The Zeltbahn was a very flexible use device. Each soldier was issued one Zelt pannel, 1 zelt rope, two zelt stakes, and one section of the pole. The Zelt could be worn as a poncho, made into a stretcher, used as a flotation device, and many other things. One soldier's Zelt could be combined with one or more other soldiers to create tents and other shelters.
Common configurations were 4, 8, 12, and 16 panels. However, sometimes massive numbers of zelts were combined into huge zelt palaces. It is questionable how practical these would have been in the field and they may have been built more for the spectacle of making a circus tent out of small triangles. No matter what the purpose these were impressive feats of engineering. When pieced together horizontally 32 or more zelts could have been pieced together into a very practical and still impressive tent for the field.