S009588 OFFICER'S M43 FIELD CAP. (Einheitsfeldmütze M43 für Führer)

BACKGROUND: The Allgemeine-SS, (General-SS), was originally formed in May 1923 as the Stosstrupp Adolf Hitler (Shock Troops), and re-designated, SS, 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, (Armored), 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. 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. Of Note: The SS had established the SS-Bekleidungs Werke, (SS-Clothing Works) in Dachau as early as 1935 and by 1943 the Dachau works and an additional clothing works at Ravensbrück were producing roughly 20% of SS uniforms and headgear 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. Also Of Note: In a daring raid on September 13TH 1943 Mussolini was rescued by the Germans and under Hitler’s forceful encouragement began formation of the puppet fascist RSI, Repubblica Sociale Italiana, (Italian Social Republic), on September 17TH 1943, in a failed attempt to restore fascism to Italy. The RSI along with the GNR, La Guardia Nazionale Repubblicana, (Republican National Guard), which was formed on November 20TH 1943, continued to fight in Italy under German command. Also Of Note: There seems to have been some confusion as to the type of piping utilized on Officer’s M43 caps as we have encountered numerous period caps with white piping instead of the regulation silver piping.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Field-grey, Italian, wool/tricot blend construction cap with a subtle whipcord weave features fold down back and side panels with a downward scalloped front edge and forward sides and a single, molded, tan bakelite button front closure. The back and side panels were designed to be folded down to protect the wearer’s ears and neck and the scalloped front section could be secured with the button closed under the wearer’s chin. The top edge of the crown is trimmed in age and usage dulled, bright, interwoven, silver/aluminum braiding. The front center of the cap features a machine woven Totenkopf in silvery/grey rayon threads with black accents threads on a cut-out, woven, black rayon base. Totenkopf IS neatly handstitched to the cap, but looks to be restored. The cap has an extended, cloth covered, forward visor with an internal stiffener with a subtly raised lip to the top of the forward edge and a single row of reinforcement stitching to the bottom of the forward edge. The interior of the cap is fully lined in rayon. The lining is well marked with a couple of blurred, partially illegible, black inkstamps that include a 1955 date indicating the cap was utilized by the Czechoslovakian State Film works after the war. Size marked 55. Nice worn and used example showing the expected age and wear.

GRADE ****                             PRICE $2,895.00

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