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Can Someone Identify the World War I German Uniform In This Family Picture?

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My mother recently gave me a copy of my grandfather's confirmation picture. But, I want to know the German uniform and unit of my great grandfather in the picture. Can someone please identify this for me. He is, of course, seated on the right. My grandfather is in the center and his mother is to his left. I am also interested in the medal pinned to his uniform. The picture is as an attachment. Feel free to email me at tpantherburn@gmail.com

Any help and insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Hi Fountainhead568,

The first ribbon with black and white stripes is for the EKII (Iron Cross 2nd Class).  The other ribbon I am not sure.

The large button and the lace border along the bottom edge of his collar indicates he is a NCO (Vizefeldwebel or above).

Unfortunately, your great grandfather is not providing a good line of sight to his shoulder strap which would help immensely.  In addition, he is wearing the M1915 tunic which did away with the elaborate cuff styles (Brandenburg, Swedish, Saxon).  This was done to simplify uniform production and conserve resources during the war.  Unfortunately, it also makes unit identification that much more difficult.

The M1915 design was introduced on September 21, 1915.  So if you're trying to determine the date of the photo it could not have been before this date.

Do you know what Kingdom/Duchy/State of the German Empire your family was from?  If not, a close up of his belt buckle may at least help you determine that.

Not all hope is lost.  I was in the same situation trying to identify a German family member's unit with an almost identical angle of view to his shoulder strap.  I succeeded by scanning at high resolution and was able to make out the unit cypher on his shoulder strap.  (I also had to play around with the curve levels/brightness/contrast to make the cypher stand out)

You'll have to scan the photo at 600dpi (possibly 1200dpi) so we can get a good view of that shoulder strap and belt buckle.  The forum limits photo attachments to 1000KB.  If you're comfortable with photo software and cropping images you could post close up images of just the shoulder strap and belt buckle.  If not, you can transfer the image to me by e-mail or Dropbox as 600+dpi images can get quite large.

I will send you a PM shortly with my contact information.

Best Regards,


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I would just add that he could also be a sergeant, as this is the first rank with the collar configuration.


Thanks, Oberjäger.  You are absolutely correct.  Sergeant was the first rank with both button and lace on the collar.

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