Specialized Apparel

Private Purchase Items

The Austro-Hungarian is well known for having large quantities of private purchase items, and having much less stringent dress regulations than the other armies in regards to what men would wear in the field. The general idea is that so long as a private purchase design was approved by regulation, a soldier could use them of his own volition. Since the Austro-Hungarian Army did not have standard issue uniforms for summertime, it was very common for soldiers to have a summer tunic or uniform privately tailored to make marches, fighting, and general living in hotter temperatures more comfortable. Another common type of private purchase item was felt caps, sometimes without the distinctive leather brims, an advantage of which was the ability to easily crush them down for storage.

It is hard to truly pin down “accuracy” on private purchase items due to the huge variety that appeared throughout the course of the war, much of which may never have even been documented. So when it comes to buying reproductions of so called “private purchase” pieces or anything else that differs from standard dress, it is best to consult with others before purchasing. As much as I have liked to for the sake of my wallet, or for the sake of convenience, using “private purchase” as an excuse for pieces of your kit that are not accurate is not a good idea, and it will only lead to your impression’s quality being severely impacted. Private purchase items are almost a whole other facet of research and buying on their own, so take your time with them and pick and choose the items you truly want to add onto your impression. I’ll include examples below and any additional information that is relevant to this section.

The “Karlbluse”

The Karlbluse (literally, “Karl’s Blouse” in English) is a type of private purchase tunic that was used in the latter stages of the war. The Karlbluse was used by commissioned officers only, and I have not seen examples of enlisted men or NCOs wearing them, it is a sign of rank and experience. Karlbluse is an extremely unique looking tunic and is a perfect way to properly complete a late war officer’s impression.

Karlbluse Reproduction courtesy of Jarda Rezac and

Kaiserschutzen Cloak