Luftwaffe General Ludwig Keiper Uniform and Breeches-This fantastic find has been fully researched and with one look at the pictures, I am sure your first reaction is “Wow! That is a LOT of awards!” Yes, that was our reaction, as well. Fortunately, a previous owner did lots of research and was able to find a photograph of Keiper wearing all his badges so we have been able to identify the medals and where they were placed. Needless to say, this General was in the service for a long time, and had a distinguished career. His name was Ludwig Keiper and he was born in 1894 in Homburg, living a long life before he passed at age 87 in 1981 (Munich). He entered the service (Army) in March of 1913 and stayed in the service until almost the end of WWII. Between wars, he was a Company Leader in many Infantry Regiments, as well as a Rifle Regiment. In late 1933, he was transferred to Luftwaffe service as the leader of the Reserve Flying Course in Schleißheim, where he served until September of 1934. Between October of 1934 and May of 1936 he was a Tactics Instructor in Dresden (first) then Gatow. After that, he was a Squadron Captain for a few months before becoming the Commander of Reconnaissance Group 1 and Air Base Commandant at Insterburg, a position he held until September of 1937. Between October of 1937 and 1938, he was an Adjutant and Group Leader in Königsberg before a promotion to Commodore of Reconnaissance Wing 11 of Großenheim, a position he held until August of 1939. He was the Commander of Luftwaffe with the 4th Army from then until July of 1940, then became the Chief of Luftwaffe Control Commission I until January 1941. It gets interesting now! He was given the title Chief of the German Luftwaffe Mission in Slovakia, Pressburg, a title he held until October of 1944. After this, he was placed on reserve before retiring as a Generallleutnant on February 28, 1945, an amazing 32 years of service. He was taken as a POW at the end of April 1945 and stayed interned until March of 1947. WOW! He had quite the career.
Some of the medals he was awarded include the WWII Slovak War Victory Cross (a neck award) and the Slovak star (a pocket-mounted award). Also prominent is a screwback Turkish War Medal (a.k.a. “Iron Half Moon”). Also awarded was the WWI Turkish Pilot Badge and Slovak Flying Badge. His impressive list of awards also include the Hessian Bravery Medal, Saxon Albert Order-Knight 2nd Class with Swords, WWI Honor Cross for Frontfighters, Luftwaffe 25-Year Service Cross, Luftwaffe 12-Year Service Medal, Austro-Hungarian Military Merit Cross 3rd Class with War Decoration, Turkish Medjidie Order 4th Class with Sabers, Turkish Imtiaz Medal in Silver with Sabers, Turkish Liakat Medal in Silver with Sabers and Turkish War Medal. Of course, the WWI and WWII EK I and II were awarded (the included spange and WWI EKI are original to the tunic) and he earned the German Rider’s Badge. Most likely awarded but not shown in the picture (only on the ribbon bar) are the WWI Commemorative Medals as well as the three 1938 Annexation Medals.
Is your computer smoking yet?!? Finally, let’s get to the goods at hand! The tunic is in absolutely fabulous condition, with just slight wear and discoloration from use. It was tailored in Paris in a way only the French could! That alone makes this a unique offering. It is produced in a darker shade of Luftwaffe blue/grey that is very handsome. There are four pleated pockets with scalloped flaps. There is a four-button closure and all buttons are gilt finished, pebbled metal. There is a lay-flat collar and French cuffs (of course!). There are buttons for an aiguillette. The front and lower edges of the collar are piped in nicely toned, gold twist bullion. The collar tabs are incredible! Each is hand embroidered in golden bullion, with a pair of gulls and a wreath. They are piped in gold bullion twist rope and produced in white wool. They have been hand applied to the tunic. The sew-in shoulder boards have a braid of gold bullion with silver, these have toned to a gorgeous hue, as well. The underside is lined in white badge cloth, and there is a single gilt metal pip on each. Behold the breast eagle! It is embroidered in gold bullion with a slightly lighter gold bullion used for the swastika, lending a wonderful look. It has been neatly hand applied to the breast. We don’t need to talk about the loops! Based on the breakdown of medals I have listed (and a full list is supplied), suffice to say they are plentiful. The interior is fully lined in soft, dark blue rayon that is very clean. There is a dagger slot with strap. A large pocket is seen on the left side with a large tailor tag, indicating the firm was known as Petitdemange of Paris. The tunic is a size 38. Onto the breeches, which are produced in ribbed dark blue cloth that is excellent. They have the two large, white stripes down each leg (minor discoloration). The lower legs are finished in blue rayon. There are slash hip pockets and a five-button fly (additional button at waist closure). All buttons are Bakelite. There are two rear pockets as well. These have loops for a belt. The fly has an additional closure, like a cummerbund, which has three buttons. Stitched onto this strap is the tailor tag, which repeats the name of the same firm in Paris. Also listed is the name of the General and the date, 1940. The breeches are a size 32. I have had many General’s tunics over the years, but I would be hard-pressed to think of one with as many decorations. The condition is icing on the cake! A truly spectacular offering!
- Item #: U-072