Common problem with many reproductions of tropical uniforms – tightening the belt, only to slip loose immediately on first movement or first breath. Does this sound familiar? Here’s why this happens and more importantly, how to solve it?


The different types of German trousers buckles

Most German Summer uniforms come incorporated with internal belts. The Heer Tropical uniforms come with a three-prong buckle, whilst the Kriegsmarine and SS tropical uniforms made use of side adjusters. The Luftwaffe (very typical of them), adopted a different method and used friction buckles instead, like those found in the Luftwaffe drillich uniforms.

Different buckles from various uniforms: (left to right) Luftwaffe, Heer, Kriegsmarine / SS


Friction buttons are very practical, they don’t damage the fabric, and can keep strap belts tight. However, there are 2 ways of attaching a metal tri-glide buckle (a type of friction buckle), depending on the function needed. 

The right way and the wrong way of attaching Luftwaffe friction buckles

Method 1: Fixing buckles to make an adjustable straps, allows you to lengthen or shorten a strap easily. This is done by attaching the left end of the belt to the middle part to the buckle, and then pass the right end of the belt from right to left. Whilst this sounds very convenient for the straps of a bag, it's a horrible method for an integrated waist belt.

Method 2: Attaching buckles to make a stopper is done by attaching the left side of the belt to left-most part of the buckle, then have the right end passed from the right and behind the middle part, then passed again through the right side of the buckle, which secures it in place. The middle part of the buckle which is flat, in this case, allows the belt not to slip and can keep the belt secure.

The right and wrong way of attaching Luftwaffe friction buckles

The German tailors intended this buckle to be used for the second case, however, many reproductions attach them to cater for the first case. Why would any soldier want to easily loosen the trousers except in the odd case of nature calling violently?


That's all it takes

So now you know the right way of attaching the friction buckle on Luftwaffe tropical uniforms, both for waist belt and ankle belts. If you have this problem, you should get this fixed very easily at your company's tailor.

Written by Christian Debono — September 24, 2017