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S005668 OFFICER'S VISOR CAP. (Schirmmütze)

BACKGROUND: The Allgemeine-SS, (General-SS), was originally formed in May 1923 as the Stosstrupp Adolf Hitler (Shock Troops Adolf Hitler), and was redesignated Schutzstaffel, (Protection Squad), in April 1925 with the official acceptance of the name verified on the second anniversary of the failed Munich "Beer-Hall" Putsch on November 9TH 1925. On January 6TH 1929 Heinrich Himmler was appointed as Reichsführer-SS, (National Leader {of the} SS), and on July 20TH 1934 shortly after the, June 30TH 1934, purge of the SA, Sturm Abteilung, (Storm Troopers) on the "Night of the Long Knives", the SS was rewarded by Hitler by being granted the status of an independent organization under direct control of the NSDAP, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, (National Socialist German Worker’s Party). From its inception the SS began an aggressive policy of expansion which resulted in the formation of the SS-SD, SS-Sicherheitsdienst und Sicherheitspolizei, (SS-Security Service and Security Police), in June 1931, the SS-VT, SS-Verfügungstruppe, (SS-Special Purpose Troops), and the SS-TV, SS-Totenkopfverbände, (SS-Death’s Head Units), in March 1933 which would eventually evolve into the Waffen-SS, (Armed-SS), in December 1939. Originally members of the fledgling SS had no official uniform or headgear until April 1925 when they adopted, what was to become known as the, "Tradition Uniform" and personnel were outfitted with the same brown shirt uniform and kepi as the SA, Sturm Abteilung, (Storm Troopers). In 1923 the Stabswache (Headquarter Guards), was the first SS unit to adopt the Imperial Prussian Danziger style skull for wear on their headgear which was extended to all SS personnel in April 1925. In November 1925 personnel of the newly formed SS adopted a black Kepi to distinguish them from their SA counterparts and in 1927 the SS were the first to adopted the national eagle insignia for wear on their headgear. In 1932, the first black SS service visor caps were introduced for wear to replace the kepi as the standard headgear for all ranks. Originally, SS personnel wore the Danziger style skull and the political 1927 pattern national eagle on their visor caps. In an attempt to distance themselves from the SA, the SS introduced a new pattern cap skull to replace the previously used Danziger style skull on October 6TH 1934 and in February 1936 a new SS pattern national cap eagle was introduced. Both these pieces of insignia were worn through-out the war. Originally all ranks wore white piping on the visor caps until regulations of June 23RD 1934 introduced silver/aluminum piping for the ranks of SS-Oberführer up to the rank of Reichsführer-SS while the ranks of SS-Anwärter to SS-Standartenführer continued to utilize the white piping. Also originally all ranks utilized a blackened leather chinstrap until regulations of 1935 introduced silver/aluminum chincords for all officer’s ranks. In 1938 the first earth-grey versions of the service visor cap were introduced for wear with the newly introduced field-grey uniform and the first field-grey version caps followed in 1939. Although the Waffen-SS adopted waffenfarben, (Branch of Service Colors), in 1939 the appropriate waffenfarbe was only displayed as piping on the shoulder straps and the base of the shoulder boards. Regulations of May 10TH 1940 introduced assorted waffenfarbe piping for Waffen-SS visor caps for the ranks of SS-Anwärter to SS-Standartenführer but the order was rescinded on November 5TH 1940 and the white piping was reinstated for all ranks up to SS-Oberführer. After the outbreak of WWII the black service headgear were eventually phased out of wear for all but Allgemeine-SS personnel. SS Officers and certain senior NCO ranks were responsible for purchasing their own uniforms and headgear and as a result the SS established the SS-Kleiderkasse, (SS-Clothing Account), system in Munich in 1935. The Officers and certain senior NCO’s were allotted a one time clothing allowance from the government with the amount varying depending on the individuals rank. The Officers and certain senior NCO’s could also choose to purchase privately tailored garments of higher quality although the price may have been restrictive. With the rapid expansion of the Waffen-SS after the outbreak of the war the SS-Kleiderkasse also expanded to include no fewer then nine main offices with offices located in some of the occupied countries including, Poland, Norway, France, Czechoslovakia and Russia. The RZM, Reichzeugmeisterei, (National Equipment Quartermaster), was officially founded in June 1934 in Munich by the NSDAP, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, (National Socialist German Worker’s Party), as a Reich Hauptamt, (State Central Office), and was based on the earlier SA, Sturm Abteilung, (Storm/Assault Detachment), Quartermaster’s Department. The functions of the RZM were not only to procure and distribute items to Party formations, but also to approve chosen designs and to act as a quality control supervisor to ensure items manufactured for the Party met required specification and were standardized. Starting in late 1934 items manufactured for the SS came under the quality control of the RZM and were marked with an RZM/SS approval mark or tag. Of Note: In 1943 the Waffen-SS assumed full control over their uniform item production and no longer fell under the authority of the RZM.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Nice quality, private purchase, field-grey wool/tricot blend construction visor cap with a whipcord weave features a wide, black velvet centerband and white wool waffenfarbe piping to the top of the crown edge and both the top and bottom edges of the centerband. The front center of the cap has a silver washed, stamped alloy, SS pattern national eagle as introduced on February 15TH 1936. The nicely detailed, left facing eagle features out-stretched wings and is clutching an embossed, wreathed, canted, swastika in its talons. The front center of the centerband has a silver washed, stamped alloy ,SS style Totenkopf, (Death’s Head), and cross bones as introduced on October 6TH 1934. The skull features detailed eye and nose cut-outs, two rows of teeth and a bottom jaw, superimposed over crossed bones. The skull also has subtle cranium and bone detailing. The cap has a bright, twisted, silver/aluminum chin cord which is secured in place by two, small, silver washed, pebbled, alloy buttons. The cap has a extended, forward, black lacquered, vulcanfibre visor with a subtly raised lip near the forward edge. The interior of the cap is fully lined in a golden/tan rayon. Size marked 58. The interior of the cap also has a wide, tan leather sweatband. Excellent officer’s visor in near perfect condition showing only the expected light age.

GRADE ****1/2                             PRICE $

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