Condition: Near Mint
Product Description: Attractive, textbook original example of the desirable Hitler Youth M43 cap for Flak Helpers. This was the standard headgear for Hitler Youth members who were attached to the Luftwaffe as auxiliaries, and who manned anti-aircraft Flak cannons in the defense of the Reich as the war drew to a close. These hats are desirable and have become harder to find. This one is really nice, showing only extremely minor wear, and in excellent condition overall. It’s made of a blue-gray Luftwaffe wool. The flap is closed in front by a single pebbled metal button, as is typical. The front of the Hitler Youth M43 cap bears the original diamond-shaped Hitler Youth emblem, Bevo machine woven, and machine stitched to the cap (original factory application). The inside of the cap is lined with typical blue rayon fabric. It’s well marked, with the manufacturer indicated by the stamped RB number 0/2009/0004. The stamped size of the cap is 59, and the cap is dated 1944. There is some very minor discoloration in the forehead area from wear. This is an excellent and appealing example of a type of cap that saw combat on the heads of young soldiers in many of the war’s final defensive battles.
Historical Description: Model 1943 Field Caps: Prior to WWII, all branches of the German military issued their soldiers a field cap in the traditional “side cap” style (there were other types of field caps for certain specialized units). This type of field cap, called “little boat” (Schiffchen) by the troops, was found to be inadequate in the harsh extreme cold weather conditions on the Eastern Front in the brutal winter of 1941-42. As a result, in 1942, some units started issuing a type of field cap that had flaps and a button closure that could be folded down and fastened under the wearer’s chin, to provide protection to the ears. This type of cap, known as the M42, saw limited issue and was replaced a year later with a new model field cap, the Einheitsfeldmütze, that was intended to be issued to all branches. This final model of Wehrmacht field cap, which collectors have termed the M43, was based on the cap that had originally been issued to Wehrmacht mountain troops and featured the fold down ear flaps, as well as a visor. These caps were made out of wool and were intended for year-round wear in all regions where tropical uniforms were not issued. The caps were apparently very popular, as they very quickly replaced the earlier models on the heads of the troops in the field. By 1944 this was the most commonly seen field cap in combat units. These caps remained popular after the war, and many had their insignia removed and were worn out and discarded.
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