1945 36th Infantry Division “Arrow Heads” German-made Flannel Uniform

(Courtesy of Alex Drury)

Our research collaboration efforts with other historians and collectors often yield fantastic discoveries. Alex Drury, a 36th Division historian and collector discovered this baseball uniform set listed at auction in November 2022. His keen eye for 36th Division artifacts in conjunction with the unit history opened the door to acquiring this group as a post-VE-Day baseball uniform. With near absolute assurance (absent photographic evidence), this uniform is truly a WWII baseball treasure.

The first thing looked at was the jersey itself, which in style and material, matches perfectly for a mid-1940s jersey and is modeled very closely after a 1943-44 Goldsmith US-made jersey, a common type sent overseas that troops used in the summer of 1945. Intriguingly, that is where the US-comparisons end. The soutache and letters/numbering are very uniquely German in their production, the latter for its use of a silkier material compared to the common wool used on almost every stateside and US-made uniform. The coloring also appears gray from a distance but up close, is a very faint bluish tint  

A double row of rayon soutache encircles the collar and sleeve cuffs (Courtesy of Alex Drury)

Specifics to the manufacturer give it an even more likely attribution to use by a “T-Patcher” (referring to the 36th Division’s unit insignia of a “T” superimposed over an arrowhead). The pants interestingly use a zipper fly, a trend that was not used in American baseball uniforms until the 1960s, and the zipper itself, however, is of mid-40s vintage from a German zipper company that made them during the war and in the immediate postwar period.  

The rest of the jersey and pants are marked with the tag of the primary manufacturer “Sport Munzinger, München Im Rathaus.” Besides being manufactured in Munich, close in proximity to the occupation area of the 36th Division in 1945, the company itself was a notable producer of sporting goods from 1908 until 2020! They were housed in the bottom floor of the Munich town hall, as is mentioned on the tag, and during occupation manufactured whatever they could to survive (so long as someone was willing to provide the material). The tag on this uniform matches several other 1940s examples from the company including some civilian sports clothing and even a Gebirgsjager winter smock the company made for the German army. Drury contacted the company which purchased Sport Munzinger in 2018 but has yet to hear back if contracts or documentation has been retained from 1945. 

Looking for identification to the “T-Patchers,” the working assumption is that this uniform belonged to one of the teams participating in the intra-division softball or baseball league that went on during occupation. Photos exist of the divisional team competing in the army-wide games, which used a distinct uniform, but evidence from division newspapers indicates there were sub-leagues within the 36th that saw the various regiments, battalions, and headquarters units fighting it out on the baseball diamond. While Alex Drury has only a photo of the 142nd IR team in this league, scorecards show other units participating included the 111th engineers, division artillery HQ, the division artillery battalions, the 111th medical battalion, and more. While many wartime uniforms have colors that did not directly correlate to their branch or patch, Mr. Drury’s best assessment is that because these uniforms were specially made and likely used in an intra-division league, that it could have belonged to the division artillery HQ or one of the divisional artillery battalions, and perhaps medical units. In the absence of photo evidence or documentation of this specific uniform, it a very plausible outcome given the location and period of its origin, the nature of its manufacturing, and the fact that the 36th was the only unit with this name in the region at the time/place it was made. 

Uniform Features:

Jersey:

  • Buttons: Five smooth, concave four-hole, German-made buttons.
  • Collar: Deep-V
  • Material: The base material is gray/away wool-flannel.
  • Soutache: Two bands of red, 1/2-inch rayon surrounding the button placket and collar. A single band encircles the edge of the sleeve cuffs.
  • Lettering: Rayon material.
  • Numeral: Single numeral “8” on the back.
  • Sleeves: Raglan, non-gusseted, non vented.
  • Tag: German label, Sport Munzinger, Munchen IM Rathaus, size 40

Trousers:

  • Fastener: Zipper.
  • Material: The base material is gray/away wool-flannel.
  • Soutache: Two bands of red, 1/2-inch rayon extending down the length of the out seam from the belt loop. Each beltloop is trimmed with a single band.
  • Tags: German label, Sport Munzinger, Munchen IM Rathaus.

*This uniform group is privately owned by 36th Infantry Division collector Alex Drury. All images provide by and are property of Alex Drury unless marked.

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