Officer's Headdress

The Dress Cap (Schirmmütze)

The Schirmmütze worn by officers was of the same design as that worn by Enlisted Men, with the notable exceptions of being made of higher quality materials, and adorned with metal cap cords rather than a chin strap.  The cap cords were retained by a button on each side of the peak, and both button and cord were in silver coloured aluminum for all officers up to the rank of Oberst, and for all generals in gilt. 

Piping for officers was in Waffenfarbe, while for Generals, regardless of branch, piping was in gold.

Schirmmütze - Officer's

A white piped Schirmmütze.  This example has cloth badges; note the edge to the peak.

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This crown of this Schirmmütze is made from high quality wool; compare to the gabardine-type material used in the cap shown above, and the doeskin-type material shown below.  sigcap.jpg (14243 bytes)
Schirmmütze - General's

A very fine quality Schirmmütze as worn by an Army General.

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Insignia for the Schirmmütze

Insignia for the Schirmmütze consisted of an eagle device, a Reich cockade surrounded by a wreath of oakleaves, and a set of cap cords secured by a button.   These devices were all in white metal/aluminum.  Before 1 January 1943, Army Generals also wore white metal eagles, cockades and wreaths on the Schirmmütze, after which they were ordered to wear gold.

Metal cap eagles were worn, attached to the crown by metal prongs on the back of the eagle.

Below are examples of a white metal officers' eagle (left) and a gilt general's eagle (right).  As with many widely issued items of German insignia, there are many slight variations to be found between individual samples.

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The oak leaf wreath were also rendered in both white metal (below, left) for officers and gilt (below, right, for Generals.
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The cockade was a three dimensional insignia, representing the state colours of red, white and black.  The red centre was displayed through a cutout in the white metal body of the cockade, and was either cloth or pressed paper.  Generals wore the same white-metal cockade as Officers.  Cockades worn on caps by German soldiers during the First World War had come in many different colours, showing the colours of the State that the wearer belonged to (ie Bavaria, Saxony, Prussia, etc.)

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Cap cords and buttons were done in aluminum for officers and gilt for Generals.

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The Officer's Old Style Field Cap (die Offizierfeldmütze älterer Art)  - "Crusher"

The Old Style Field Cap (universally called a "crusher" by collectors today) was similar in appearance to the Schirmmütze, but varied in many ways.  There was no stiffening to the crown of the Old style Field Cap, the peak was of soft black leather with no molded rim, and capcords were not worn.   The cap was piped in waffenfarbe (or in gold, for generals) in the same manner as the Schirmmütze, but insignia was generally cloth - either BEVO quality embroidery, or hand-embroidered metal wire.  This type of cap was intended to be worn only until 1 April 1942, when the new style field cap described below was to officially supplant it, but the cap was so popular it remained in use by many officers until the end of the war. panzercrush2.jpg (10810 bytes)

Permission was granted to German officers to "upgrade" their Old Style Field Cap with the addition of cap cords.

Old Style Field Cap

An Old Style Field Cap with rose pink piping; insignia is a mixture of bullion embroidery (the eagle) and BEVO quality.

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An Old Style Field Cap withwhite piping, with silver BEVO eagle and wreath/cockade. crushbevo.jpg (12856 bytes)

An Old Style Field Cap with cap cords and buttons added.  This example is piped in red, and the insignia is in bullion wire.
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Insignia for the Old Style Field Cap

Generally speaking, cloth insignia was used on the Old Style Field Cap, either in BEVO embroidery or metal wire.

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Wire embroidered cap eagle.

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Above - two examples of wire embroided insignia.  At left, both the wreath and the cockade are rendered in wire; at right the wreath has been done in wire, but the cockade is the standard metal device from the Schirmmütze.  Below, the one piece BEVO quality badge (this unissued example has not had the background folded back/trimmed away.)

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Gold wire embroidered General's insignia.  Again, note the cockade is in state-colours. gencap.jpg (29409 bytes)

The Officer's New Style Field Cap (die Offizierfeldmütze neuer Probe)

The New Style Field Cap (sometimes referred to as an "M38" by collectors) was introduced in 1938, and while it was intended to eventually replace the Old Style Cap described above, it never fully did so.  The cap was very similar to the Feldmütze introduced for wear by Enlisted Men, though of higher quality materials and with piping on the crown and front of the turn up (silver for officers and gold for generals).

Other Field Caps

As the German Army introduced its range of field caps both before, and during the war (full details are listed on the Enlisted Men's headdress page), German officers adopted an officer's pattern of most of them - signified by the addition of silver piping, as well as officers' quality insignia (ie silver wire or bullion rather than grey thread - though enlisted insignia was sometimes used instead).

Generals were given more latitude in what type of headdress they wore, but they too adopted most of the field cap designs - usually with the addition of gold piping, buttons and insignia.  Individual eccentricities (such as, for example, the addition of gold cap cords to the M43 cap) were not unheard of either.

Note that in some of the photographs below, even lower ranking officers wore headgear with variations in the placement of officer's piping.

Officer's New Style Field Service Cap
(die Offizierfeldmütze neuer Probe)

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Major Gerhard Pick, swords holder; his example has officer's silver piping running the length of the fold-down flap, with no piping on the crown.

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Generalmajor Schultz, swords holder, in black officer's cap.

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("Panzer Beret")

While there was no "officer's" version of the Schutzmütze, BEVO insignia in silver thread was used by officers, as opposed to the grey embroidered versions worn by enlisted men.

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"M42" (Feldmütze)

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Friedrich Hoehne, oakleaves holder; the silver piping on his headdress appears to be confined to the crown, with none on the false turndown.

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Einheitsfeldmütze ("M43")
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Oberstleutnant Erich Schmidt, oakleaves holder, wearing the black ("panzer") version of the officers' Einheitsfeldmütze - the piping on the fold down flap is unusual.

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INSIGNIA for Field Caps

Embroidered bullion insignia was worn on the Feldmütze by officers, as well as silver BEVO embroidered badges.  As well, Enlisted Men's insignia was very often worn.  The full range of Enlisted Men's cap insignia is shown on a seperate page.

Silver bullion insignia for the Feldmütze.

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Silver BEVO cap eagle. offcapbul.jpg (12258 bytes)
A mixture of insignia; a standard Enlisted Men's cap eagle combined with a bullion cockade.  Note the details of the officer's piping, as well as the "Russia braid" waffenfarbe piping.

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This "M42" cap has the T-shaped insignia worn by Enlisted Men.

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This Einheitsfeldmütze has the standard Enlisted Men's trapezoid.

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Below and right; an Einheitsfeldmütze as worn by an Army General; note the gold piping and gilt buttons, combined with a standard trapezoid insignia.

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