One very essential piece of equipment for the Fallschirmjäger is the zeltbahn. A combination poncho, shelter and groundcloth it is used
for everthing from basic camoflage to making a liter to carry the wounded.
However it is often one of the shoddiest pieces of repro gear. Originals are expensive and increasingly rare and so repros are attractive.
However... fully 100% of the repros I've purchased have huge sizing flaws. The key being that the space between the buttons is not consistent. I've even had
some zelts where the hole spacing even varies between the sides of the same zelt!
Why does this matter? If you are only a day soldier and all you ever do is button the zelt around you it is only a minor inconvenience. However
if you are making a shelter if they don't match it renders the zelt that is nonstandard useless.
It's hard enough if you supply all the zelts and have sorted through them beforehand. However in the field when you and kameraden are trying
to build a shelter in the face of the coming cold night mismatched zelts are a huge handicap.
Now why the repro companies cannot (or will not) produce a zelt to the original specifications is a matter of conjecture. I suspect that some
MBA has figured out that by making the holes 190mm apart instead of 210mm as the originals will save 1 square meter of cloth per zelt and
hence a 50 cent savings per item for his bonus maybe?
Here's a list of vendors that supply a zelt that matches the standard.
If anyone knows of one please let me know I'll happily add a link here and send every Jager your way. - firstname.lastname@example.org
Chilly morning at Camp Swift...