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Headgear -
WWII Nazi German Waffen SS EM/NCO'S M43 Field Cap Einheitsfeldmütze M43
Item #: VF4622
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Field-gray, Italian, wool/tricot blend construction cap features fold down back and side panels with a scalloped front edge and forward sides, and a single button front closure. Back and side panels were designed to be folded down to protect the wearers ears and neck and the scalloped front section could be secured with the button closed under the wearers chin. The front center has a 1934 pattern, machine woven Totenkopf in silvery/gray threads with black accents threads on a cut-out woven black rayon base. Both the eagle and the Totenkopf are neatly, original, hand stitched to the cap. Cap has an extended, cloth covered, forward visor with internal stiffener with raised lip to top of forward edge and a single row of reinforcement stitching to bottom of forward edge. Interior of cap is fully lined in brown cotton/rayon. Faint marking size 57.
The Allgemeine-SS, (General-SS), was originally formed in May 1923 as the Stosstrupp Adolf Hitler (Shock Troops Adolf Hitler), and was redesignated Schutz Staffel, (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/Assault Detachment), 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. The field-grey M43 field cap was originally introduced in the German army on June 11TH 1943 as a replacement cap for other field caps then in use and was adopted for wear in the Waffen-SS on October 1ST 1943. The design of the M43 field cap was based on the earlier M42 Feldmütze, (Overseas cap), and the Mountain Troopers Bergmütze, (Mountain Cap), with minor variations. On its introduction a black version was also introduced for wear by Panzer personnel. Officer’s M43 field caps from the rank of SS-Untersturmführer up to Reichsführer-SS, were distinguished from EM/NCO’s caps by the addition of silver piping to the top crown edge and, on occasion, to the scalloped forward edge of the fold down panels as well. Generally the early versions of the M43 cap came with a two button front retainer while the later versions reduced it to a single button. The insignia utilized on the M43 field caps consisted of the SS pattern Totenkopf, (Death’s Head), as introduced in October 1934 and the SS pattern national eagle as introduced in February 1936. The cap insignia could be applied to the front center of the cap in one or two pieces, or separately with the Totenkopf applied to the front center and the eagle applied to the left side panel although it appears that both pieces of insignia applied to the front center was the most common application. 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, (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 choose to purchase privately tailored garments and headgear of higher quality although the price may have been restrictive. Of Note: With the fall of Germany’s Italian allies as a result of Mussolini’s deposition and imprisoned on July 25TH 1943 and the subsequent Italian unconditional surrender to the allied forces on September 8TH 1943 the Germans appropriated large stockpiles of Italian clothing and equipment. As a result a large percentage of later Waffen-SS uniforms and headgear items, primarily Officer’s versions, were manufactured in the field-grey Italian material.
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