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A very nice M42 Panzer SS Tunic here from the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division, Götz von Berlichingen. All of the sewn insignia are original to this tunic, with no signs of post-war application or repair. As I sometimes do with SS items (especially cloth) I sought a second, and even a third opinion on this one from the most respected SS cloth collectors in the industry. After an in-hand inspection all are in agreement that everything about this SS tunic is genuine and period applied, with no signs of post-war application or modification.

There are very few flaws with this example. The light green piped Panzergrenadier shoulder boards are in excellent condition, showing some tarnish marks from the buttons having had contact with them for so many years (shown in the photos). The SS collar tabs are also in excellent condition, still very rigid and quality. The SS sleeve eagle is properly factory sewn and without flaw aside from slight use discoloration.

The Gotz von Berlichingen cuff title is in exceptional condition, and very nicely sewn along the lower part of the left sleeve. This particular SS cuff title is sewn a bit lower on the sleeve than is considered “standard” based on some examples, but still perfectly acceptable. Some will say that the cuff title and shoulder board combination present on this tunic do not go together, but when a soldier transferred from a unit with a cuff title, to a unit without a cuff title, they were allowed to retain the cuff title from the former unit, thus such a combination is indeed very plausible. It could also be that the shoulder straps on this tunic started as SS Rifle Regiment straps (not Gebirgsjäger straps, which have the same color piping), and in 1943 the cuff title was added but the soldier either chose to continue wearing his current shoulder straps, or perhaps the proper boards were in short supply at the time. The true reason is anyone’s guess.

An interesting point about this tunic is something very difficult to notice without close, in-hand inspection. At first glance the un-threading of the two vertical pleats on the reverse of the tunic would appear to be a flaw, but it is in fact a modification. Upon further inspection we noticed the buttons along the front of the tunic were moved outward by approximately 1 inch as well. What this suggests is that the original wearer of this tunic either gained a bit of weight, or the tunic was passed on to another, slightly more round soldier at some point. The releasing of the pleats, coupled with the moving of the buttons must have provided the wearer enough extra room to continue wearing the tunic. Whatever the reason, it’s an interesting modification nonetheless.

In all, this is a choice SS Panzer Grenadier tunic in rare condition, with all original insignia. Not a combination easily found today!