Condition: Fantastically Used, Worn, and Sun Bleached!!
Branch: Heer – Afrika Korps
Product Description: One of the rarest and hardest to find caps on the market is the earlier produced, Afrika Korps M41 Cap. The earliest of these Afrika Korps M41 Cap were made using a colored soutache to signify which unit type the soldier belonged to. The colored soutache was ordered to be discontinued and removed from all caps in 1942. Only the earliest produced Afrika Korps M41 Cap received the soutache, making it extremely difficult for collectors to locate one. In addition to this being one of the earliest produced Afrika Korps M41 Caps, this cap is also nearly sun bleached to white from extended periods of wear in the hot and sunny environment of North Africa. Sun Bleached Afrika Korps M41 Caps are the most sought after examples of the M41 Afrika Korps caps.
The cap is in a heavily worn, although still excellent condition. The cap was originally produced using a darker olive-green cotton twill fabric which has faded to a near white appearance due to extended periods of wear in the North African desert during the campaign between 1941 to 1943. The exterior of the cap shows some soiling in a few areas, and an even wear to the fabric. The fabric, in areas mostly near the brow and base of the cap has a slick slightly oily feel, much like a heavily worn baseball cap will feel like after wearing it and sweating in it for a few months. A Bevo Tropical Heer Eagle is neatly hand sewn to the front of the cap. Close inspection under the eagle shows that the color of the caps fabric is still a darker olive-green, which casts away any doubt that this insignia is absolutely 100% Original To The Cap! The Bevo cockade is machine sewn to the front of the cap by means of straight line machine stitching. Easily seen on the front of the cap is the darker line of the area where the soutache was once attached. The line is dark enough to know that the cap was worn for quite some time in the sun prior to its removal. The soutache was period removed per regulation in 1942. Remnants of the soutaches original golden-yellow color is present towards the bill and on the interior of the cap, signifying the cap was most likely worn by a soldier in a cavalry or a recon unit. Four textbook vents are riveted in solidly in place. The interior of the cap is lined with a orange-red cotton twill. The lining shows signs of heavy use, some sun fading, and has a grungy, oily, feel to it when handled. This grungy, and oily feel it has is from the heavy sweating of the soldier, and points to the fact that this cap has mot likely never been washed since it left the desert sometime between 1942 and 1943. A faint black ink maker mark stamp is located on the interior lining. The stamp date of 1941 is easily legible. The maker name is illegible, but the city of production, Berlin, can be seen. The maker of the cap is most likely “Robert Lubstein”. A size “54” ink stamp is under the maker stamp.
Historical Description: Even before the outbreak of WWII, the designers of German military equipment had begun tests to engineer uniform items for wear in tropical climates. In 1940, with the German invasion of North Africa imminent, the German military quickly instituted a wide variety of tropical uniform and equipment items. Tropical uniforms were used in Africa, as well as other parts of the “Southern Front” including Italy and the Mediterranean, the Baltics, and southern Russia. The soft headgear used in the tropics took various forms. There was a tropical version of the M34 “overseas”-type cap, which lacked a visor, but the cap which came to be most widely associated with the Afrikakorps was the billed M40 type field cap, which was based on the cap issued to German Army mountain troops. The German Army M40 tropical cap was made of a lightweight fabric, in shades that ranged from tan, to brown, to olive. The interior of this cap was lined with a red fabric which German engineers believed would help the interior of the cap stay cool. Other branches of the German military, including the Kriegsmarine, utilized this same pattern of cap for their tropical uniforms. Early on in the Afrika campaign, some Luftwaffe troops were issued the M40 caps from Army stocks, but by 1941 the Luftwaffe had its own tropical cap, known as the M41. The insignia used on these caps featured the national eagle specific to each military branch, manufactured in special tropical colors, as well as the national cockade. Army caps were additionally adorned with a branch of service soutache, over the cockade, though this was deleted and ordered to be removed in 1942.
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