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Feldgrau (English: field-grey) is a greenish grey color. It was the official basic color of military uniforms of the German armed forces from the early 20th century until 1945 (West Germany) or 1989 (East Germany). Armed forces of other countries also used various shades of that color. Feldgrau was used to refer to the armies of Germany, first the Imperial German Army and later the Heer (ground forces) of the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht.

Feldgrau
 
About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet#4D5D53
sRGBB  (rgb)(77, 93, 83)
HSV       (h, s, v)(56°, 7%, 14%)
SourceMindjunker
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
Feldgrau of the Wehrmacht (Stalingrad 1942)
Service dress in Hellgrau (German Bundeswehr)

VariationsEdit

In World War I the color feldgrau was a light grey-green, though there were variations of the shade ranging from greys to browns. It was one of the first standardized uniforms suitable to the age of smokeless gunpowder.

Feldgrau is commonly used to refer to the color of German army uniforms during World War II. It was also used by the East German National People's Army, under the description steingrau (stone-grey). Feldgrau was introduced to the Austrian Bundesheer in line to the German pattern as well.[citation needed]

HistoryEdit

In 1910 the so-called field-grey peace uniform (feldgraue Friedensuniform), with colored cuffs, facings, shoulder straps and gorgets was issued by decree in Prussia, followed by the non-Prussian contingents of the other German states and lastly by the Bavarian Army in April 1916. Formerly most infantry regiments in the German Imperial Army wore "Prussian blue" tunics, although Bavarian units had light blue and jägers dark green. Cavalry uniforms were of a wide range of colours. Until the outbreak of war in August 1914, the traditional brightly coloured uniforms of the Deutsches Heer continued to be worn as parade and off-duty wear. Barracks dress was normally an off-white fatigue dress[1] and the field-grey uniform introduced in 1910 was generally reserved for manoeuvres and field training.

Following the German example, other countries selected feldgraue in light grey or grey-green shades as the basic colour for service uniforms. Examples were Portugal (1910), and Sweden (1923). Italy adopted a similar coloured uniform after testing on December 4th 1908 known as "Grigio Verde".

Other countries todayEdit

AustriaEdit

 
Austrian service cap in Hechtgrau (pike-grey)
 
Austrian uniform color

In 1909 the Austro-Hungarian Army adopted the pike-grey (Hechtgrau) as the colour of the field service uniform of its infantry, artillery, engineers and transport units. Previously it had been reserved for Jaeger and Landwehr regiments. Following the outbreak of World War I the light blue-grey shade of Hechtgrau proved unsuited for campaigning in Europe and from 1915 onwards the grey-green feldgrau was substituted.

With the formation of the Austrian 1st Federation's Armed Forces in 1929, there was a close orientation to Germany. For instance the feldgrau uniform (providing some camouflage features) and the corps colors of rank insignia adopted. However, slightly different grey shades were possible as well.

Today, in accordance with national traditions, the textile color of the Austrian 2nd Federation's Armed Forces is named feldgrau (also braungrau [en: brown-grey] - uniform jacket), and steingrau (also steingrau-oliv (stone-grey-olive), or more popularly NATO-oliv (NATO-olive) uniform trousers).

ChileEdit

The Chilean Army also wears a full dress uniform in feldgrau.

FinlandEdit

The current dress uniform of the Finnish Army (M/83) is a grey uniform patterned after the German 1944 uniform. The Finnish Army has used grey uniforms since its founding in 1918. M/83 and its equally grey predecessors were used as the common service uniform up to the 1980s, with camouflage (M/62) used only in the field uniform. Today, the common service uniform is a camouflage uniform (M/62, M/91 or M/05).

SwedenEdit

The Swedish Armed Forces used a very similar color for infantry uniforms, for example the grey m/39 and later on grey-green as the German ones. The last uniform to use the color was the woollen m/58 winter uniform.

Shades of greyEdit

The table below shows some shades of grey in line to the rough RAL colors

Number Sample CIELAB L* CIELAB a* CIELAB b* German name English name Description and examples
#5d5d3d
(HTML-code)
Feldgrau Field grey Basic color Feldgrau of the Reichsheer and Reichswehr 1907–1935
#4D5D53 Feldgrau Field grey Basic color of the Wehrmacht 1937–1945
#555548 Steingrau Stone grey Basic color of the GDR National People's Army 1956–1989
RAL 7000 58.32 −3.14 −4.71 Fehgrau Squirrel grey surface camouflage paint to vessels of the Deutschen Marine
RAL 7008 45.91 3.34 17.92 Khakigrau Khaki grey original name: Graugrün (Grey green)
RAL 7009 43.19 −2.43 3.87 Grüngrau Green grey original name: Feldgrau Nr.2 (Field grey No.2)
RAL 7013 39.21 0.59 6.33 Feldgrau/Steingrau Field grey/Stone grey Austrian Bundesheer
RAL 7016 33.84 −1.33 −2.83 Anthrazitgrau Anthracite grey Added for use by the Wehrmacht
RAL 7021 30.65 −0.43 −1.22 Schwarzgrau Black grey 1937 added for use by the Wehrmacht under the name Dunkelgrau (dark grey)
RAL 7037 30.65 −0.43 −1.22 Staubgrau Dust grey since 1956 used by the German Bundeswehr under the Hellgrau (light grey)

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Heer, Ulrich. The German Infantry from 1871 to 1914 (Volume 1). pp. 60–61. ISBN 978-3-902526-23-6.