WW2 GERMAN M36 FIELD TUNIC (Der Spiess)

    While the typically British appointment of Regimental Sergeant Major did not have an equivalent in German combat arms units of battalion size, each company or battery sized subunit did have a soldier appointed Hauptfeldwebel (in horsed units this was called Hauptwachtmeister).  While any NCO could presumably hold this appointment, it generally went to a soldier holding the rank of Oberfeldwebel.

    His duties, similar to his counterparts in Allied armies (called a Company Sergeant Major in the British and Commonwealth, and a Company First Sergeant in the US Army), included administrative tasks necessary to running the company, including personnel and supply issues.

    The German soldier had a fondness for nicknames, and the Hauptfeldwebel acquired several.  Informally, he was called "der Spiess" (The Spear), in homage to the ancient practice of arming NCOs with edged weapons rather than firearms.  Specifically, this related to a time when the senior NCO in a company was armed with an officer's style sword which for some reason was called a "spiess."  During the Reichsheer period, this position was known as Oberfeldwebel or Oberwachtmeister, but these titles became rank titles and the position was renamed Hauptfeldwebel/Hauptwachtmeister.  The Hauptfeldwebel was also known, more informally, as "die Mutter die Kompanie" (Company Mother).



    The Hauptfeldwebel was not necessarily the highest ranking soldier in the company.  While Oberfeldwebel (or those career NCOs who made it to Stabsfeldwebel) was the standard rank, it was not a prerequisite and there is photographic evidence of soldiers ranked as low as Unteroffizier performing the duties of Hauptfeldwebel.  Other NCOs, especially specialists such as the transport sergeant, may well have been senior in rank or experience to the Hauptfeldwebel, whose duties were less technical and more oriented to administration and troop leading. 

    The Hauptfeldwebel led the company headquarters and supply troops, supervising discipline and all work done in the company rear.  He also set up a company writing room, and oversaw all paperwork in the company, including reports, incoming orders, promotions, inventories, etc.  He maintained each company soldier's Soldbuch, and co-ordinated all incoming messages from home from inquiries by civil authorities to daily mail deliveries.  He maintained the rotation of furloughs and passes, watched over food supplies (including the Company canteen) and rest facilities for the company, and when necessary, in the event of a killed or wounded NCO, could also be called upon to lead a platoon-sized subunit.

    This tunic has a rayon/silk lining and is a private purchase with tailor stamps to the inside. Matching shoulder boards (infantry piped) however one has the numeral 9 missing. Ribbon bar and medal loops present. Cuff bands present to denote Der Spiess which is explained above. Quality Breast eagle. This is another excellent tunic from a recent collection purchase.