Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bundeswehr Schiffchen, West German Army Garrison Caps

Today's posting is of the grand daddy of all hat hauls............. Ein hundert Schiffchen! One hundred Bundeswehr garrison caps! The "official" German name for these hats are "Schiffchen", translated as , "Little Ships".

I had the opportunity to pick up a HUGE pile of German Bundeswehr garrison caps for the normal price of just a couple of them. How could I pass that chance up? Anyway, the hats arrived yesterday, all 17 pounds of them. They were sold as "original, unissued", but when I started sorting through the bundles, I discovered that there were 20 hats that are in "used but clean" condition. Nearly all of the new hats have a manufacturer date of 1990, with a few from the late 1980's. The used ones range from 1981 to about 1989. I am guessing that this style of hat has been discontinued by the German Army and now the last of the warehouse stock is being dumped on the market.

In looking over these hats, I noticed that there is a wide variation in the color of the cloth linings but the moleskin exteriors seem pretty close together shade-wise. All of the hats are size 60, with many of the used hats originally stamped with larger sizes and then later crossed out and hand written with size 60. I am guessing that the hats shrink with washing and drying and that these hats were bundled for re-issue after they were checked for the "actual size" after shrinking. All of the hats were tied in bundles of 10. Some with rubber bands (which had nearly disintegrated) and some with string.

In this photo you can see the variation in colors in the lining cloth.

These hats are not often seen in photographs of Bundeswehr troops and soldiers, so finding a good historic photo or two has been tough. In the field, it appears that the panzer troops tended to wear them more often, with the occasional field officer as well (for the army at least). Most of the photos that show soldiers wearing the garrison caps are in a barracks setting. The Luftwaffe and German Navy have their own versions and they seem to have been worn much more often while on active field duty.

In the barracks, 1982.Early Bundeswehr panzer troops.

Even Sweet Pea got in on the action! As you can see, we're both on the same team!


Heavypsychmanblog said...

Nice find

I've got a M43 style hat of this same colour and material. The jackets of this same series are very popular aswell.

The current flecktarn overseas caps and M43 style hats are cheap used.

Got one of them aswell

Dr. Strange said...

i have one of these garrison caps from 1979 its a bit to small for me though