|Posted by Ivarr Bergmann on December 12, 2019 at 9:20 AM|
DEU Fernspäher Smock (Survival Smock)
I know last winter I tried to ditch the smock concept all together– This however, was a mistake. Though I tried, and there’s nothing wrong with stepping out of what you think- you think- you know to try different approaches and to gain new perspectives, it sometimes does not work. Regardless you and me will learn when we do this. We learn in- the now- while we have the convenience and luxury to make mistakes. With that being said Alaska showed me, in no uncertain terms, that ditching the smock was a mistake that made things worse as a whole. In a terrain and environment like Alaska I get little say in what I need to take with me to get by out in the wilds.- The smock concept is and will obviously remain a staple to my survival-ability in the wilds. This seem to be non-negotiable. Example- You cannot bring a 22 to a Bear fight- The laws of nature and the math will not fit the situation, just as there is a math and a solution to all survival issues and topics the Smock is not exempt. E&E In Alaska demands a certain compliment of kit and readiness to deal with the hammer dropping and living to tell about it.
The Evader needs a smock for the appropriate amount of every day pocket and last ditch survival kit, and its proper stowage as to not cause burden or liability it its usage.. The smock also offers outstanding on the go utility and weather protection. A well rounded Evader should have no issue getting on with simple pocket kit that is found in the Survival smock. From life sustaining items to First-Aid and land navigation kit- The smock provides an invaluable base for all of the above.
While I wanted to go back to the smock concept- I didnt want to return to using the same old homemade Survival Smock made from British S95 DPM Smocks. Don’t get me wrong they are outstanding once converted with the addition of more pockets and other options. However they are super thick around the shoulders, arms and chest, and options for proper heat management work completely against the Evader. The lack of underarms zippers and the fact that the upper shoulder area can be as thick as 4 layers of fabric in some places that serve to trap loads of heat and perspiration in even the coldest weather. I mean after all the S95 Smock is meant to be a jacket and not a true survival smock. Converting it works but If Im going to stay with the Survival Smock I wanted more. I wanted an actual purpose build Survival Smock.
This smock is a service specific Smock from the Bundeswehr. It was issued to the German “Fernspäher”. This basically translates into “Remote Scout” or what most may know as simply Scouts or LRRP personnel. This smock is printed in the new and improved “Flecktarn” (Stain Camo) pattern made after 2005. The new version is easy to identify by its color scheme and the fact that its printed on a bright olive green base. Its important to differentiate the new version of Flecky from the Old. The old was very hard in color and pattern and often simply morphed into a solid dark shape at distance. The new version has a very flowing and has a muted coloration to it that offers, IMO, superior CAMCON that compliments this very functional smock in all aspects. The older version of Flecky was one reason I could never adhere to its use no matter how I approached it. Washing it didnt even seem to work much. As much as I tried it was just simply too dark for my CAMCON needs. This new version, however is a new beast I could well get use to using mixed into my over all CAMCON.
This being a smock made for and only issued to specialist personnel means nothing to the Evader. It wont give anyone special powers because its been used by some German Scout. Its just a piece of clothing. Many people are often attracted to buying things with names like SAS, Rangers, SEALS, Special Forces attached to the advertising. These catch words are a fantasy driven farce , I assure you. You get out of kit exactly what you put into it.
. This smock also has zippers that go from under the arm pit to the eldows that zip in eaither direction with two zipper heads. This is an absolute outstanding feature for trapping and venting warm air. The Scout Smock is also made of Rip-Stop materials that is very very well made. I don’t think this is intended as a hot weather smock. The term Rip-Stop makes most ppl think “hot weather’ but its not the case here. Its simply made in a 50/50 heavy duty type material that is robust and durable and it happens to be Rip-Stop in design. The shoulder area is single layer allowing no real build up of rising body heat while on the move. The hood is wired in the brim area and layered with a thin slate grey nylon layer interior that works great with the outer layer of camo fabric to keep the biting wind out. The inside chest/mid section area is a bit German in design and well over engineered. This doesn’t detract much from the functional nature of this smock but can appear that one has drank one too many beers or Vodka shots, earning them a drinkers belly appearance. The chest area alone has 6 pockets in all. This area is pretty thick. It boasts two interior pockets on each side that are zipper closing…2 exterior breast dump pockets with vertical zippers on each side and the two outside button closure breast pockets. The outside pockets also sport rings for attaching dummy cords, equally the others too have dummy cord rings as well.
I would venture to say this smock is not intended for summer use or badly designed with knit cuffs at the wrist that are very warm and heat trapping. Though I think it has the appropriate potential for summer use here, the cuffs are a real killer for that but could be fixed by being laid to the sheers and a run under the sewing machine- However Im not there yet. I still have more to learn about this smock before I cut on it. Ive found the cuffs very nice in the cold Alaska weather.
The size is as pictured above. Its not very over-sized. It fits me quite well, though it a little big. I like how it fits and so far seems to accomidate layering. Unlike the counterpart Mil-Tec smock this is not super oversized where Mil-Tec makes a large every bit of a large sized extra large. The fit is comfortable and its quite easy to vent heat or trap it.. The DEU on the label indicates it German Military issue and not a commercial item. The other numbers indicate what type of smock it is and who its issued to . It came with a zipper that was absolute SHIT. I suspect it wasn’t the original. I replaced it with a zipper from a British smock. Those are robust and nearly indestructible.. I also sewed the new zipper on higher then the original for a better fit in general. I aligned it just a few inches below the center Canadian Button on the outer storm flap. Also all season fit is always a very important consideration for me here. In the winter the layers in the midsection can get quite thick where insulation, Smock, trousers, base layers and wet weather clothing meet. Add in snow camo with a Survival Battle Rig and thats yet another set of layers that meets at the midsection – It add up fast and should always be a consideration when adding anything to winter layers.
The lower cargo area of this smock is very functional and capable. Save the mouth of the two side pockets that are very dysfunctional in design. Everything in Alaska gets into the pocket and everything in the pocket tries to escape. I need to fix this flaw. A simple run under the sewing machine to either add elastic or a draw string will suffice, I just have not gotten around to it. Why the side pockets were not designed with the same connected closed flap system as the other pockets of equal size on the smock is a mystery to me. However the Germans are very specific when they design things so I suspect the design of the pocket mouth has a purpose, just not to me as an Evader. Its a liability that i need to fix. The rear pocket is a very sufficient size. It holds what I need and has plenty if room for scavenging for a quick load up if needed. Its closed by three large “Canadian Buttons” just like the rest of the button closures on the rest of the smock and also folds over like the other connected fold over closure flap lid system to keep kit in and Alaska out. It also has a ” Poachers Pouch” inside pocket on the inside rear. I don’t like this pocket at all but its helps keep my ass warm and dry when sitting so Ill tolerate it. With the outside cargo pocket and the inside poacher pouch, this constitutes 3 full layers of fabric making it quite thick with all the pro and cons that go with that.
Being a smock that is an actual intended for Scouts the designer added tabs for adding foliage or camouflage cloth strips. These are located randomly staggered on the back of the smock, two on the front and the hip draw cord and two on so each arm. They are simply tabs of brown webbing appropriate arranged and double stitched to the smock.
Along with this used surplus smock Ive also acquired a smock by Leo Köhler. Its the KSK version that differs in a few way. Basically the same smock just different fabric and other differing features, including loads of places for Velcro patches. The FnS smock has nearly no place for patches, and that makes sense to me.. I’ll go over this one another time. I don’t intend on using the LK KSK Smock but rather saving it. I bought it new from Germany and the Scout smock well used but in great condition at a shop in the USA. I bought 2 smocks in complete expectations one would get lost in the mail service. But after all two in one to me..
Ive worn this smock about a dozen time. Ive found few flaws to speak of. Fit, CAMCON, utility, functionality and durability all exceed what Id expect from a Government issued smock. It just seems like things are not very well made in our modern times and many items in the Germany army has suffered from his too- They are not exempt from this sad fact despite the legendary awesomeness of German kit. Its good and sucks, just like any other group of kit from any other country. Two things I found that could be better are the fit in the arms. The arms are very narrow and will probably effect layering once real winter arrives and the other is the wrist cuffs that will cause overheating come the green season. Over all though I’m beyond impressed with this smock and cannot think of anything ive acquired over the past years that Ive been this pleased with right from the start. I was very lucky to find this smock here in the US, it being an actual DEU (Germany Army Issue) and not a commercial item being sold as an actual issue item..
Ive also acquired a new Pulk sled for the winter. The old one was damaged in storage and un-salvageable. It was a great loss after over a decade of serving me each winter, We started off with a great snow accumulation last month, I even bought some new Snow Camoflauge, but sadly climate change has made the white season here erratic and its since melted nearly all of it away, just in time for me to complete the mods needed for a new sled rendering it all for naught. Im still sorting plans to rework my escape route as mentioned in the Blog post before this one. I’m going to be making these plans on paper through the winter and focusing on skills and like by catching up to some much needed SOP sharpening over this winter.
Ausrüstung, Überleben,Tarnung. Wildniss, Fernspäher, Bundeswehr Einsatzjacke Spezialkräfte Einzelkämpfer