BACKGROUND: In late 1940, with the impending German entrance into the North African campaign, tropical uniforms, headgear and equipment were quickly developed and issued in time for DAK, Deutsches Afrika Korps, (German Africa Corps), personnelís arrival in Tripoli in February 1941. One of the new headgear items introduced was the tropical pith helmet which was based on the design of the earlier Kriegsmarine pith helmet. On its introduction the pith helmet was constructed of a formed cork base with a cotton twill covering until a second pattern pith helmet was introduced with a formed cork base with a felt covering. The second pattern pith helmet followed the same basic design as the first pattern but was modified to ease production time and material costs. Wear of the pith helmets was extended to personnel serving in southern areas of continental Europe but the helmets proved ineffective and unpopular and manufacture was discontinued sometime in 1942. On introduction the tropical pith helmets were outfitted with a national eagle and national tri-color identification shields.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Luftwaffe issue tropical pith helmet that has been re-badged to a Heer example. Formed cork core covered in a ribbed, olive drab cotton twill. The helmet features a six panel, vertically seamed, tan cotton twill crown with a horizontal band machine stitched at the rear center at the juncture of the crown and the all around visor. The top center of the crown has a raised, removable, cotton twill covered, circular, alloy knob with three semi-circular, cut-out ventilation holes. The all around visor is shorter at the front and consists of a formed cork core with a two piece, tan cotton twill covering with vertical machine stitched seams at each side. The forward edge of the visor is trimmed with machine stitched on tan leather. The bottom edge of the all around visor brim is lined in light weight, olive drab linen and the interior crown is lined in light weight red cotton. Chinstrap is complete. The interior of the helmet has a tan leather sweatband, stitched to a pressed cardboard liner band. Nicely maker marked and size marked 56. Comes with a nice pair of Heer aluminum tropical helmet shields. The re-badging could be wartime done or also after the war, impossible to say 100% either way. The Luftwaffe piths are harder to find than the Heer examples.

GRADE ****1/4                             PRICE $399.00

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