The second most predominant item of Heer tropical soft headgear was based on the M-34 / 38 overseas cap, nicknamed in German army slang as Schiffchen, or literally ‘little ship’ as it resembled an up-turned row-boat. It lacked a peak or visor, and was made in the same cotton as the M-40 'Afrikamutze' cap. The production of these also started in 1940. The schiffchen had one eyelet per side as opposed to two, but utilized the same brown enameled stock as the M-40.
As with the continental wool version, the tropical overseas cap had turn-down sides, but these could not be folded down to cover the ears for cold weather protection because they were stitched in the front and back. The cap was also lined with red cotton, the sides being the last to be sewn in place. The insignia was sewn to the shell before the lining was added, and used exactly the same eagle, roundel and soutache as the M-40 'Afrikamutze'. From 1943 onwards, as with the M-40 billed cap, the eagle can be seen to be sewn on some examples on a triangular backing, This was a simple measure to speed up production, although it tended to lend the cap with a less attractive appearance.
The overseas cap was popular with armored vehicle crews due to the lack of a visor, which would get in the way of using optical equipment and continual banging against the sides, equipment, hatches and other obstructions in closely confined work spaces like tanks and armored vehicles. Due to their very utilitarian and somewhat unflattering appearance, the overseas cap never gained the affection that the M-40 evoked from those who wore them. These M-34 / 38 Pattern Tropical caps also have an important place in any tropical uniform collection.
Unissued Heer tropical pattern overseas cap worn by NCO & enlisted ranks in the DAK and southern Europe. Styled after the 1934 pattern, it is produced in olive-brown cotton twill with a functional flap & tan enameled alloy vent grommets. The front has neatly machine sewn tropical pattern Heer eagle and Kokarde with a machine sewn bright Pink (Panzer / Anti-tank) soutace. The interior has a liner of lightweight red cotton cloth that's well marked with RbR number, size 55 and date. Out of a large Italian cache found in the early 1980’s. Many of them had factory applied soutache and others did not. Technically the soutache was abolished in August of 1942,so those dated later are usually suspect of having reapplied soutache. This example retains both flap tack stitches (normally missing on reapplications) and the soutache is applied in a “sloppy” manner that some collectors prefer. Shows minor shelf wear, age toning, a few spots of minor soiling or mildew and few wrinkles from long storage. Condition II+
Below is a video that we found while searching Youtube that might be of interest to collectors. Note the cap in the video doesn't have "waffenfarbe" soutasche.
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