Zeltbahn was first issued in 1931 and was carried by each German soldier as part
of his personal equipment. It was basically a triangular shaped waterproof
‘quarter shelter’. These quarter shelters could be joined together using the
metal buttons to make four, eight or sixteen man tents.
A line of four-man zeltbahnen
the bottom edge of the zeltbahn there were grommets for threading a drawstring
and in each corner there were larger grommets for pegs and at the top, one for a
combined to make a large tent, note the field grey one on the left
early Zeltbahnen were field grey in colour but by wartime they were being
produced in ‘Splinter A’ camouflage (the background to this page), one side
being slightly darker than the other.
Zeltbahn had a concealed slit in the middle that enabled it to be worn as a
poncho over the field equipment. It was also sometimes worn buttoned up under
the equipment as a form of camouflage.
Zeltbahn worn as a poncho
was also issued with a 2 metre tent rope, a section of tent pole (four sections
were joined to make a complete pole) and two tent pegs made of resin, steel or
aluminium. These items were carried in a small pouch.
The Zeltbahn was normally rolled up and attached to equipment by using leather straps. It could be rolled with the blanket and attached to the tornister or later in the war to the A-frame. In combat it was often attached to the back of the soldier’s belt or to the ‘D’ rings of his ‘Y’ straps.
Zeltbahn laid out. Note the bakelite pegs, pole sections and carrying straps
The pictures below are taken from the zeltbahn section of Carl Siwinna's manual
Das Kommandobuch published in 1936
My Ramblings, Ostmann S.