Condition: Near Mint
Product Description: This is a fantastic example of a the Luftwaffe M43 cap, a very desirable piece of Luftwaffe headgear. This final pattern of wartime field cap was very commonly seen on the heads of paratroopers and other Luftwaffe soldiers in WWII, but untouched examples like this have become increasingly hard to find- especially in this condition. This cap is made of a standard Luftwaffe blue wool with a thick nap. The exterior shows only extremely light wear, and has a nice, even patina, with just very faint inset dust and soiling from wear. The two closure buttons on the front flap are originally sewn and have some wear to the paint. The cap is complete with its original factory applied insignia, in a desirable two-piece configuration. Both the embroidered eagle and the Bevo cockade are machine sewn, a one-look original application. The insignia were sewn before the cap was fully assembled, and the zig-zag stitching on the eagle is overlapped by the final assembly stitching near the top seam of the front of the cap. This Luftwaffe M43 cap is rayon lined, as is typical for field caps from this period. The lining shows some typical discoloration from wear around its lower edges. The cap is very well marked, with nice dark and legible stamps inside. The manufacturer is identified by the RB number 0/2009/0004. It is size marked “55” and dated “43.” Above the RB number is the lot number, “5765.” This is a super attractive all-original example. It would be very hard to find a Luftwaffe M43 cap with more appeal.
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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