Product Description: This gorgeous DAK M40 cap is a very rare field-worn piece that is absolutely loaded with character. Looking at the wear and fading on this attractive cap, there is no doubt that this definitely saw use in the sun bleached climates of the Mediterranean, and most likely Afrika! The cap is made of a textbook, sand-colored twill tropical fabric. It’s a hard-worn piece of headgear, showing traces of heavy use on the edges. The insignia are original to the cap, factory machine applied, with typical “zig-zag” stitching, and show matching heavy wear, with some fraying to the bottom part of the national colors cockade from being folded repeatedly. There is also some fraying on the rear lower seam of the cap. UV light shows that some adhesive had been used to possibly help stop the fraying area from spreading any further. It is unclear when this was done, and cannot be seen without a UV light. In any case, this fraying from wear is stable and unless handled carelessly, will not get any worse. The interior of this DAK M40 cap is lined with the expected red cotton material, in this case faded to a pinkish tone from sweat and wear. The markings in the lining are still present, although very faded. There is a maker mark in a rectangular box, and though worn to the point of illegibility, it appears to be the stamp used by the firm of Carl Halfar in Berlin. Below this is the size, which looks to be “57,” and below that is what looks to be a 1941 date. Overall, this piece is a wonderful, salty example of a Heer M40 Cap that very likely saw service in the deserts of North Afrika!
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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