type II Smock is worn by the Waffen-SS 2006
Medal of Honor: Airborne The Waffen-SS Type II Smock is worn by the Waffen-SS 2007
Men of War The M42 Tarnjacke is used by SS infantrymen in Platanenemuster camouflage pattern 2009
Call of Duty: WWII It is part of the default outfit for the Axis mountain division 2017

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://www.icollector.com/RARE-GERMAN-NAZI-WAFFEN-SS-CAMOUFLAGE-PULL-OER-SMOCK_i13574683
  2. http://wehrmacht-lexikon.de/waffen-SS/bekleidung/tarnbekleidung/tarnjacke.php
  3. http://www.2kompanie.org/waffen-ss-camouflage.html
  4. http://www.atthefrontshop.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=466
  5. http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/showthread.php?t=824061
  6. https://www.militariaplaza.nl/uniforms-16/set-of-waffen-ss-m42-camouflage-smock-loops-detail
  7. http://www.sofmilitary.co.uk/ss-camouflage-m42-type-1-smock-planetree-by-richard-underwood-product,19748
  8. https://militariaplaza.nl/uniforms-16/waffen-ss-m42-camouflage-smock-1-detail
  9. https://fjm44.com/articles/m42-camouflage-smock-waffen-ss-oak-a/
  10. https://fjm44.com/articles/m42-camouflage-smock-waffen-ss-plane-tree-34/
  11. http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=359143