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L018160 FUR & LEATHER WINTER CAP. (Pelz und Leder Mütze)

BACKGROUND: The severe cold encountered on the Russian front in the winter of 1941/42 found the Germans completely unprepared not only in heat retaining cold weather garments but also snow camouflage garments. This resulted in numerous, hastily improvised and makeshift heat retaining and snow camouflage items being utilized including everything from civilian winter clothing to white bed sheets. After the winter of 1941/42 the Oberkommando des Wehrmacht, (High Command of the Armed Forces), recognized the need for heavier winter clothing and testing began in the spring of 1942 to develop suitable garments. In April 1942 Hitler approved the chosen design, and the first models were issued in the autumn of that year, included assorted winter fur caps. The fur caps were a standard issue item and were distributed to all EM/NCO’s for the winter season, (September 15TH to April 15TH), with other winter garments and were to be returned to the unit’s storage depot at the end of the season for storage, repair and cleaning to be reissued the following September. Originally Officers and senior NCO’s responsible for purchasing their own uniforms and headgear were required to purchase the new winter garments until regulations of December 1942 extended the issue winter clothing to all ranks in the colder theatres of operation. Although there was no official standard model of the fur cap the most commonly encountered type followed the basic pattern of the Mountain and M43 caps with fold down back and side panels designed to protect the wearer’s ears and neck. Of Note: Examples of this type of cap are photographed in J.R. Angolia’s & A. Schlicht’s book, Uniforms & Traditions of the Luftwaffe, Volume II pages 358 and 359 and J. Halcomb’s & W.P.B.R. Saris’s book, Headgear of Hitler’s Germany Volume I page 343.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Nice quality, multi-panel, patch work, whitened sheep skin construction winter cap with the hide to the exterior and white sheep’s wool to the interior. The cap features fold down side and back panels with the panels held in position at the top of the cap by a thread loop and a corresponding molded tan bakelite button. The thread loop has torn and a button eyelet has been cut into the left side, fold down panel. When the side and back panels are in the upright position the sheep’s wool is visible to the exterior. The back and side panels were designed to be folded down to protect the wearer’s ears and neck and the panels could be secured with the fabric loop and button closed under the wearer’s chin as required. The fold down side panels each have a small circular cut-out with a corresponding, overlapping, horizontal, "U" shaped closure panel with a single, brown painted, sheet metal "Prym", closure snap to each. The side panels also have an additional male snap enabling the horizontal, "U" shaped closure panels to be secured in the open or closed position as required. The bottom edge of the fold down side and back panels are trimmed in ribbed, white cotton/rayon blend material. The front center of the cap has a machine embroidered, second pattern, (Circa 1936/1937-1945), Luftwaffe eagle, clutching a canted swastika in one talon, in silvery/grey rayon threads on a cut-out Luftwaffe blue/grey wool base positioned above a machine embroidered, national tri-color cockade in black, white and red rayon threads. Both the eagle and the cockade are neatly handstitched to the cap. The cap has an extended, forward visor with a white leather top and a light weight, white cotton bottom with an internal stiffener. The forward edge of the visor shows moderate to heavy chafe wear resulting in a few small tears which reveal the slightly wrinkled, internal cardboard stiffener. The interior of the cap is fully lined in white sheep’s wool. The interior of the cap has a small, orange fabric tag machine stitched in place with a black size inkstamp, "55", the date, "1943", and an RB number. Of Note: The RB numbers, Reichsbetriebnummer, (National factory code numbers), were introduced in late 1942 and were intended to replace the manufacturers marks on garments and equipment to conceal the manufactures name and location from the allies, to prevent bombing raids on German industrial factories. The cap is in overall fairly good, condition with light to moderate age and usage toning and what appears to be some dark, heat induced staining.

GRADE ***1/4                             PRICE $370.00

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