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Fieldcaps (Feldmütze)

M1943 field cap (Einheitsfeldmütze)

The M1943 Field Cap was called the Einheitsmütze or Einheitsfeldmütze by the Wehrmacht and SS, and the Einheitsfliegermütze by the Luftwaffe. The M43 field cap was introduced for wear by all ranks on June 11TH 1943 as a replacement cap for the other field caps then in use. The design of the M43 field cap was based on the earlier M42 Feldmütze, (Overseas Cap), and the Mountain Trooper’s Bergmütze, (Mountain Cap), with minor variations. The standard issue M43 field caps were constructed of field-grey material while a black version was introduced at the same time for Panzer, (Armored), personnel. Officer’s ranks were distinguished by piping on the crown of the cap with silver piping for the ranks of Leutnant to Oberst and gilt piping for General Officer’s ranks of Generalmajor to Generalfeldmarschall while EM/NCO’s caps were not piped. Further regulations also dictated that the buttons on the cap were also to be an indicator of rank with field-grey buttons for EM/NCO’s, silver for Field and Company grade officers and gilt for General’s ranks but this was not strictly adhered to. The German army originally adopted a slightly modified version of the NSDAP’s, National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei, (National Socialist German Worker’s Party), national eagle by order on February 17TH 1934, with instructions to have it applied to all steel helmets, visor caps, and tunics by May 1ST 1934. Regulations followed on October 30TH 1935 that stipulated the national eagle was also to be applied to all field caps. On March 14TH 1933 the Weimar Reichswehr, (National Defence Force, Circa 1919-1933), era oval black, red and gold cockade was replaced with a circular cockade in black, white, and red and was utilized through-out the Third Reich period. Of Note: The M43 field cap was probably the most popular of all the field caps produced by the Germans during the Third Reich period. Of Note: Officers and certain senior NCO ranks were responsible for purchasing their own headgear items and as a result were allotted a clothing allowance through the army’s Kleiderkasse, (Clothing Account), system. The clothing allowances for Officer’s consisted of a singular pay out of roughly, 450.00 Reichsmarks, ($180.00USD), followed by a maintenance allowance of roughly 30.00RM, ($12.00USD), per month. The Officers and certain senior NCO’s could choose to purchase their headgear from the armed forces clothing depots or to privately purchase headgear of higher quality. Although enlisted personnel were issued their caps from government supplies they were also permitted to purchase privately tailored caps although the price may have been restrictive.

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Heer EM einheitsfeldmütze with triangular insignia side view

Insignia varied on the SS version. Some officers and other ranks wore the same badges as on the sidecap, the skull being placed on the front of the crown, and the eagle being sewn to the turn-up on the left side of the cap. Others wore the two separate badges one above the other on the front of the crown–a combined badge with both eagle and skull on a single patch was also observed. Both Wehrmacht and SS versions were in field grey cloth.

 

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SS einheitsfeltmütze Luftwaffe einheitsfliegermütze

The Luftwaffe version was identical in cut to the Army version, but in blue-grey. The Luftwaffe eagle and cockade were sewn to the front of the crown. Officers' caps were piped in silver braid round the crown.

A black version was available for tank crews.

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Heer Panzer einheitsfeltmütze with T-shape insignia

Tropical versions of the M1943 were produced in both tan and olive green cloth, with light blue eagle on the same colored cloth. In late 1940, with the impending German entrance into the North African campaign, tropical uniforms headgear and equipment were quickly developed and issued in time for DAK, Deutsches Afrika Korps, (German Africa Corps), personnel’s arrival in Tripoli in February 1941. The M41 tropical field cap was introduced in early 1941 and design of the cap was loosely based on the Mountain Troopers, Bergmütze with minor variations. Officer ranks caps were distinguished from EM/NCO’s with silver piping for the ranks of Leutnant to Oberst and gilt piping for the ranks of Generalmajor to Generalfeldmarschall while EM/NCO’s ranks caps were not piped. The different branches of service within the army were allocated a particular identifying waffenfarbe, (Branch of Service Color), and originally the M41 tropical field caps had a branch of service soutache applied to the front consisting of an inverted "V" encompassing the national tri-color cockade but regulations of July 10TH 1942 abolished the use of the soutache and instructed it to be removed from the caps, although the directive was not strictly adhered to.

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Heer M41 DAK olive-green cloth with white soutache Heer DAK tan cloth without soutache

There was no navy blue version for the Kriegsmarine. However, the tropical version of the cap was worn by U-boat crews operating in southern and Far Eastern climates. As well, the Wehrmacht version of the cap was issued to shore-based naval units, and to the Marine Infantry Divisions.

 

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Kriegsmarine DAK Luftwaffel fieldcap (these came from Heer stocks)
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SS tropical fieldcap SS camo fieldcap (fieldmade)

LUFTWAFFE FUR & LEATHER WINTER CAP. (Pelz und Leder Mütze) 

LW_winter_fleececapJPG.jpg (49069 bytes) The severe cold encountered on the Russian front in the winter of 1941/42 found the Germans completely unprepared not only in heat retaining cold weather garments but also snow camouflage garments. This resulted in numerous, hastily improvised and makeshift heat retaining and snow camouflage items being utilized including everything from civilian winter clothing to white bed sheets. After the winter of 1941/42 the Oberkommando des Wehrmacht, (High Command of the Armed Forces), recognized the need for heavier winter clothing and testing began in the spring of 1942 to develop suitable garments. In April 1942 Hitler approved the chosen design, and the first models were issued in the autumn of that year, included assorted winter fur caps. The fur caps were a standard issue item and were distributed to all EM/NCO’s for the winter season, (September 15TH to April 15TH), with other winter garments and were to be returned to the unit’s storage depot at the end of the season for storage, repair and cleaning to be reissued the following September. Originally Officers and senior NCO’s responsible for purchasing their own uniforms and headgear were required to purchase the new winter garments until regulations of December 1942 extended the issue winter clothing to all ranks in the colder theatres of operation. Although there was no official standard model of the fur cap the most commonly encountered type followed the basic pattern of the Mountain and M43 caps with fold down back and side panels designed to protect the wearer’s ears and neck.

 

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