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EM Krätzchen: WW1 German Field caps/Feldmutze

Article about: Anton, super caps ! I like the covers for your Pickelhaubes too ! your cammo band has the same markings as mine, 3rd Bavarian Army Korps 1917, great stuff, the markings in your "Dunkelb

  1. #1

    Default EM Krätzchen: WW1 German Field caps/Feldmutze

    Jon...lee is correct re/the buttonhole ribbon, I like the photographs...but sadly the field cap (Kratchen) is a repro, and unfortunatly not a good one...they were never lined in such a way, i.e. silk with a leather sweatband, the cockades are mismatched, the Reich being a "pronged" back NCO type and the "Prussian" a double ringed Officer type......they would never be worn together !....heres a couple of genuine ones for comparison, the first a "Wurttemburg" issued example (photo done in a rush !) with sewn on cockades, note the lining, canvas type material hand stitched in ! and the on an original there is no piping around the "red" band.
    Prost ! Steve.
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    "The German Army is the perfectly adapted, perfectly running Machine. The difference is that the Germans are organised with a view to War...with the cold, hard, practical and business-like purpose of winning victories."
    G.W. Steevens - The Daily Mail (1897)

  2. #2

    Default WW1 German field caps/Feldmutze.

    Gents, an short examination of the Imperial German field cap/Feldmutze/Kratzchen...I will cover only the basic field grey model 1907/1917 Kratzchen, the subject is most complex, with a crude "waffenfarbe" system in place upto 1915, most colours on shoulder straps indicating army corps not arm of service, the coloured cap band and piping on the field cap was the quick way to determine what branch of service the wearer was from, i.e. red for Infantry, black for Artillery, light blue for Train etc, etc. These caps are widely faked/reproduced, hopefully I can give some pointers to would be purchasers to enable them to make a decision as to authenticity. I am not an expert and this is more of a rough guide. The cap had a field grey wool body made up of four panels with a one piece round top, the panels being sewn up to form a seam on the front, back, and on each side. The cap would be lined with a white/off white calico lining with a seperate sewn-in sweatband of the same material, many reproductions do not have this feature (the better ones do !), and examples have been seen with silk type material in a variety of colours, some with/without a form of sweatband, usually of a leather type material, aviod !...A 3.2cm coloured band in combination with piping was incorperated around the bottom of the cap, the piping around both the crown and sometimes around the band, depending on the wearers branch of service (see attached colour plates on colour combinations).There were exceptions to the colour of the body of the cap, for Jager it was grey-green, mounted Jager-zu-pferde blue-green, Riflemen (Shutzen) it was grey-green like the Jagers but with a black band. Affixed to the front of the cap were two painted 2.5cm stamped metal cockades, the top one was allways the Reichskokarde, black/white/red, and directly underneath the State cockade, for example Prussian black/white/black (see the cockade colour table attached). These cockades were sewn to the cap during manufacture, before the lining was sewn in, so the thread was (when new) not visible, there was also added between the cockades and the field grey material a small square of red or black material almost as a filler. Do not worry if you can see thread visible on the inside of the sweatband where the cockades have been reapplied, this is common, as the cockades were succeptable to corrosion, snagging, and were often replaced in the field ! A word of warning, the cockades fitted to the field cap are reproduced...they are virtually inditinguishable from the real thing, it is only the patina and colour that can give them away...the red should be an "orangey" red, the the whole thing subdued with age. There are two types of cockades fitted to the cap, issue 2.5cm with two sew holes in the centre, and the so-called NCO type cockades, 2cm with double prongs on rear for affixing to cap. Some soldats removed there "State" cockades at the end of hostilities as a mark of disrespect for the abdicated Kaiser, just as some cut/snapped the crown off badges for the same reason.
    There was no stiffner fitted in the field cap, it was intended to be worn in its "pill box" form, although it is not unusual to see it worn like a beret or even a flat cap !
    As the cap was worn at or near the front lines, it soon became apparent that the brightly coloured bands were a good aiming point for the enemy ! so the Germany army issued a masking/camouflage band, approx 70cm long and the same width as the band, with a slit in the middle for the State cockade to displayed, most were marked with date and clothing store mark. These bands were adjustable with a metal slide-buckle at the rear, I have seen these "sewn" in place, on to the body of the cap, and some without the State cockade showing, personal taste ! I have included a shot of my cammo band, a Bavarian III Army Korps 1917 dated issue piece, the stamp and cockade opening together with the buckle adjuster can clearly be seen.
    The caps will be marked by regulation black ink issue stamps (Kammerstempel) to the lining, with all or a combination of the following, manufacturer, clothing store (B.A. stamp), size and quite possibly an owners name, although it is common for these markings to be part or fully obliterated by hard use, moisture etc. The B.A. stamp usually followed by a Roman number (indicating Army Korps) indicates the "Bekliedungsamt" literally "clothing department", other marks to include could be "J" or an "I" stamp, meaning the cap has been repaired and then re-issued, again it is common to see old marks struck out and new ones re-stamped.
    In 1917 a new model of cap was issued, the " Model 1917 Einheitsmutze" or universal cap.
    This cap was made in exactly the same way as the 07 model, but in keeping with the rather subdued uniforms of 1915/16 it was devoid of any colour, the bands and piping being replaced with an "Apple green" colour, (note; Bavaria used all field grey material), thus the masking band could be discontinued, as it was no longer required.All Jager,Jager-zu-pferde, and Shutzen continued to be issued with a grey-green/blue-green cap as before but with the universal apple green band and piping applied.
    Distinctive cap insignia was worn on all models of cap, a miniature deaths head on certain Hussar caps, Dragoner Eagle on certain Dragoon caps and adminstration and Chaplain badges on others, and not forgetting the "Edelweiss" and "Karpathian" badges for the Alpenkorps and Karpathiankorps respectivley, all of these badges are reproduced, and must be evaluated on there own merit.
    I hope this article helps you to make the right decision in the ever increasing world of collecting which today, unfortunatly is frought with danger....If you have a cap, please post..I have included a few tables for reference and some shots of my own model 07 and 1917 caps, notice the sewing of the liners to the body !....enjoy. Here is a link to an excellent site, and shows the huge amount of colour combinations on these caps, Kaiser's Bunker Imperial German Cloth Headgear Guide
    p.s. if there is ANYTHING I have missed out, or more pointers to identifying fake caps please add to this thread, I intend to make it a sticky, so that it is allways available for your information.
    The "Karpathiankorps" cap is not mine, I cannot attribute it to anyone as I do not know who owns it ! it is shown for its rarity and clearly shows the "piece" of material usually placed between the cockade and body during production. I will be happy to attribute if the owner contacts me or delete if required to do so, it is for reference only.
    Post script....many thanks to the owner of the superb "Karpathenkorps" kratzchen for allowing the photographs to be used in this post, member flasheart (Mike) thanks !
    Prost ! Steve.
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    Last edited by oradour; 12-23-2011 at 11:20 PM.
    "The German Army is the perfectly adapted, perfectly running Machine. The difference is that the Germans are organised with a view to War...with the cold, hard, practical and business-like purpose of winning victories."
    G.W. Steevens - The Daily Mail (1897)

  3. #3

    Default re: EM Krätzchen: WW1 German Field caps/Feldmutze

    As promised, here are a couple in my collection;



    Unmarked, but the camo band that came with it, is marked.



    My pre-war;



    marked with the VI Army Corp clothing repair;



    They set this part of the collection off nicely.


  4. #4

    Default re: EM Krätzchen: WW1 German Field caps/Feldmutze

    Anton, super caps ! I like the covers for your Pickelhaubes too ! your cammo band has the same markings as mine, 3rd Bavarian Army Korps 1917, great stuff, the markings in your "Dunkelblau" cap are just what I wanted to see, a repair depot stamp..."J", thanks for showing. Jon, I like the look of the "corduroy" cap, a lot of these were private purchase items and there fore dont conform to the norm, this one looks to have sported Officer cockades, which would be correct, its blue band and piping show it to be from a "Train (Supply) Battalion.....These too are reproduced, so further evaluation is needed to confirm authenticity (a lot more photographs) .
    Prost ! Steve.
    "The German Army is the perfectly adapted, perfectly running Machine. The difference is that the Germans are organised with a view to War...with the cold, hard, practical and business-like purpose of winning victories."
    G.W. Steevens - The Daily Mail (1897)

  5. #5
    ?

    Default re: EM Krätzchen: WW1 German Field caps/Feldmutze

    Hello Gentlemen,
    Bought this Kratzschenmütze at the weekend its my first one, hope its o.k..I believe it to be a 1st Model,I know next to nothing about these,I did look through the thread for another one and some information. Do members have any information on the cockades, i.e which German State its from,the inside has no markings could it be from a artillery unit.I was thinking the red piping around the top of the mütze. Any information welcome.
    Regards
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  6. #6

    Default re: EM Krätzchen: WW1 German Field caps/Feldmutze

    AlecH, you have a nice original Model 1867 Kratzchen, it is an Infantry cap, there was no system of Waffenfarbe in the German Army until 1915, the arm of service on these caps was denoted by two factors, the colour of the central band, black was specialist troops (artillery, Pioneers etc) and by the colour of the body , for example Dark Green/red band was Jager/Schutzen troops, but ALL caps had the red piping around the crown. This cap was worn upto the introduction of the M1907 field gray version, and was still being worn by certain 2nd and 3rd rate troops upto the end of the Great War ! (the dark blue tunic was also worn upto the end of the war, mainly back in the garrison ).....however your cap has wrong cockades fitted (common), they are "Double ringed" officer style cockades, the top one the Reichscockade, (introduced 1897), the bottom one is a "Baden", post 1915 style cockade, these only being fitted to an officers peaked cap, see top cap in post #18 of this thread. It should have cockades that are either sewn to the cap or NCO "pronged" type cockades, I show these types in the attached photographs (one shows the cockades affixed to a M07 cap, they are the same).
    Hope this helps,
    Prost ! Steve.
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    "The German Army is the perfectly adapted, perfectly running Machine. The difference is that the Germans are organised with a view to War...with the cold, hard, practical and business-like purpose of winning victories."
    G.W. Steevens - The Daily Mail (1897)

  7. #7

    Default Re: WW1 German field caps/Feldmutze.

    Here a Mutze that I thought everyone would enjoy seeing. I lost out on the bidding on ebay, but save the photos. below is the discription on the listing.

    WW1 Australian Soldier's P.O.W. Pork Pie Hat as worn as per WW1 P.O.W. in German Camp. Just issued or taken from stores as he left, one of the rarest WW1 German pieces of headgear, as is all P.O.W. clothing which was normally filthy and thrown away. K.G. means Prisoner of War (Kreigs Gefangnus). Stamps inside as shown in last photo.











    Anton

  8. #8

    Default re: EM Krätzchen: WW1 German Field caps/Feldmutze

    if I remember correctly it went for $450.-550. on ebay Australia.

    Anton

  9. #9
    ?

    Default re: EM Krätzchen: WW1 German Field caps/Feldmutze

    Steve,

    Your primer was a very good overview of the enlisted Feldmütze. I would only disagree about one thing and that is that all issue caps started out with the cockards sewn on before the lining was added. While this was generally the case, it was not always true. I have unissued caps with one sewn through and the other not. Also, I think some caps were issued with the prong back cockades. I have an un-worn Hessian that has a sewn-on national cockade and a prong backed Hessian. Certainly not the norm or regulation, but done, all the same. Here is the Hessian, marked to the IR168.

    ChipClick image for larger version. 

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  10. #10

    Default Re: WW1 German field caps/Feldmutze.

    Hello, I just saw your post. The Karpathenkorps kratzchen belongs to me, although a lot of people are trying to get their hands on that piece! I have no problem with you using the image in your post.

    Mike

    The "Karpathiankorps" cap is not mine, I cannot attribute it to anyone as I do not know who owns it ! it is shown for its rarity and clearly shows the "piece" of material usually placed between the cockade and body during production. I will be happy to attribute if the owner contacts me or delete if required to do so, it is for reference only.[/QUOTE]

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