Original "DAK" Mesh Undershirts
These are original war time/pre-war German cotton mesh undershirts that were supposedly intended to be issued to the Afrika Korps but were never delivered. These are great shirts for summer events. I have worn sets in the past and found them to be very cool and surprisingly comfortable once you get used to the whole mesh thing. It feels a lot less silly when you realize it actually works. These shirts have a rounded neck, not a v-neck.
These were discovered in a supply depot in the Brenner Pass area of Austria in the 1970's which was the main supply route from Germany into Italy. I can not say for sure that they really are DAK (although most collectors have accepted that), but I can confirm they are original to the time period and are German. It is important to note that there were multiple variations from various manufacturers across Germany in the lot and there are few organizations outside of the military that would have ordered and collected these in one place, so in my opinion, the story is likely close to the truth.
They are sized using the standard German sizing system of the time period with small number tags 1,2,3,4,5... roughly equivalent to our XS,S,M,L,XL... They would sometimes use Roman numerals and sometimes normal numbers, these all have normal numbers. There really isn't much difference between sizes 2, 3, and 4 - but size 5 is very noticeably larger. Sizes listed below are APPROXIMATE and some shirts may vary slightly from the listed measurements:
- SIZE 2: Chest: 29"-38" Waist: 29"-37" Length: 21"
- SIZE 3: Chest: 29"-38" Waist: 28"-37" Length: 22.5"
- SIZE 4: Chest: 30"-39" Waist: 29.5"-37" Length: varies 21.5"-24"
- SIZE 5: Chest: 37"-44" Waist: 34"-42" Length: 24"
The shirts are a little yellowed and dirty from age and storage (see photos) but they do clean up well. We placed one of the shirts we cleaned next to the unwashed ones and you can really see the color difference. You will receive an unwashed one.
They are machine washable! I recommend hang drying them but I have put my set through the washer and dryer many times now with no real problems. They do shrink a bit but seem to stretch right back out. Again, I would not recommend putting them in the dryer, just to be on the safe side. They are supposed to fit snugly which does make the mesh seem even weirder than it is already but that's just how it is. It is always fun to give original items a second chance to fulfill their purpose and it really adds to the experience.