Model 1910 Field Uniform
- The German army initially clad its troops in a field gray uniform called the M1907 or M1910. It was designed before the outbreak of the war and adopted in 1910 before being modified in 1914 by a slightly simpler design. The field uniform was made of heavy wool, with thin-colored piping to indicate the branch of the service the soldier belonged to. Although other uniforms officially replaced the 1910, supply problems meant that it continued to see use all the way up until the declaration of armistice in 1918.
Model 1915 Field Uniform
- The Model 1915 uniform that replaced the early M1910 and was the primary uniform at the time of the German surrender in 1918 was based on refinements learned through combat experience. It was simpler to manufacture, with none of the ornate colors that adorned the M1910. It was also slightly larger than earlier uniforms, making it easier to move in and more comfortable to wear. For soldiers fighting in cold environments, the larger size of the M1915 also meant that it was possible to wear heavier undergarments without being encumbered.
Full Dress Uniform
- Initially, confident of swift victory, the German army distributed a dress uniform intended for use in parades and other ceremonies. They were marked by colored piping like the M1910 field uniform and used shiny buttons made of brass or nickel. As it became increasingly clear that victory would not be quick or painless, the German government restricted production of the full dress uniform and officially ended it by early 1916. However, some officers and enlisted men continued to obtain the uniform by paying for it themselves.
- The most distinctive part of the German army's uniform was the pickelhaube, or pointed helmet, a leather helmet marked by a pointed metal spike. The pickelhaube was part of the official German uniform through 1916, but its light construction provided little protection from shrapnel, and it was replaced by the stalhelm, or steel helmet. In 1918, the pickelhaube could still be found as part of the uniform of those serving behind the front lines. Its distinctive shape also led soldiers to create their own makeshift versions out of their stalhelms.