Main | About Us | Membership | Articles | Events | Photos | Links | Books | Contact Us
 

Feldpost - The Vital Link with Home
By Cyrus A. Lee, Transcribed by Jonathan Bocek


Below you will find a brief description of the German postage system.  Thanks to Cyrus Lee for giving us permission to use excerpts of his Soldat book series here on this site.  If you would like to purchase one of these books, please visit his website at: http://www.soldat.com/ 

Mail from home was of paramount importance in maintaining good moral among German foot soldiers.  The Army Field Postmaster provided special stamps for sending airmail and packages to the soldier at the front.  These stamps were issued to the soldier at company level by his First Sergeant or Platoon Sergeant.

For the foot soldier fighting at the front in continental Europe there were four basic kinds of field postage stamps issued during the course of the war, two of these initiated in 1944.

The Feldpost Airmail Stamp was first issued on 20 April 1940.  This stamp shows a flying Junkers Ju-52 transport aircraft bordered on the top by LUFTFELDPOST and on the bottom by DEUTSCHES REICH printed in cornflower blue on white.  The airmail stamp was used by soldiers in distant areas such as Russia, the Balkans, or Scandinavia.  The soldier at the front was issued four of these stamps per month.  The soldier would send two letters home with airmail post and by including a stamp inside these letters, he could receive two replies from home via airmail.  Each letter required one stamp until May 1943, when two per letter required.  At this point the issue to the soldier was increased to eight stamps per month.

 

The Feldpost Package Stamp was first issued on 10 July 1942.  The package stamp was red-brown with a typical national eagle circled with ZULASSUNGMARKE and DEUTSCHE FELDPOST.  The corners were marked with German style postal horns.  The soldier was issued one stamp per month until 1 September 1942, when the issue increased to two stamps.  This issue remained the same until the fall of 1944.  With this stamp, a package of up to 250 grams could be sent free to the soldier.  Packages weighing 250-1000 grams required the addition of a twenty Pfennig stamp.  On 1 September 1942, the weight allowance was increased to 2000 grams, and the package required two Feldpost Package Stamps and a forty Pfennig stamp.  In the fall of 1944 the package weight limit was reduced to 100 grams because of transport problems.
 
The Christmas Feldpost Package Stamp was first issued on 20 October 1944.  This stamp was for Christmas packages of up to 1000 grams sent from home to the front.  This Christmas stamp was identical to the First Feldpost Package Stamp except for its light green color and smaller size.  Soldiers in the Kurland Pocket cut this stamp in half and used it for a Feldpost Airmail Stamp.

 
The final stamp issued was the Two Kilogram Package stamp.  Issued on 24 November 1944, this stamp was a purple-red forty Pfennig stamp with the profile of Adolf Hitler.  The word FELDPOST was printed across the top and 2 Kg printed across the bottom of the stamp in black ink.  This stamp was to be used for sending two kilograms of winter clothing to the soldier at the front.

Regular letter size mail to and from the front was sent without postage but marked "Feldpost."  Any mail weighing more than 35 grams required extra paid postage.  Special Feldpost stationary was available to ensure that the weight limit was not exceeded.

The German foot soldier of 1944 and 1945 did not receive mail on any regular basis.  The extremely fluid situation of the combat frontlines required that letters be repeatedly rerouted.  Mail often arrived in bunches spanning weeks or months of time.  Typical of all mail to soldiers in time of war, there were often letters that broke the heart and spirit with news of broken relationships and tragic death or injury.

Mail from home and a loved one was savored not only by the receiver, but also by all of his closest comrades.  The smallest detail of "home" in each letter was cherished by all, each one imagining what might be taking place in his own home.  The written joys and the sadness were shared by all in the squad.

The Feldpost Airmail Stamps allowed a soldier to get some of his mail in short order.  The Feldpost Package Stamps provided the foot soldier with a way to get special things from home such as photos, small edibles, and homemade knitted items.  The German civil and military postal systems strove to meet this vital need of the German Army foot soldier.

 

Sources:
- Lee, Cyrus A.  Soldat, Vol. 3. 1991; rpt. Missoula , Montana , 1998.
 

BACK TO ITEMS

 

Copyright 2005 der Erste Zug All rights reserved

Web Design by Jon Bocek