The Zeltbahn

 

The 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

At 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 tent pole.

Zeltbahnen combined to make a large tent, note the field grey one on the left

The 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.

The 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

Each man 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

 

 

 

 

Sources:

www.deutschesoldaten.com

My Ramblings, Ostmann S.