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Jackboot Identification


Gildwiller1918

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Anyone here have good knowledge of Jackboots? Here is a pair I recently acquired, the are a matched pair, well oiled and supple. Inside the boots is a maker stamp of Hoffman Kleve, which was a boot maker company located in Kleve Germany, which is close to the Dutch border. Now I have not been able to find out much, but the boot factory was making boots during WW1 and WW2. The factory itself no longer exists, however there is a memorial for it (see below).

Most of the city itself was destroyed during WW2, after the war important employers in the area were associated with the West German "Economic Miracle" (Wirtschaftswunder), and included the XOX Bisquitfabrik (XOX Biscuit Factory) GmbH and the Van den Berg'schen Margerinewerke (margarine plant), that manufactured biscuits and margarine. Another important employer was the Elefanten-Kinderschuhfabrik (Elefant Children's Shoes Factory) which used to be the Hoffman Shoe Company. 

So, with these boots the question is what era are they from, from what I understand WW2 boots are seamed at the rear, which these are but they also have a horizontal seam about half up the boot length, which does not look like the WW2 style, could it be pre-ww2? They are about 14 inches tall, reminiscent of the M1886 boots. They are very well made and quite heavy. They look black on the outside, but they are a nice rich brown on the interior, I imagine the exterior has darkened with age and who ever has oiled it. 

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These are not quite regular Wehrmacht boots, but almost  - the soles and heels are correct for the period, all leather, no gummi (Helden tragen keine Gummi-Stiefel).
Looking at the last picture, I can see that they are made of two layers of leather, not so for "regulars" - regulars were "ungespaltenes Rindsleder", that is thick leather in one layer and no lining! - also the horizontal seam is not a good sign, should not be on regular WH boots, there is also stitching along the top edge of the boots, another indication that this is two layers of leather.   But they do however have the correct form of foot - i.e., the so-called "Haifisch-Schnauze", boot ends like a shark's nose. Do not despair, they are German, period and of some military organisation, but would not be front line type.
All Leather was always brown to start off with - they were only blackened and polished outwardly. So leather of the period should never be black through and through, if it is, there is something wrong. The boots are other wise ok.

It is very difficult to obtain the correct sort of boots nowadays, this is just one thing collectors are not carefull about, and do not pay attention to detail. 99 percent of the boots offered are not what they should be.  Of all the millions of boots produced, few have survived in the condition they should be in.  Postwar they were worn until they fell apart, as there was nothing else to wear.  Prisoners of war wore them and had to work for years under slave labour conditions, and were unable to get the necessary repairs done.  And after the war, in the following Winters, people were freezing, when there was no wood or fuel left to heat, the entire environment was cleared of trees by the needy population, when all the trees were gone, all wooden furniture was sacrificed, and when here nothing was left, piles of old Wehrmacht boots left over were also fired in the ovens - this is was told by somebody, who lived through these times, that is why these boots are so rare today.
When purchasing boots, these should be very carefully examined, not recommended are purchases by mail order, photos can be deceiving and do not show important details clearly. For good boots, a good price can be demanded. These are not to be confused with the officer's long boots.

There is practicly no firm today, which is capable of producing this sort of quality, and the German shoe industry has been practicly rendered non-existant, as with most other useful industries here, also in most other European countries. Most products now come from China, India  and other asian countries.

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Thanks Fritz, I was pretty sure they were not front line WW2 boots, but maybe one of the NSDAP organizations. I have seen similar boots being offered as WW1 to WW2 boots, sellers don't seem to know much either. I like that you mentioned that the boots were worn till they fell apart, this is true about the WW1 boots as well, they wore them till they fell apart, it is now really hard and expensive to find good examples today. I have seen some decent WW2 examples coming out of Canada, as there was a large proportion of German POWs there, kind of makes sense. But I am very wary of the WW2 boots, as you said very hard to find correct ones today. 

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On the other hand, they are not NSDAP, they are more of a military style, could well be suited for Landwehr, Landsturm and Landesschützen troops, or Reichsarbeitsdienst, etc., who did not normally have to endure rugged conditions.  I would recommend them for a figure and keep them until you find better.

WW1 infantry boots always had seams to both sides, not to the rear. Here a WW1 example:  Solid leather, not in layers, not lined, and note also the elegant form of the heels, which narrowed towards the bottom, as well as the flat toes - the so-called "Haifischschnauze".

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Here, the heels have been post-WW2 replaced with rubber and the toe-irons are not WW1 period, probably re-used and later privately post-war worn for a short time, otherwise all correct.

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Here's how the real thing should look

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Don't go for this sort of stuff (below), in case you are offered similar - they are Bundeswehr boots with the so-called "Demokratie-Schnalle" - buckles as worn till about the mid 1980s, then replaced by short lace up boots. They have no similarity to Wehrmacht boots, which never had a buckle or rubber soles. They are much too thick and chunky, especially the toes, and the double layers of leather. The second pair illustrated are probably the last pattern, chunky rubber, no soldier could move in these.

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"Helden tragen keine Gummistiefel!"

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  • 3 years later...

I picked these up not long ago. The shape of the heel and the pattern looks correct. I cannot see any visible stamps, it has cloth pull tabs inside the boot interior. I have treated the pair with antique leather dressing, but overall they are in pretty good shape. What do you think Fritz?

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They look very good to me, don't have fully studded soles, maybe worn by motorised personnel? You can remove the remaining dirt on soles and heels with an old toothbrush, that's how they did it in those days - see first part of film 08/15 by Helmut Kirst.

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