Enlisted Men's Headdress

The Dress Cap (Schirmmütze)

The Schirmmütze was worn by all ranks as part of the dress uniform; it was worn both on and off duty when in garrison, and for walking out.  While some officers even wore the Schirmmütze in the field, Enlisted Men did not.

The cap consisted of a crown in field grey cloth, with a cap band in dark green and a leather visor.  The visor had a rolled edge.  The cap was piped in waffenfarbe around the crown, as well as at the top and bottom of the field grey cap band. 

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Insignia for the Schirmmütze

Insignia for the Schirmmütze consisted of an eagle device, a Reich cockade surrounded by a wreath of oakleaves, and a black leather chin strap secured by black buttons.  

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The cockade was a three dimensional insignia, representing the state colours of red, white and black.  The red centre was displayed through a cutout in the white metal body of the cockade, and was either cloth or pressed paper.   Cockades worn on caps by German soldiers during the First World War had come in many different colours, showing the colours of the State that the wearer belonged to (ie Bavaria, Saxony, Prussia, etc.)

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Field Caps

The German Army had a wide array of field caps, and like most items of dress, older patterns were usually worn alongside newer patterns up until the end of the war. 

Feldmütze

This cap, often referred to as either an "M34" or "M38" by collectors, was introduced in 1934, and by 1939 had undergone minor variations.  The hat was boat shaped, with flaps on the sides that could be turned down - though they were not full fold downs like the Bergmütze or Einheitsfeldmütze and offered only limited protection to the wearer.

This type of cap was quite boxy in appearance, and despite regulations forbidding it, individual soldiers often sewed the material in the crown closed, giving the cap a more tapered appearance.

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Bergmütze

This cap was introduced in the ealry 1930s, and was based on caps worn by Austrian Mountain Troops in World War One.  Intended for wear by Gebirgsjäger (Mountain Troops), Jäger (Light Infantry) and Ski troops, it later inspired both the tropical field cap and the general issue "M43" cap.  A fold down side panel could provide protection for the neck and ears when in the field; it was normally worn buttoned in place over the peak.

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Schutzmütze ("Panzer Beret")

The tankers beret was not popular with vehicle crews, one reason being the inability to wear it with the required headsets.  The beret was discontinued in January 1941 to be replaced officially with the black Feldmütze.  A field grey version was also issued to the crews of Assault Guns, to wear in conjunction with the field grey AFV uniform..

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Feldmütze ("Panzer")

Based on the 1934 pattern Enlisted Men's Cap, the black version for vehicle crews was not introduced until March 1940. 

The example at right has a lemon yellow soutache, and a cockade on dark green rather than black.

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Tropeneinheitsfeldmütze

The Tropeneinheitsfeldmütze was introduced in 1941 for troops serving in North Africa.  It was similar to the Bergmütze, being made in tan cotton, but with a longer visor to provide more protection from the sun.  The cap was lined in red cotton. As part of the tropical uniform is also saw widespread issue in Italy in the summer months.

At right, an Afrikakorps NCO wears the tropical field cap; note the length of the visor.

US Army Signal Corps photo 1206030

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Feldmütze ("M42")

The design of the Feldmütze was changed in July 1942 (and consequently called an M42 by collectors), to incorporate a full fold down side panel, buttoned at the front, which could cover the neck and ears.  The pattern was similar to the Bergmütze, but lacking the visor.  It was also produced in black for armoured troops.

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At left, the 1942 version of the Feldmütze, at right the earlier version.

Einheitsfeldmütze ("M43")

Based on the Bergmütze, the Einheitsfeldmütze had a slightly shorter peak, and was introduced in June 1943 to replace all other field caps then in use.   It was also made in black for armoured troops.

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Albert Kerscher, holder of the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves, wearing the black "M43" cap.

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As discussed on the page for Officers' headdress, it was common to
wear military caps tilted (usually to the wearer's right): in this case,
actually touching his ear.

INSIGNIA for Field Caps  

The standard insignia for Enlisted Men's field caps consisted of two badges; the national insignia consisting of an eagle clutching a wreathed swastika (identical to the design used for the breast eagle) and the Reich cockade.

The insignia came in various colours; in white on dark green, later changed to grey on dark green, and eventually in white on black for armoured troops, and in blue on tan for tropical wear.

On the Feldmütze and the tropical cap, a waffenfarbe soutache, in the shape of an inverted "V" was also worn, surrounding the cockade.  This soutache was made from "Russia braid" and after the outbreak of war was often omitted from the cap altogether.

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White on dark green national insignia.

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Grey on dark green national insignia.

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White on black version for black AFV caps.

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Tropical version of the national insignia.
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On the Schutzmütze, a cloth version of the wreath and cockade was worn instead of just a cockade.  This badge was worn alone on the beret until May 1936, when the eagle emblem was also ordered to be worn.

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The T-shaped insignia was first used in about 1936.  Early models had white eagles; this was later changed to grey.  This insignia is most commonly seen on the Bergmütze and 1942 Feldmütze.

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One piece cap insignia (known as "trapezoids" to collectors today) were also developed during the war, with grey eagles on either a field grey or black background.

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SAMPLES

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BEVO wreath and cockade for the panzer beret
 

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Embroidered tropical eagle

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Standard cockade on dark green
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Tropical cockade
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Trapezoid insignia in field grey and black

 


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