Where Eagles Dare on screen German uniforms - did they go with wool or gaberdine?

Ekfud

New Member
So this is something of a sanity check rather than a sourcing question... but bear with me - keen to see if anyone has gone through a similar research process with German uniforms. I've had a fairly keen interest in Where Eagles Dare since I was about 10, and I'm finally getting a chance to source a few movie prop replicas as I get a bit older. The german rank insignias and awards always had some fascination, and I wanted to go about putting together a Schmidt uniform. Yes, it's maybe not a great option to wear walking down the street, but more as part of home collection.

Having done plenty of background digging around on the setup, it's clear the main characters are sneaking in as alpine (mountain) officers, complete with edelweiss badges and lime green uniform piping. Basically all of the pieces, insignia, tunics, caps are available online these days (which is amazing...), but the bit that has me quite stuck is trying to work out which material they used for filming. The uniforms were historically largely made in either wool or gaberdine - and I cannot for the life of me tell what was used in the film.

So... wool uniforms would probably make more sense for hanging around in -10 deg conditions... and the colour of a wool tunic just about lines up.
Blue-green with a slightly mottled wool finish.
WED-Wool.jpeg

EB-Wool.jpeg


Until... it doesn't. Then we jump to a few scenes where we have a much darker grey uniform.
Which looks much more like the gaberdine - on closer inspection, it even looks like it has the gab 'ridges' in the fabric.
WED-Gab.jpeg

EB-Gab.jpeg


It might just be all sorts of colour correction on a 60 year old movie -
I've got a sneaking suspicion that they filmed all the alpine/outdoors stuff in wool, then for soundstage/indoor filming quietly swapped the uniforms for gaberdine.
It would 100% make sense for them to have gone with the lighter weight uniforms for filming 'warmer' conditions - even though for the sake of the movie, they are supposed to be in the exact same outfit for the duration.

Is anyone with a bit more depth of understanding of uniforms from the period able to make a definitive call?
 

joberg

Master Member
I would go with wool for sure! I can understand the reason/decision to change the costumes for the studio lights...;-)
 

Trotsky

Well-Known Member
Looks like wool for a man's suit. Probably fairly lightweight to keep the actors cool while working.

Oh, and if you want to get the correct screen used hat you will want to hit ebay for West German cap with edelweiss. They used West German field caps. Like this: German field cap

There was, a few years back, a company that made replicas of the parkas used in the film. Not cheap but looked awesome.
 

Ekfud

New Member
Looks like wool for a man's suit. Probably fairly lightweight to keep the actors cool while working.

Oh, and if you want to get the correct screen used hat you will want to hit ebay for West German cap with edelweiss. They used West German field caps. Like this: German field cap

There was, a few years back, a company that made replicas of the parkas used in the film. Not cheap but looked awesome.

Yeah there are a few around - checking out some options specifically here.
They do a good set of options for sizes & add officer piping etc.

Just mainly trying to work out whether to go with the wool or gaberdine style (which then carries over to pants, hat...).
The HK guys also have the reversible parka, and while it does look great, it's pricey and likely quite warm anywhere other than hanging off cablecars. :)
 

Dr Jones Sr

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I've gone around in circles with various clothing for my cosplays trying to figure out the exact original colour, because in films cloth-colour will dramatically vary from scene to scene and even from shot to shot in the same scene.

What I've done is this: spend a few minutes only looking at scenes shot in outdoor natural sunlight. Try this with Where Eagles Dare and you might find that the various sunlit scenes agree more than the indoor scenes do.

In general I would go with the authentic colour of German WWII tunics, a muted green called feldgrau. Often Hollywood makes German tunics grey which is not correct. Early in the war the German army trousers were grey, called steingrau, but never the tunics.

A terminology thing: "Gabardine" is a rather vague term that doesn't imply any specific fabric content. It generally refers to tightly-woven twill weave with a diagonal rib, usually worsted wool, originally used for foul-weather outer garments. Later Gabardine also was woven in cotton and even polyester and was woven in lighter weight for suits.

Quality German officers' uniforms would be wool, in a lightly ribbed twill weave, so yes it could be called Gabardine.

In other words "wool" and "Gabardine" aren't mutually exclusive, because Gabardine was generally wool.
 

Ekfud

New Member
I've gone around in circles with various clothing for my cosplays trying to figure out the exact original colour, because in films cloth-colour will dramatically vary from scene to scene and even from shot to shot in the same scene.

What I've done is this: spend a few minutes only looking at scenes shot in outdoor natural sunlight. Try this with Where Eagles Dare and you might find that the various sunlit scenes agree more than the indoor scenes do.

In general I would go with the authentic colour of German WWII tunics, a muted green called feldgrau. Often Hollywood makes German tunics grey which is not correct. Early in the war the German army trousers were grey, called steingrau, but never the tunics.

A terminology thing: "Gabardine" is a rather vague term that doesn't imply any specific fabric content. It generally refers to tightly-woven twill weave with a diagonal rib, usually worsted wool, originally used for foul-weather outer garments. Later Gabardine also was woven in cotton and even polyester and was woven in lighter weight for suits.

Quality German officers' uniforms would be wool, in a lightly ribbed twill weave, so yes it could be called Gabardine.

In other words "wool" and "Gabardine" aren't mutually exclusive, because Gabardine was generally wool.

Yeah - I've been looking at several scenes and a bunch of stills which similarly vary in colour. It doesn't help that most of the outdoor shots are in overcast/snow conditions so much of the outdoor time is borderline black & white photography. There is even a semi-recent photo of Richard Burton's movie costume from auction, although (annoyingly) the only close up photos are of the interior lining :-/

The two options I am looking at produced by MilitaryHarbor are what they specifically call wool & gaberdine -
M36 Heer Wool
M36 Heer Gabardine

To my understanding, there were feldbluse fabrics made for spring/autumn weight (close to what I would have called wool gabardine in menswear), similar to a trenchcoat type thickness and suitable for several climates; vs a more winter weight (thicker wool), more akin to a pea coat/thick felt type finish. In fact, just to complicate things I have also seen some listings for cotton-centric fabrics in the same cut, more intended for summer. I definitely don't have experience handling the original German fabrics, but can see there would have been value in different weight fabric even before you get to the completely different afrika type uniforms.

I'm leaning more towards the 'wool' version that these guys make - to your point, their wool tunic is closer to what I would have expected for feldgrau colouring, and probably makes a lot more sense to be wearing in high alpine snow rather than lighter twill or cotton :)
 

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.
Top