Luftwaffe Summer Fliegerkombi Flying Suit
The German one piece flying suit, officially known as a ‘Fliegerschutzanzug für Sommer K/S0 34’ first entered service in 1934 for aircrew use in temperate climates. These suits were cut large enough to fit over the standard uniform that was worn beneath. A regulation issued on July 4th 1940 and April 24th 1941 introduced a replacement two piece protective flight suits for fighter pilots designed to increase the wearers mobility and not be as restrictive in the close confines of a cockpit but the one piece suits continued to be worn right up until the end of the war although they tend to be more associated with bomber crews. The summer flight suit underwent minor modifications in June 1940 with the earlier horizontal fly opening being replaced with a vertical zip together with various improvements added as a result of combat experience. Our suit is of the second pattern and carries both the vertical fly zip as well as an extra quick release emergency aperture facility to enable the suit to be removed quickly in an emergency. The label clearly dates the suit to 1940 so must have been produced in the second half of that year so is contemporary with the Battle of Britain. Whilst we tend to be cynical of supposed provenance, unless this can be proven, but we were told when purchased the suit belonged to an HE111 of KG 4 crew member who survived when his aircraft crashed near Immingham on March 22nd 1941. In checking the suit in detail we found faintly inked into the inside lining ‘Heisig’ who we have traced through research as a crew members of the crash of a 5/KG4 Heinkel He 111P-4 (2938), operating from a base at Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Feldwebel (Flight Sergeant) H. Heisig survived the crash, was captured and he survived the war as a POW, returning to Germany in 1946. Our suit is constructed in classic ‘pepper and salt’ fabric and whilst it would still display well in a collection or better still dressed on a mannequin it has clearly seen significant wear and subsequent repairs, which would seem to endorse the provenance detailed above. The fabric has a number of nicely executed repair patches that might be period but could also have been done post war to restore the suit to display condition. The main diagonal chest zip is an original Rheinnadel whilst the shoulder zip is an Elite model. Both the leg and waist pocket zips are Zipp brand and stamped "D.R.G.M."to the reverse indicating, Deutsche Reichs Gebrauchsmuster, indication ‘German National Registered Design’. The sleeve zips are however replacements and the crutch and leg zips have been sewn closed for display purposes. The snaps are all original marked Prym. The suit carries the leather oxygen mask attachment point and the leather collar strap is in place. The interior features a crisp a machine stitched white fabric tailors label with black woven manufacturers name Bekleidungsfabrik Habelt, Crailsheim, Wrttbg and Baujahr 1940 and Grosse: 11b, indicating the suit size. The ring pull for the emergency release mechanism is missing but the flap is laced shut. The internal cloth cuffs again show sign of wear and service use. If you have possible interest in adding this piece to your collection please ask for a range of detailed pictured we have available which will show more specifically the condition and issues mentioned. A most interesting Battle of Britain period suit that clearly has a story to tell; if however you like your kit mint and boxed this one is not for you!