The group prides itself on being able to offer alternative impressions when an event requires such. Whilst our living history display is always themed to portray the Volkssturm, when participating in combat dispalys members change their armbands to those of the French or Dutch Resistence, Ukrainian Partizans or Polish Home Army. Equally, as few combat displays are appropriate for a portrayals, some members take the field as ordinary German infantry in the guise of the late war Potsdam Kampfgruppe.
The only common item of clothing for the Volkssturm-V3 is the ubiquitous armband that identified all Volkssturm. There were many variants, many members choose to wear one with the simple words "DEUTSCHER VOLKSSTURM WEHRMACHT" in black lettering on a yellow background. Others wear the often depicted red and black "official" armband, or simple white armbands. Female members have their own versions, ranging from those worn by Flakwaffenhelferin to those of the Bund Deutscher Madel.
As for weapons, again, provided the weapon is from the period 1880-1945, then it is acceptable. Thus a double barrelled shotgun or an early single shot 1890's bolt-action breech-loader is acceptable through to a K98, MP40 or MP44.
If, on the other hand, members are happy to spend some money, at events they can (provided they have completed the appropriate registration and ID checks), hire a Section 5 weapon, be it a MP40 or similar. Obviously, appropriate blank firing weapons are acceptable.
As for equipment, as long as members have a belt and a container to carry whatever ammunition they require for their chosen weapon, then that is appropriate. Thus, anything from a handbag to a set of military webbing; again, it is the member's choice.
If a member is over 45 it is appropriate that they are a veteran of the First World War. Numerous contemporary photographs of the Volkssturm show many wore awards from that conflict. Thus a black and silver ribbon of the Iron Cross second class and/or wound badge of the First World War is appropriate. If members are portraying a young person, male or female (we do NOT allow Hitler Youth impressions), probably as a Flak gunner (abbreviated to "Flakheifer"), then many had the War Merit Cross second class and Luftwaffe Anti-Aircraft Battle Badge (Flak Kampfabzeichen). What is NOT correct or allowed is a chest full of Second World War awards; very few Volkssturm had such (those that did were soldiers who were so physically disabled they were no longer fit for even being a cook in the military). Thus, unless members can display a genuine and permanent injury, Second World War combat badges or Iron Crosses are not permitted.
If a female, the most appropriate impression is a Luftwaffe Flakwaffenhelferin, who form elements of flak gun crews in the closing months of the war and, alongside their male colleagues, were found in the ranks of the Volkssturm.
Alternately, there were women serving as auxiliaries in both the Heer and Kriegsmarine if one prefers those branches of the service, they too were known to take up a firearm or panzerfaust in the last months of conflict.
If members choose to wear military uniform 1939-45, it is necessary to remember that such clothing was normally issued to the Volkssturm with the insignia removed, including Litzen collar patches, national emblem and shoulder straps they were a militia, not regular Army). Essentially members indulge themselves as long as it's correctly made and would have been worn January-May 1945 in Germany, be it civilian or military.
In respect of clothing and equipment, members make their own choices. Volkssturm formations were a rag-bag of civilian and military clothing and weapons. Due to the dreadful supply situation prevailing at the time, it could literally be said almost anything was used, units woearing whatever they already had, were issued or could lay their hands on. Members can be 100% accurate wearing any civilian clothing from 1945, any item(s) of German military equipment, be it Army, Kriegsmarine or Luftwaffer. Members can wear the uniform or individual items of such, of civilian agencies, such as police, customs officers, fire-service, etc. Many were issued, or being veterans, possessed it already, uniform items from both the First World War and Reichswehr periods appeared, alongside those from the span of 1939-1945.
The Volkssturm is intended to be the alternative to groups seeking to portray frontline units. Firstly, from their creation in October through to the bitter end in April 1945, they literally enrolled anyone, ranging from young boys of 16 (albeit many younger 14-15 year olds joined the ranks), through to men of up to 60 years (albeit there are instances of men as old as 90
were recorded as taking their place in the ranks!), and there were various instances of women joining the ranks, often those who had been serving as female auxiliaries with the armed forces.
Intended to be a force for a heroic, last-ditch defence of Germany, the reality was a mixture of desperate and often reluctant units, clothed and armed with just about anything left in the depots, alongside individuals own wardrobes. Even an old-line Nazi supporter, General Joachim von Kortfleisch had his doubts, telling Field Marshal Walther Model that "supplying them with weapons is an indirect delivery of weapons to the USA".
Demonstrating the black humour of the ordinary German in 1945 there were various jokes that characterise the Volkssturm. One was that the latest Nazi miracle weapon was a supersensitive listening device fitted in all German cemeteries. If it detected any slight breathing, the corpse would be exhumed and enrolled in the local Volkssturm!
Another common quip was that all now knew that the V-2 and V-3 were: the V-2s were the sixteen-year-old Volkssturmers, and the V-3s were the sixty-year-olds. It is this contemporary joke that we take our title "Volkssturm-V3".
The Volkssturm-V3 was established during May 2011 by a group of experienced re-enactors, each with a span of 10-40 years in the hobby. The primary objective for this portrayal is to enjoy oneself re-enacting whilst providing a serious historic reconstruction. For many re-enactors, especially those who have been in this hobby for many years, attempting to convincingly re-enact a young soldier is becoming a major challenge. Grey and thinning hair, widening girth, loss of breath and less than firm knees, makes clothing oneself as a frontline combat soldier almost ridiculous. Equally, there was a desire to develop individualised impressions rather than the regimented appearance required by many groups. We decided to portray a battalion raised in Potsdam, Brandenburg, as they were amongst the first to be raised, yet fought to the bitter end. Various battalions from Potsdam fought respectively in the West against the Americans and the East against the Soviets.