Product Description: This is a top shelf example of one of the most desirable pieces of German Army headgear, very hard to find today. The black wool M43 cap was standard issue for all German Panzer crews. This is the type worn by enlisted men and NCOs and is the iconic headgear item worn by German tankers in Normandy and everywhere else that Germans fought in the last years of WWII. This example is in excellent condition overall, showing age and use. The nap of the wool surface shows wear, the weave of the wool fabric is visible. There is very minor fading to the exterior, really only noticeable when the ear flaps are folded down to reveal the slightly darker original color in protected areas. The cap appears to have been washed at some point. This Panzer M43 cap is complete with the original two pebbled zinc flap closure buttons. It also still has its original factory machine applied black-backed national eagle and cockade trapezoid insignia, which was standard for these caps. Many or most of the wartime made hats that were not simply destroyed at the end of the war, were denazified by removing the insignia; this one was never stripped and remains in original wartime condition. The insignia shows fraying at the edges where it was folded, the result of wear. It is stable and solidly in place despite this fraying. The inside of the cap is lined in rayon as is textbook for these. It is marked with a size stamp and an illegible RB number which is very faded and hard to see, it can be seen in bright light. The size stamp appears to have been touched up with ink at some point. It’s a size 57.
Please note that this cap has been discussed on Wehrmacht Awards Forum. We will not sell this cap without pointing out this discussion. This will allow any potential buyer to make up their own mind about the cap prior to any purchase. The discussion can be read here: http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/showthread.php?t=987674
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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