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New Forum about the DAK and Tropical German army, and Allied army in WW2 only

#1 21-04-2011 04:53:51

NZMark
Moderator
From: New Zealand
Registered: 08-04-2011
Posts: 1088

WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

This article can in no way be exhaustive due to the scarcity of the subject matter. Therefore I will simply describe several original caps, including New Zealand & Australian veteran souvenired examples from the North African and Italian campaigns. This will, hopefully, go some way to give an overview of the many differing types of issued tropical caps seen in German service in World War II.

The most distinguishable issue item of the WWII German soldier in North Africa & Mediterranean theatre of Operations was his field cap. This was simply termed Afrikamutze by the troops, but in todays collecting terminology it is the m40 Tropical Field Cap.
Along with his tropical issue service uniform and specially designed fieldgear, this simple but useful item set him aside from his Continental comrades and added to the mystique of his image as a serving member of the famous Deutches Afrika Korps (DAK). The caps distinctly modern silouette and ‘rakish’ appearance lent an air of adventure to those who wore it by connection to the army they served in, and ultimately it’s commander, General der Panzertruppe Erwin Rommel, who’s professionalism, charisma and personality drew almost universal admiration from civilian and soldier alike – including those in the opposing forces.
A posting to North Africa was seen as an adventure – a chance to see exotic desert lands filled with rolling sand dunes, hot sunny days, camel trains, palm trees & oasis. Even though the reality was very different, the conduct and shared hardships for those involved while serving in that foreign land earned them a reputation and respect that has remained to this day.
The collecting of the tropical field cap reflects the admiration that today’s generation maintains for those far distant times and individuals.
In the field soldiers replaced their equipment, uniforms and vehicles when they could, scrounging clothing and transport from their rivals when supplies failed to materialize – which at times was a commonplace problem due to Allied interference along the long Axis supply route. But one item was retained – carefully repaired or altered to the very end while in field service or in POW camps, or taken back home on repatriation – the Afrikamutze.
Pride was placed in this soldiers constant companion. The cap was the outward show of a soldiers ‘veteran’ status – or not. A brand new, dark olive cap in stiff condition was the sign of a fresh faced new addition to a unit. To counter this the new member would often take pains to artificially age his cap as soon as possible to both blend in, and add prestige to his appearance by chemically bleaching the cap in disolved anti-gas tablets (Losantin).
The instant effect was to evenly whiten the whole cap, quite a drastic contrast to their newly issued uniform – which often received the same treatment. Many period photos commonly show caps with a nearly all white appearance. These are clearly chemically bleached, whereas naturally sunfaded caps retained a more worn, darker look quite dicernable even in black and white photographs. A true sunfaded cap was prized for the service time it took to achieve it’s naturally worn, faded finish.

Today, few sun-faded m40 caps exist in collections world-wide and they generally represent the surviving examples of early manufactured and issued pieces. Most caps were worn-out in field service, or in POW camps, so they are valued for their rarity. Later manufactured caps (post 1943) are comparitively more common, and can be found in worn-out to completely un-issued condition. BUT – all m40 caps should be considered as rare and historically valuable items to be cherished and cared for.
The initial design for the tropical issue cap took shape in conjunction with the service uniform at The Tropical Institute of the University of Hamburg in mid-1940 as soon as it became apparent that German involvement in North Africa to help it’s Italian allies was unavoidable.
The caps design was practical, initially utilizing the same cotton twill as used to fabricate the tropical service tunic. The shape was loosely based on the Austro/Hungarian woollen mountain jagers cap which had seen use since WWI. The visors length was extended compared to it’s Austrian cousin, and bore a similarity to the American baseball cap of the period. The visor was shaped over a stiff cardboard form, the size of which did a good job of shielding the wearer’s eyes from harsh direct sunlight. The caps outer shell was made up from five separate panels in addition to the visor’s two. These consisted of top, upper side left/right, false turn-up, left and right. The false turn-up was again reminicent of the jagers cap turn down, with a pleasing scallop accentuating the caps front. The top panel was crimped into the lining layer lengthwise and sewn in a crease to add a small measure of stiffness which maintained the caps attractive silhouette. This panel appears to be made up from two parts, but it is in fact one piece.
Due to variations in twill supplies used by manufacturers, early caps were produced in colours that ranged from olive brown through to a reed green, which over time faded from near bone white to subtle tans and olive greens – depending on how often a cap was washed, (and in what) or how much sunlight it was exposed to. Caps produced during 1941 began to show a more consistant base colour, as cotton mills collectively dyed their twill a more uniform olive/green.
Heer caps were lined with a much more loosely woven red material. This was based on the research at the Tropical Institute which found that the heat from the head required, logically, to pass up through a loose woven lining, while the sun’s UV rays were deflected more effectively by the colour red, after passing through the outer cotton twill shell. The heat build-up in the area between the scalp and lining was vented out by two 9mm grommets placed on either side of the cap, allowing that space to ‘breath’. These grommets had a brown enamel baked onto the outer face, while retaining a raw inner surface. Over time and wear the enamel would eventually chip and flake off, exposing the alloy underneath. If a cap grommet shows abrasion wear down to the surface without chipping to the paint, it should be viewed with extreme caution. There are several types of split-washers used to secure the two part grommets, so a study of period cap types should be undertaken as reproduction and replaced grommets are signs that a cap is suspect.
The insignia were generally applied before the visor and lining were sewn in place. The application of insignia after a lining was added has, however, been noted occasionally on completely original caps. This would tend to indicate a mis-step in the production line process, and not a standard procedure of that manufacturer. Depending on who made the cap, insignia could be all machine sewn, all hand sewn, or a combination of both. Knowing what style of insignia application was used by which maker (and when) is most important in determining if the insignia has been re-attached to a stripped cap.
The insignia consisted of the national eagle. (Hoheitszeichen) which was basically a scaled down version of the tunic’s pattern eagle in sky-blue detail on a ochre/tan backing measuring aproximately 65mm x 30mm. The other main difference was in the number of ‘feathers’ used to construct the wings. The first eagles were machine woven in cotton. Later examples were woven in rayon, the sheen and colour tones between both being quite different when placed side by side for comparison.
Below the eagle was placed the national colours of red, white and black in circular form, (rondel) again on an ochre/tan backing cut and sewn in a diamond form measuring approximately 25mm square.
Framing the rondel was the waffenfarbe, or arm of service colour in the form of an inverted ‘V’ soutache of 3mm wide braided cotton. Manufacturers sewed this in place (by hand or machine) before the visor was attached to the body of the cap, hiding the ends of the braid by tucking them up and under the seam join. Others inserted the ends into a small hole cut into the caps outer shell to hide the ends.

A brief outline of the waffenfarbe colour system at this point is worth a description due to the colour variations that can be found on caps manufactured up until mid/late 1942.

Pink (rosa) Armour (Panzer)
Pink (rosa) Anti Tank (Panzerjager)
Light Green (hellgrun) Rifle Regiments – 1940 (Schutzenregimenter)
& Lime Green (resedagrun) then Panzer Grenadiers – 1942 (Panzergrenadiere)
grass Green (weisengrun)
Grass Green (weisengrun) Motorcycle Battalions – 1941 (Kraftradschutzen Bat.)
( The light green used by rifle regiments early on in 1941 was superceded by lime green later that year and remained the colour for all Panzergrenadiere for the remainder of the war.)
Copper brown (kupfer-braun) Motorcycle Battalions 1941/42
White (weiss) Army Anti-Aircraft Battalions (Heeres-Fla Bat.)
Light Green (hellgrun) Machine Gun Battalions – 1941 (Maschinengewehr-Bat.)
White (weiss) Infantry Regiments (Infanterie-Regimenter)
Gold-Yellow (goldgelb) Reconnaissance Units – 1941 (Aufklarungs Abteilungen)
Copper-brown (kupfer-braun) Reconnaissance Units 1941/42
( Aufklarungs-Abteilungen 33, 15th Panzer Div. retained gold-yellow waffenfarbe as a proud reminder of their original formation, Cavalry Regiment 6.)
Light Green (hellgrun) Alpine Regiments (Gebirgsjager-Reg.)
Bright Red (hochrot) Artillery Regiments (Artillerie-Reg.)
Black (schwarz) Engineer Battalions (Pionier-Bat.)
Lemon Yellow (zitronengelb) Signals Units (Nachrichten-Abt.)
Light Blue (hellblau) Motorized Supply & Transport (Fahr-und Kraftfahr-Abt.)
Dark Blue (kornblumenblau) Medical Units (Sanitats-Abt.)
Bordeaux Red (bordorot) Smoke Units (Nebel.Abt.)
Orange Red (orangerot) Field Police (Feldgendarmerie)
Carmine (karmesin) Vetinary Service (Veterinareinheiten)
Violet (violett) Field Chaplains (Heeresgeistlichen)
Bright Red (hochrot) General (rank) Officers (Generale)
Light Grey (hellgrau) Propaganda Troops (Propagandatruppe)
Grey Blue (grau-blau) Specialist Officers (Sonderfuhrer)
Dark Green (dunkelgrun) Army Administration Officers (Wehrmachtbeamten)


To differentiate between enlisted-men’s and officer’s caps, a 3mm silver cord was added at factory level to the top-edge seamline running round the cap, and the front scallop. Officers of General rank used gold wire instead of silver. The ratio of officers caps produced to enlisted men’s appears to have been around 1 in 90 – but this is supposition. Over time and wear the wire would tarnish and become a grey colour as it lost it’s sheen, as well as unravelling due to abbrasion. In the field caps were up-graded to officer status with the addition of locally aquired materials, and sewn in place with varying degrees of skill. Another alteration seen on officers caps was the removal of the factory applied eagle and replacement with a continental wool version. The effect was to instantly advertise the soldier as that of officer rank due to the much more prominent insignia – an affectation usually not seen on frontline officers who usually tried to remain as inconspicious as possible due to survival instincts. As the proportion of officers to enlisted men’s caps are now so low, original examples are naturally even harder to find on today’s market than enlisted-men’s caps.
M40 caps produced up until April 1942 did not leave the factory with sweatbands. In the field, modifications by the servicemen saw panels of leather or cloth sewn in place to reduce the moisture built-up in the cloth about the forehead due to perspiration, which tended to rot the cotton, trap dust which was more than a little uncomfortable, and worst of all, attract flies. The necessity of a sweatband forced manufacturers to develope, firstly, a basic cloth band that ran about the base of the cap. This was superceded by the ersatz leather and oilcloth version that is predominantly seen in todays collections, as far more caps of this type were produced than any other, and due to the fact that more survived the war due to their later manufacture. Caps may be found with the sewing lines for the sweatband passing over the cockade and soutache, again showing that the insignia was applied before the caps body was constructed, and the sweatband sewn in place.
From July of 1942 it was ordered that caps should no longer be produced with soutache. This was due simply to the problem of supplying the appropriate coloured soutached caps to specific troop units in the field. It had been found that troops were having to use caps that had the wrong waffenfarbe because, due to supply shortages and re-allocation of troops between units, incorrectly soutached caps were all they could get in some cases – if supplies arrived at all. Some removed the factory soutache and sewed the appropriate colour in place using scrounged materials – and in a not too pretty fashion either, at times. So, logic came to the rescue at the administrative level and caps were then more easily obtained by the troops who then only had to concern themselves with finding a cap with the correct fit. In some cases caps were found to be too small, so the individual had to make the slight alteration of opening out the rear seam and sewing a small triangle of material in place. Period photos show this was not an uncommon occurance, and in some cases soldiers just left the split rear seam open.
The July/August order to remove the soutache from their caps was seemingly ignored on a large scale,as period photos show troops even as late as 1944 with heavily worn soutached caps in Italy. Of course, supplies of pre-existing stocks were issued with soutache to the appropriate units until stocks were used up – but on issue the waffenfarbe was still supposed to be removed.
From 1943 onwards m40 caps can be found with the eagle sewn in it’s usual position on a triangular backing, machine sewn in place, so as to speed up the manfacturing process. This has a less attractive appearance than the earlier trimmed style of application, and seems less popular with collectors because of the workmanlike finish.

A very little known, but documented variation exists of the Heer m40. This exceptionally rare cap differed from the standard model due to the complete lack of false turn-up. The cotton drill which the outer shell was made from is of a slightly lighter weight from earlier produced caps. It was made with a cloth sweatband, initially not using ersatz leather/oilcloth in any way, but later caps had an added leatherette band running about the lower edge. No soutache was ever applied, so conjecture for a time of manufacture is 1942. One example is known to the author which is stamped with the maker mark of Ernst Kern. Due to almost identical manufacturing details it is assumed at this point that the cap used in this article was also made by that same maker.

The next most predominant item of heer tropical soft headgear was the model fundamentaly based on the m38 overeas cap, nicknamed in German army slang as Schiffchen, or literally ‘little ship’ as it resembled an up-turned row-boat. It lacked a peak or visor, and was made in the same cotton as the m40 cap. The production of these also started in 1940, but never had a sweatband added at a later date as did the m40 Afrikamutze. The schiffchen had one eyelet per side as opposed to two, but utilized the same brown enamelled stock as the m40.
Just like the wool version, the tropical overseas cap had turn-down sides, but these could not be folded down to cover the ears for cold weather protection.
The cap was also lined with red cotton, the sides being the last to be sewn in place. The insignia was also sewn to the shell before the lining was added, and used exactly the same eagle, rondel and soutache as the m40. From 1943 onwards, as with the m40 billed cap, the eagle can be seen to be sewn on some examples on a triangular backing, This was a simple measure to speed up production, although it tended to lend the cap with a less atrractive appearance.
The overseas cap was reportedly popular with armoured vehicle crews due to the lack of a visor, which would get in the way of using optical equipment and continual banging against hatches and be obstructive in confined work spaces.
Due to their very utilitarian and somewhat unflattering appearance the overseas cap never gained the affection that the m40 evoked from those who wore them. Even today in collecting circles the schiffchen has a lower sale value in respect to it’s more popular m40 cousin, which is a pity as these have an important place in any tropical collection.

Luftwaffe Cloth Headgear

The Luftwaffe developed it’s own tropical uniform and headgear independantly from the Heer and Kriegsmarine. This was simply another simptom of the mentality of seperatism in Germany’s armed forces, which saw a lack of cohesian between the three armed services in regards to design of their respective uniforms.
Whereas the Army designed their uniform using an olive based colour, the Luftwaffe utilized a light sandy brown/tan colour. Contractors began producing LW caps late in 1940. Initially the first LW ground forces in North Africa were forced to use Army uniforms and caps to cover their own lack of product in the field. This could consist of an m40 Heer cap with the eagle removed, and a LW eagle in it’s place (either continental wool or a visored caps metal version pinned in place) or the Heer version left in place with no alteration at all, and LW insignia applied to the tunic. This has been especially noted on FlaK unit uniforms in period photos.
Most commonly encountered is the LW overseas cap in tan cotton. These were popular souvenirs as they took up literally no space at all in an Allied servicemans kit-bag.
The overseas cap was constructed from a light tan/brown cotton twill outer shell, while the lining was a finer linen that allowed the head to ‘breath’. Unlike the army version, the LW sidecap had no air vent grommets to allow trapped excess heat to escape. The cap was constructed with a turn-up flap, but this was a decorative feature as it then restricted the vision once folded down.
The insignia for the sidecap was positioned in the same places as the continental wool cap – but the eagle was embroidered on tropical ribbed twill backing to match the cap, as was the rondel. It would appear that in most cases the insignia was applied by hand stitching, but machine sewn eagles are also common. Officers caps were distinguished by a 3mm silver cord sewn along the top leading edge of the turn-up. Field added cording was reugular occurance due to field promotion, and non-regulation cording can be observed in varying conditions and thicknesses
The shape of the cap was pleasing, and had a very fashionable, fitted appearance when worn at a cocked angle. Although it had no facility at all for shading the wearer’s eyes due to a lack of a visor it seems to have been popular with the servicemen who were issued with it, judging by period photographs. The flip-side to this point is that the majority of LW men serving in tropical areas were hardly issued anything else…
Completely field-made side caps are not common, but original examples do appear on the collectors market periodically. These must be viewed with extreme caution, as they are easy to fake and without rock-hard provinance are a huge risk in investment, especially when the time comes to re-sell.
A LW version of the Heer m40 was manufactured in 1941, but details on how common it was are sketchy at best. It was constructed in the same manner as the m40, including false turn-up, but in the basic tan/brown cotton twill. Insignia consisted of a tropical LW eagle with it’s backing material trimmed and folded under to accentuate it’s shape, and embroidered cockade placed in the same positions as the Heer m40.
As with the Army model, the LW used silver cord for officer differentiation, and gold for officers of General rank. The cording was positioned in along the top seam about the crown and along the front scallop seam.
The lining was a light tan linen and included a factory sweatband of tan cloth and ersatz leather. Two air-vent grommets on either temple were standard on factory made caps. These would have been enamelled in the same manner as Heer m40’s.
This cap was extremely popular with the LW troops but it appears that issued caps were in very short supply, so field made visored caps were made in large numbers, and with varying degrees of skill by company tailors, and Italian seamstresses on the mainland when the the troops passed through Italy either in transit or on leave.
The other notable issue LW tropical cap was the Visored Cap with Neck Protector (Tropenschirmutze mit Nackenschutz). It would appear that the design for this cap was based heavily on the Kreigsmarine visored cap, as the silhouette is distinctly similar. This type of cap appeared in the field in early 1942. These unpopular caps were nicknamed ”Hermann Meyer“ by the LW troops in a caustic reference to Riechsmarschall Goering’s boast that if a single enemy’s bomb ever fell on Germany ”you can call me Hermann Meyer!“ Collectors world-wide have continued this popular tradition. The cap was made of tan/brown cotton twill, with a cardboard former for the bill. The top of the cap was quite baggy, but a thin celluloid panel layered between the lining and outer shell halped retain some measure of shape, as well as stopping the accumulated sweat from the head to stain the exterior material. Celluloid of a thicker grade was also used to stiffen the head band, running in a strip all the way about the circumference, again placed in between the lining and outer layer. This synthetic plastic has a tendency to perish and become extremely dry and brittle over time, breaking into smaller sections at points of stress. Two large mesh covered air grommets were placed centrally on either side of the cap, allowing heat build-up to vent away while stopping access to the ever present flies that plagued troops stationed in hot climates. Later in 1942 manufacturer’s switched to the standard open-holed enamelled grommet type used on m40’s.
The lining was of smooth quality tan, red or green linen. Manufacturers stampings took several forms, from full names to simple sizing stamps and RBn (Reichbetriebs Nummer (state manufacturing number). The colour of the stamps is usually black, but can be a very dark blue/purple, but as with other issued caps, markings can be washed out , even on moderately used caps.
The cap was supplied with a neck-flap or shade cloth which attached to the cap’s lower band rim by three buttons – two place on either side and one at the rear. These can be found made of tan glass, black plastic and dished metal. The flap itself was made from the same cloth as used to construct the cap, was single layered,hemmed for re-enforcement along all for edges, and possibly the first item to be thrown away on issue! The continual distraction of movement and awareness of something behind the head and sound obstruction outweighed the usefullness of the shade the flap offered, along with a very unflattering appearance.
Also part of the set was a chinstrap which attached to the two side buttons at the point where the peak ended at the headband. The leather was blackened on it’s outer face and left natural tan on the inside, but it was a popular move to turn the strap inside-out to leave the natural tan colour in view for aesthetic reasons. The strap had an adjustment slide buckle, and the black face was detailed with a fine cross-hatched pattern.
The insignia on early eaxamples was that of the overseas cap – an embroidered tropical eagle with cockade centred below it on the head-band, hand sewn in place. This was superceded by a sythentic woven pattern based on the visored cockade with oakleaves and wings under a rayon eagle on a tan triangular backing. These can be found machine sewn in place before the lining was added, or cockade machine sewn while the eagle applied by hand. The cockade can be seen in some cases as simply sewn on in panel form or trimmed to shape and then applied.
Reasonably detailed reproductions of this type of cap have flooded the market over the last twenty years, mostly for the re-enactor market, but in some cases attempts have been made to raise the quality to the point of deceiving collectors due to the prices these caps now command. Serious research into the small details found on originals must be done so as to avoid falling into the trap of buying a fake as an original.

Kriegsmarine Tropical Caps
Like the Luftwaffe, the Kriegsmarine developed a tropical uniform to suit it’s own requirements for use in warm climates. These caps followed a similar design to the Heer m40 and overseas cap, and although the Navy already used their white cotton version that had been in use since 1939, they still had a tan example made to match the new tan cotton uniform.
The KM billed cap was a match to the Heer m40, but the Navy, as did the LW, used a tan/brown cotton twill to construct the cap’s body. The actual construction was identical to the m40 as well, with the same false turn-up sewn in by either inlaying a cord between the shell and lining and pinching the material to give the illusion of a seamline, or using the traditional method of sewing two panels of twill in place.
As a generalization, the lining colour for KM billed caps was blue/green, but red lined caps are known to exist. Issue KM caps are marked with the boxed BAW or BAK stamp (BekleidungsAmpts for Wilhelmshaven or Kiel), but again, markings may easily have washed out over time.
The insignia used was the eagle (Hoheitszeichen) woven in gold/yellow on a copper brown base, while the cockade was the usual red/white/black discs, also on a copper brown base. These were placed in the familiar positions – centrally above the bill for the cockade and above that, the eagle. Just as with the Army insignia, these can be found sewn by machine or by hand,utilizing zig-zag stitching or straight machine sewing
Two air vent grommets were placed on either side above the false turn-up, and these can be found with baked on brown or tan enamel.


Student & Collector of WWII German Tropical Militaria

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#2 21-04-2011 04:59:26

NZMark
Moderator
From: New Zealand
Registered: 08-04-2011
Posts: 1088

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

I wrote this a few years ago for a French militaria publication, which subsequently didn't do too well(!) But was re-written and expanded upon for the more popular 'Militaria Magazine', sadly only published in the French language. It is only a very basic outline, as nothing compares to taking time to learn this stuff yourself, and handling the real item.
Please feel free to post any of your tropical caps - Heer, Luftwaffe & Kriegsmarine?
Best Regards,
Mark


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#3 21-04-2011 11:46:40

Sebastian.V
Administrator
From: Paris
Registered: 06-04-2011
Posts: 1953

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Great explication Mark... I would like to find this  "militaria magazine"
I will search !

best
Sebastien

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#4 23-04-2011 02:43:13

NZMark
Moderator
From: New Zealand
Registered: 08-04-2011
Posts: 1088

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Sebastien,
I believe it can still be bought as a 'back-issue'?
Here is the cover - (note the website - www.militaria-mag.com)
Regards,
Mark
http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/3_cover.jpg


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#5 25-04-2011 18:00:38

Sebastian.V
Administrator
From: Paris
Registered: 06-04-2011
Posts: 1953

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Thanks dear Mark ! wink

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#6 15-06-2011 11:30:57

Bond
Veteran DAK Member
Registered: 13-04-2011
Posts: 788

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

That is a very interesting and informative article.  I have seen this before on other forums, but as it's in French, I did not try to purchase it, though it's probably worth it just for the pictures.  And maybe I could brush up on my school boy French.

Regards,

Jerry


Regards,

Jerry B.

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#7 15-06-2011 12:39:58

NZMark
Moderator
From: New Zealand
Registered: 08-04-2011
Posts: 1088

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Thanks Jerry,
The above is a very cut-down, bare-bones version, so a literal translation of the French 'Militaria' article won't be the same - but the basics are there.
CHEERS,
Mark


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#8 29-06-2011 23:41:37

NZMark
Moderator
From: New Zealand
Registered: 08-04-2011
Posts: 1088

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

OK - No-one is willing to post their caps?
Here's a couple of mine.
Mark.
http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/3_bayer20018.jpg
http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/3_bayer20012.jpg
http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/3_m4020010.jpg


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#9 29-06-2011 23:44:51

NZMark
Moderator
From: New Zealand
Registered: 08-04-2011
Posts: 1088

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/3_can20004.jpg
http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/3_can20005.jpg


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#10 29-06-2011 23:50:59

NZMark
Moderator
From: New Zealand
Registered: 08-04-2011
Posts: 1088

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/3_can20026.jpg
http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/3_can20034.jpg
http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/3_can20028.jpg


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#11 01-07-2011 08:35:50

Bond
Veteran DAK Member
Registered: 13-04-2011
Posts: 788

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Great caps Mark.  The worn insignia on the 2nd one is great to see.

Regards,

Jerry


Regards,

Jerry B.

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#12 03-07-2011 23:57:56

NZMark
Moderator
From: New Zealand
Registered: 08-04-2011
Posts: 1088

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Thanks Jerry,
That one is an NZ veteran's souvenir, found locally. It's an ex-artillery soutached example - soutache removed as per regulations in 1942.
The last one's insignia has had the silverfish knibbling on it. This one is a US serviceman's souvenir from Africa.
The chemically bleached (top) m40 is a 1942 dated, ex-reseda green soutached cap (motorized infantry). The Italian fascist insignia is a period application.
Mark


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#13 16-09-2011 15:30:37

Tin Soldier
Veteran DAK Member
From: Australia
Registered: 15-09-2011
Posts: 574

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

G, day all
Just stumbled across this forum the other day and thought i could add a few things of interest.
I've always been fascinated with the campaigns in North Africa (Tobruk & El Alamein etc etc). My real passion is WW1 but WW2 comes in a close second,
sorry if there is a pun in there. So i've been collecting for the last 20 years or so and have been able to find a few interesting items, some include DAK items
of course. So i'll upload some pics of some for you to have a look at over the next few weeks or so but for starters i'll show you my DAK Field Cap.
Just would like to also mention,... Mark you have some fantastic stuff, hooley dooley!
Anyway here goes, cheers. Be prepared it's a salty beast!





http://img2.mediafire.com/1d8d527ada948e0942f0b264aa2269b18ce937518b3b621765c36474626d4db56g.jpg

http://img32.mediafire.com/f1260e51c52b6906e13aee9aa7b65b721b2600538ae0c44055ca6f6b8d03122b6g.jpg

http://img25.mediafire.com/82488b3964f3fda8a4739d7c17971d7a19d791434348fb5422541d8e5d5820f56g.jpg

http://img27.mediafire.com/a680fac3f760144bd8b81243ca4c5594053511f0de6a25491206fa9ed26a8ed76g.jpg

http://img3.mediafire.com/21551c25ae7485048fb517ed2981233a6ae42b3cf78b33c40d367f4e5acd61b86g.jpg

http://img23.mediafire.com/6311dacfa8529b9242073374510a8614e8ff220f326854334d05010bd2eed2966g.jpg

http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/54_dak_cap_3.jpg

http://img22.mediafire.com/556136ff28b1160758a05a831fb1c3c338f91cdc1a675bc0a31d719465d119036g.jpg

http://img22.mediafire.com/5ebf788e395d64bc604a48d4e396dc1204fe24b24515ee3091636b5396b21f366g.jpg

http://img23.mediafire.com/69614f7bb980bf47b2a7888bf90ac0b50ffd5d9a3055f65903bef406f3ae17f16g.jpg

http://img28.mediafire.com/b7a5dc2532794417eea52fc34894edc4005f5c3705979bb8d067f0388e43c11e6g.jpg

There is a slightly darker /\ shape above bottom insignia were there once was the soutache but was removed as we all know plus stitching has been
unpicked from the visor and main body to do this. There is a little bit of white cotton remaining underneath so must have been infantry i would say?
The cap was brought back from North Africa by an Australian soldier, i bought this about 15 years ago and was one of the first good pieces i got hold of.
There was another one that was also for sale, that one came from New Zealand but the veteran used to wear it fishing and he had removed all the insignia
so went for the better one. If you look at the last inside picture showing stamp it looks to be ROBERT LITSTERS or LUTSTERS, still not really sure about
the last letter if it's an "S" or something else then BERLIN NO55 1941 57 below. Just wondering if anybody knows the correct manufactures name, maybe
you might know Mark? anyway thats my first post,...i'll list a more detailed Welcome Message soon in the correct Topic section.
Thanks
Stu

Last edited by Tin Soldier (17-09-2011 10:51:43)


It's all good and well to sing along when the world goes along with a song, but the man
worth while is the one who can smile when everything goes dead wrong.


http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/54_sig_4.jpg

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#14 16-09-2011 16:28:48

Bond
Veteran DAK Member
Registered: 13-04-2011
Posts: 788

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Looks very good, IMO and it is Robert Lubstein, also known as Erel, a well known cap maker.  Made from a heavier weave than I am used to seeing, but I am sure someone will say that is because it's fairly early.

Regards and welcome to the sand pit.

Jerry


Regards,

Jerry B.

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#15 16-09-2011 20:59:35

The Magpie
Veteran DAK Member
Registered: 29-06-2011
Posts: 650

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Welcome aboard Stu. Thats a very nice Lubstein from '41. Lubstein is one of the six original tropical cap makers. Thanks for sharing and look forwards to seeing and hearing more from You.

Heia Safari
Tim

Last edited by The Magpie (16-09-2011 21:00:35)

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#16 16-09-2011 23:13:21

NZMark
Moderator
From: New Zealand
Registered: 08-04-2011
Posts: 1088

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Absolutely top class!
Love everything about this classic souvenir cap.
I look forward to more!
Mark


Student & Collector of WWII German Tropical Militaria

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#17 17-09-2011 05:58:05

Wessels
Confirmed DAK Member
From: Nordwest der USA
Registered: 17-04-2011
Posts: 185

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Stu...you are one lucky SOB with that Afrikamuetze!!! Welcome to the forum! And like others, I look forward to seeing more of your collection!


I study and collect uniforms, equipment, decorations, personal effects, photos, weapons and vehicles of the ground forces of the Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine and Waffen SS.

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#18 17-09-2011 07:22:14

Tin Soldier
Veteran DAK Member
From: Australia
Registered: 15-09-2011
Posts: 574

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Oh yes of course, we've all heard of him,...isn't it funny how things happen. Because i've had my hands in a few pies in the collecting field as i mostly collect WW1 i never really researched it and the penny never dropped. I was just happy i had an original heavily bleached cap, i don't like that unissued stuff. Some people may not like it but i have had a couple of unissued items and i washed them, only usually takes one go and they look a bit better regarding colour and look like they have been used. I've been more fascinated with the hole at the back if anyone noticed, it's not a bullet hole i don't think as there is no staining or anything well at least while the owner wasn't wearing it. Just wondering if the owner may even have done it himself to hang it from something??? But we could come up with a lot of theories but we will never know for sure i guess? Anyway thanks for the warm welcome and comments plus info on my first post, i have a few more small but interesting items to post plus i also have some italian bits and pieces. I did have a tunic once but it was a 1943 model so trying to do a Tobruk or El Alamein impression it wasn't historically correct so i sold it, always found it hard to get a nice 1st pattern tunic and 1st pattern high boots well we all know about them i'm sure.
Plus i was going to say also that i did buy a couple of those French Militaria magazines that were in English from the newsagent here in Australia but then they disappeared. Then my main dealer in Sydney told me that he knew one of the guys in the magazine, his name was Titis if thats how you spell it i'm not sure, he is the Belgian infantryman in the first section of that small publication showing WW1 uniforms in colour, they also did a WW2 version that has a nice early impression of a DAK soldier, you may know the publication, i have not got it on hand at the moment. Titis actually came out to Australia not long after my dealer told me he knew him and i took him out to a convict reenactment and he stayed over night at my place and i asked him about the magazine. And he said that the guys that were producing the magazine just stopped as it was getting to much work, doing a French version plus and English translated version every month just got to much so they stopped. So you may be able to find some second hand copies in English somewhere if your lucky, they were fantastic!
Anyway,...cheers
Stu

Last edited by Tin Soldier (17-09-2011 07:41:49)


It's all good and well to sing along when the world goes along with a song, but the man
worth while is the one who can smile when everything goes dead wrong.


http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/54_sig_4.jpg

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#19 17-09-2011 07:49:12

The Magpie
Veteran DAK Member
Registered: 29-06-2011
Posts: 650

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Hi Stu

Can we see a close-up of the hole in the back both inside & out ? I too prefer used items, the mint items that sat out the War in some closet or bundle somewhere just "represent" real Wartime examples...

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#20 17-09-2011 08:03:17

NZMark
Moderator
From: New Zealand
Registered: 08-04-2011
Posts: 1088

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Possibly a repaired mouse-chewed area? I'd also like to see more detailed images.
Stu - I've tried emailing you but your address seems invalid?
Feel free to send me an email and we'll talk?
Cheers!
Mark


Student & Collector of WWII German Tropical Militaria

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#21 17-09-2011 10:47:52

Tin Soldier
Veteran DAK Member
From: Australia
Registered: 15-09-2011
Posts: 574

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Ok no worries i have done some more detailed pics of the mystery hole, plus this is the first time i have
turned this salty beast inside out and there does seem to be some slight staining around the hole on the inside
but still i don't think it's blood. See fourth last photo, i had to darken that photo a bit to bring up the stain so it's
only a light stain. Plus the sweat marks around the front and fading stand out a lot more also when it's turned inside
out,  so some more pics of that as well. And also added the left side photo to first post, the other site i uploaded the
pics to wasn't working properly.


http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/54_dak_cap_hole_1.jpg

http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/54_dak_cap_hole_2.jpg

http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/54_dak_cap_hole_3.jpg

http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/54_dak_cap_hole_4.jpg

http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/54_dak_cap_hole_5.jpg

http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/54_dak_cap_13.jpg

http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/54_dak_cap_14.jpg

http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/54_dak_cap_15.jpg

Last edited by Tin Soldier (17-09-2011 11:12:30)


It's all good and well to sing along when the world goes along with a song, but the man
worth while is the one who can smile when everything goes dead wrong.


http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/54_sig_4.jpg

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#22 17-09-2011 11:13:24

Sebastian.V
Administrator
From: Paris
Registered: 06-04-2011
Posts: 1953

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Welcome to the sand forum Stu,

Your cap is very nice and original of course

best
Sebastien

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#23 17-09-2011 11:47:10

Tin Soldier
Veteran DAK Member
From: Australia
Registered: 15-09-2011
Posts: 574

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Thanks Sebastien
Always been fascinated with the war in the desert both WW1 and WW2.
I remember a documentary i have on the Australian Light Horse in Palestine
during WW1 and one veteran said about the horses that "they were fantastic
the horses being able to go without a drink for 2 or 3 days in that place were
you felt like a drink every five minutes!"


It's all good and well to sing along when the world goes along with a song, but the man
worth while is the one who can smile when everything goes dead wrong.


http://afrikakorps.forumcrea.com/img/avatars/afrikakorps/big/54_sig_4.jpg

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#24 17-09-2011 12:01:57

NZMark
Moderator
From: New Zealand
Registered: 08-04-2011
Posts: 1088

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

Love it. And just look at the heavyweight cotton shell material....
Lubstein must have had to source that batch from a different supplier for that run of caps.
I do not say it often - but I am envious! Look after that one Stu!
With Respect from The Sandpit,
Mark


Student & Collector of WWII German Tropical Militaria

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#25 17-09-2011 18:05:05

Sebastian.V
Administrator
From: Paris
Registered: 06-04-2011
Posts: 1953

Re: WWII German Tropical Caps - An Overview.

you are Welcome Tin, please show your nice sand items ! big_smile

best
Sebastien

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