Thursday, August 19, 2010
East German M-43 Hats
On the same day the Panzer Jacket showed up, I received a shipment of two batches of "German Work Hats". I made a bulk purchase of size medium and size large hats, 10 hats in each size. The sizes ended up being euro 57 and 60. The hats are brand new and have never been issued.
I am fairly certain that these hats were produced for the East German Army at the very end of the cold war, just before the army was disbanded and the two Germany's were re-unified. For four months, from July 1990 to October, 1990, the East Germans used a crude copy of the West German target cockade instead of the communist emblem on their hats. The army was hoping that they would have a place in the new, re-unified Germany, but that was not to be the case. On Oct. 3, 1990, all of East Germany's armed forces and state police were officially disbanded and all of their uniforms and equipment declared surplus.
These hats are the identical cut and color of the original WW2 German Afrika Korps, M-43 caps that were used by Field Marshal Rommel's troops in North Africa and the Mediterranean. The target cockade is a quick and crude copy of the West German Army's cockade and matches the ones found on other documented, end of the cold war East German Hats. East Germany used the WW2, M-43 hats at various times throughout their history. The labels only state the size and that they are 100% cotton........ no other markings, which would fit for hats that were quickly produced to issue out to the East German troops so they would "fit in" with the West Germans.
These hats are also very unique in that they are a "exact copy" of the old WW2 style and are also the last hats used in that awkward four month end of the East German Army.
I will probably end up turning one of the hats into an Afrika Korp replica (even the cloth color is correct!). The fate of the other hats is still pending at the moment.................
Here's a shot of "The Desert Fox", Field Marshal Rommel, with some of his command soldiers who can be seen wearing the Afrika Korp M-43 caps: