Finally. Proof of clothing issue to Einjährig-Freiwilliger.

Thanks to all of you for this interesting study ! I own myself 1 or 2 items, with EFJ tag and particularly this JB 14 Mecklemburg Tshako, unit stationed in Colmar (Alsace)

concerning the possibility for a volunteer to get free uniform, my opinion is that it has been obviously the case. Why ? Some contributors already came with quite interesting historical sources and my point is more, let's say "practical" or "social". I was myself a "volunteer" some 30 years ago, and I was given a full kit for free with the obligation to give it back at the end of the 2 years cadet school. I could not afford paying for this equipment at that time... In the German army, EJF were usually students, that could benefit of a shorter compulsory duty. They were not all rich, and I'm quite sure that regiment commanders had the legal capacity to decide to lend ordnance items to EJF in case they could not pay for it. May be it was also the result of a negotiation prior to join the unit, but I have no concrete material to proove it. What I mean is that in prestigious units, EJF had great difficulties to be admitted and could certainly not negotiate a free clothing... while in much less prestigious units, JB 14 or JR 153, regiment commanders were certainly happy to enlist young, clever and motivated soldiers and had to find a solution when the family could not pay for the kit .... Sorry for coming with so "unscientific" analysis but that's my own military experience that speaks :)
again, thanks for these excellent contributions, I learnt a lot !


Active member
In the German army, EJF were usually students

Our research for the book indicated that that was not the case. By today's standards they would be students but in the days of Imperial Germany there were very few students and they were seldom poor. Many one-year volunteers did not have a lot of money and actually many went into debt to be able to afford being a one-year volunteer.

You might be surprised to find out that JB 14 was actually highly sought after. Service in a Jaeger Battalion actually qualified you to work in the Forrester industry as a civil servant. This was considered a very good job.
Interesting information, I always read that EJF were most of the time students.... So you mean students were not the majority of EJF ? They were then just youngsters trying to avoid a longer compulsary duty ?
Concerning the second part of your answer, I consider that we agree on this point. (It does not mean that I disagree on the first one :) but your information are new for me), The fact that EJF seemed to be receiving ordnance items means is compatible with this vision. Now, there are 2 options : either they were lent the kit for free, to help them coping with the expenses created by their specific status, second option : they had to buy the ordnance items but that was cheaper to buy it from the regiment/battalion, than from a private tailor..... what's your opinion ?


Active member
There is a very good question! I have the “unit price” but only from some one-year volunteer guidance. When you check out against catalogs there is always an issue of year mismatch. It seems as though the units were somewhat cheaper but that the private sellers–who sold to the units–stayed in competition.

Have you read this article?

There is a lot of information about one year volunteers and while that article does not specifically identify students–one must understand how far advanced a “student” would be. A one-year volunteer could–could do his year as early as the age of 17. Most one year volunteers entered with their class at the age of 20. I think it is most interesting how religion affected the percentages. This entire system is incredibly foreign to the way we do business in the USA.
HI again Joe,
I just read your quite interesting and scientific study on these OJF... I find your point of view quite positive ! I support this approach concerning this category of helmets that unfortunately were "contaminated" by fake makers, using this description as "scarce OJF helmet" in order to cover the fact that the helmet was made of components that were not genuine or not compatible. Your approach has the merit to underline that there are quite original and genuine OJF helmets, you also give the keys to recognize the good from the fake, congratulation and thanks for this very usefull study THANKS !
If I summarize what I learnt from this reading, I also understand that OJF had the possibility to get ordnance field gear, either by buying them or by paying a sort of compensation for use and tear. This explains why we find marked ordnance helmets for instance, with OJF personnel label.
Concerning the period photography, as you mention it in your article, I've always been very careful concerning the interpretation of the "carte de visite" pictures, those taken in photographer studios. They often show helmets that are too big, too small for the bearer or that simply do not respect the official description.
Anyway, I learnt a lot tonight and that's thanks to you ! :)
kind regards