There are basic types of Zeltbahn which can be easily classified according to their shapes. Each type has more or less standardised dimensions and button hole arrangements, allowing them to be combined to make up larger shelters or tents.
This type includes the standard 1892 pattern issued by the German armed forces from the end of the nineteenth century and throughout World War I until at least the early 1930's, and variants used by other nations, also throughout this period and post-World War II, e.g. by Switzerland, Russia, France, Italy, the East German NVA and other Eastern Bloc nations.
The 1931 pattern - patented as the "Warei" Zeltbahn was to replace the square design used until then by the Reichswehr. It was produced in plain colours and a variety of camouflage patterns and was used by all branches of the German armed forces, party organisations and police and auxiliary units. Shelter quarters identical in design to the 1931 pattern, or very similar and based on it, were also produced by other nations with their own camouflage patterns in the post-war period, e.g. France and Sweden. Plain green and grey 1931 pattern shelter quarters were also used by the German police and Bundesgrenzschutz Federal German border police (BGS) in the post-war period.
The BGS and Austrian armed forces also used a modified triangular pattern that was not dimensionally compatible with the standard 31 pattern. Unlike the triangular 31 pattern, the bottom edge of this type is not straight.
Terms used to describe triangular types
The Zeltbahn 31 pattern forms an isosceles triangle with a narrow rectangular section that appears to have been added along one side. This section makes it possible to refer to one edge of a triangular Zeltbahn as the base or bottom edge. The German term for this is Grundlinie. The term for each of the other sides is Schenkelseite, referred to here as long or side edges. The corner opposite the bottom edge is referred to as the tip or top corner throughout this site. Although it may seem trivial to point this out, it is the simplest way to differentiate between the three corners and sides when describing eye and button hole arrangements and their variants.
Post-war shelter halves and sections
This pattern, which is similar to the American design and still used by the Bundeswehr today, is a true shelter half and a completely different shape to its predecessors. It has been produced in plain olive green and at least two different camouflage patterns. These halves are made up of rectangular sections, the short sides of which are not straight, but fashioned in such a way that they form pointed or triangular end sections, thus forming the end flaps of the pup tent. The Norwegian armed forces also used a shelter section in the shape of two triangles joined together to form a lozenge.
Copyright © 2002-2003 David Gregory