German ww2 "Reichsverteidigungsjacke" or the first Jet - Pilot jacket

Enigma1938

Well-Known Member
Hi folks

As I promised to Kermit3D I will show my "Reichsverteidigungsjacke"
It's a beautiful made replica that is extremely close to an original jacket of that type.
It's manufactured years ago from the guys who made the jackets for "pilot" before they retired and pilot took over all their stuff.

It's a copy of a very late ww2 Luftwaffe jacket, so originally produced around 1945 for the so called "Reichsverteidigung" or Defence of the Reich, a term for the Luftwaffe part that was most responsible for protecting Germany against the enemy air forces.
Because of the material shortage the germans suffered towards the end of ww2 this model lacks all metal parts that were used on earlier models. No heating wiring anymore, no metal zippers, no metal press studs.
The jacket shell is made from a beautiful grainy horsehide, the liner is made from light blue silk.
The collar is made of dark blue velvet/fleece.
Except the leather and the liner all parts are original ww2 NOS. Original RiRi plastic zippers, original blue Luftwaffe glass buttons. The buttons are in two different color shades, some more blue and the others more grey-blue.
The jacket fits great, also thanks to the adjustable strap inside the back.

This type of jackets was also used by the very first german jet pilots, flying the ME262 or the HE162 for example.

Some pics:
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20210104_104628.jpg
20210104_104640.jpg
 
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Kermit3D

Well-Known Member
Thank you very much Enigma1938 for these pictures ! ;)
It's not my favorite jacket design, but it looks great !
It's probably one of the only repro version that exists ? the finish is very nice and the size is very good.
It is indeed a jacket that was often worn by Me 262 pilots. This jacket has IMHO a great historical interest.
Again congratulations.... no chance to meet another one in the street ! :D



1bf3d26b9a5cff96a61694d63713ddf5.jpg
 
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B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Interesting jacket . I wonder why this design was specifically made for the pilots who flew the jet aircrafts. Did it have something to do with accommodating some additional flight gear or equipment the pilot wore or was it just as a piece of kit to denote a specialized group of pilots ?
I like most of the design but I’m puzzled by the purpose of the wide floppy collar . It looks too soft to stand up by its self and doesn’t seem to be able to offer much in the way of protection or warmth to the neck . Would like to hear more about the background of the design this jacket if anyone knows about it .
Thanks for posting.
 
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Enigma1938

Well-Known Member
This jacket was indeed not designed for jet pilots only. And it's one of the very few leather jackets that was designed and built in Germany for the Luftwaffe only, not like the many many various private purchased leather jackets or the different Channel jackets made in cloth and sheepskin.
 
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Pilot

Well-Known Member
If I may chime in.
The „Reichsverteidigungs- Jacke“ Reichs-Defence jacket came into service end of 1943.
If was exclusively issued to fighter pilots not to Bomber nor other pilots.
It got its name from the pilots themselves since it was issued to the „ Reichs defence“ fighters only... In the west ( mostly) agaits the RAF, USAAF, ...but also very limited though, to ( famous) squadrons flying against Soviet bombers/fighters.
Exceptions were there rules... so Erich „Bubi“ Hartmann and his mates got theirs, even if they were not directly defending their homelands... but they were famous and shown/mentioned in several Wochenchau‘s or Wehrmachtsbericht‘s ( weekly cinema news or radio reports ).
The jacket was created /issued/ rewarded as a kind of moral booster for fresh young pilots... in order to „ cheer them up“ whilst they became the „cannon fooder“ for the fat Arse Göring and his alikes madness and ego.
The collar is not as floppy as it looks like, plus it has a latch and buttons to close it around pilots neck.
Most of the WWII photos show pilots wearing ( yellow ) silk scarves, to protect from cold ( if).
This yellow silk was from their emergency flag ( 90x90cm) to be used after ditching ...
Ditching was unlikely to happen after end of 1943 since the air war was mostly over German home land ( or allied/occupied east-countries) only.
There were several makers even if not tagged in the jacket, but coded with an „RbNr ....Number ( Reichsbetriebs-Nummer ).
Striwa, Berolina and Hilbrecht are the most famous ones.
There were wired ones ( early ones) and unheated ones.
Most of them were seal and blue-grey ( basalt grey ). I have also seen one OD colored one... but only one in many years.
No russet ones... only faded seal ones, when aging.
There is much more to write about these jackets, but maybe later.
 
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Enigma1938

Well-Known Member
If I may chime in.
The „Reichsverteidigungs- Jacke“ Reichs-Defence jacket came into service end of 1943.
If was exclusively issued to fighter pilots not to Bomber nor other pilots.
It got its name from the pilots themselves since it was issued to the „ Reichs defence“ fighters only... west ( mostly) but also very limited though to ( famous) squadrons flying against Soviet bombers/fighters.
Exceptions were there rules... so Erich „Bubi“ Hartmann and his mates got theirs, even if they were not directly defending their homelands... but they were famous and shown/mentioned in several Wochenchau‘s or Wehrmachtsbericht‘s ( weekly cinema news or radio reports ).
The jacket was created /issued/ rewarded as a kind of moral booster for fresh young pilots... in order to „ cheer them up“ whilst they became the „cannon fooder“ for the fat Arse Göring and his alikes madness and ego.
The collar is not as floppy as it looks like, plus it has a latch and buttons to close it around pilots neck.
Most of the WWII photos show pilots wearing ( yellow ) silk scarves, to protect from cold ( if).
This yellow silk was from their emergency flag ( 90x90cm) to be used after ditching ...
Ditching was unlikely to happen after end of 1943 since the air war was mostly over German home land ( or allied/occupied east-countries) only.
There were several makers even if not tagged in the jacket, but coded with an „RbNr ....Number ( Reichsbetriebs-Nummer ).
Striwa, Berolina and Hilbrecht are the most famous ones.
There were wired ones ( early ones) and unheated ones.
Most of them were seal and blue-grey ( basalt grey ). I have also seen one OD colored one... but only one in many years.
No russet ones... only faded seal ones, when aging.
There is much more to write about these jackets, but maybe later.
It couldn't be better explained, thank you pilot!
We would love to hear more background info from you
 

Kermit3D

Well-Known Member
If I may chime in.
The „Reichsverteidigungs- Jacke“ Reichs-Defence jacket came into service end of 1943.
If was exclusively issued to fighter pilots not to Bomber nor other pilots.
It got its name from the pilots themselves since it was issued to the „ Reichs defence“ fighters only... In the west ( mostly) agaits the RAF, USAAF, ...but also very limited though, to ( famous) squadrons flying against Soviet bombers/fighters.
Exceptions were there rules... so Erich „Bubi“ Hartmann and his mates got theirs, even if they were not directly defending their homelands... but they were famous and shown/mentioned in several Wochenchau‘s or Wehrmachtsbericht‘s ( weekly cinema news or radio reports ).
The jacket was created /issued/ rewarded as a kind of moral booster for fresh young pilots... in order to „ cheer them up“ whilst they became the „cannon fooder“ for the fat Arse Göring and his alikes madness and ego.
The collar is not as floppy as it looks like, plus it has a latch and buttons to close it around pilots neck.
Most of the WWII photos show pilots wearing ( yellow ) silk scarves, to protect from cold ( if).
This yellow silk was from their emergency flag ( 90x90cm) to be used after ditching ...
Ditching was unlikely to happen after end of 1943 since the air war was mostly over German home land ( or allied/occupied east-countries) only.
There were several makers even if not tagged in the jacket, but coded with an „RbNr ....Number ( Reichsbetriebs-Nummer ).
Striwa, Berolina and Hilbrecht are the most famous ones.
There were wired ones ( early ones) and unheated ones.
Most of them were seal and blue-grey ( basalt grey ). I have also seen one OD colored one... but only one in many years.
No russet ones... only faded seal ones, when aging.
There is much more to write about these jackets, but maybe later.
Excellent explanation! I learned a lot of things. Thank you.
 

Bobo_the_Sailor

New Member
Being an aviation history fanatic, I always liked the look of these. It is important to note they were originally a part of a flight suit with matching trousers.
To those puzzled by the collar shape-In my opinion it is derived from the Wehrmacht greatcoat and other more traditional coat collars which is also wide-clearly intended to offer warmth when fastened.
I always wondered what the term is for that kind of artificial fur/velvet material is as I have not seen it used in any other jacket besides the late war kanaljacke!
 
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Bombing IP

Well-Known Member
What I find strange it that the guy who was making these jackets that the business Pilot took over .We know nothng about him,he is retired and obviously made many jackets for many years . His work is top notch and made many rare jacket examples but here we are with a man that never existed almost . I do not even know his name or his company name only the region he worked out of in France . Most strange that such an important company is under the radar so as to speak .Now pilot has taken over it seems to be a word of mouth company also we know nothing about the company he controls .Yes we can get a jacket off him by contacting him on the forum but no announcement of the new venture with a window of his wares . I am not being critical to me this is not the norm but what do I know . Well good luck to him I am sure he will be successful with his knowledge and we are sure to see some treats in the future .

Enigma Great jacket perfect fit 10 out of 10

Respectfully submitted

BIP
 

John Lever

Moderator
I bought a similar jacket over 10 years ago from a German repro company, can't remember the name. ( not Noble House !)It didn't suit me so I sold it.
 
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