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WW II Field Caps
The field cap (or utility cap) became very widespread for general use in World War II, commonly associated with the ordinary soldier. Several types were in use, changing as the war progressed and uniforms were updated.
Field Caps for the World War II Soldier
There were many field caps used during World War II, within the Army and other services. The first were the "Daisy Mae" fatigue hats, made in blue denim in the 1930s, then replaced by OD cotton and finally by herringbone twill (HBT) in 1941. The Field Caps were of a general design that included a separate bill in front and a cylinder shaped cap instead of the dome shape (baseball cap) style. They did not have fur or other provisions for winter weather, but did have an ear covering that folded up into the cap when not in use. When the M-1943 Field Jacket was issued, the "Cap, Field, Cotton, M-1943" was issued with it, intended to replace all prior designs.
The most common Field Caps of World War II are shown here. Other designs were used by the various services for various purposes, but these are the ones that will be seen most frequently in photographs or in use by re-enactment groups.
Cold Weather Field Cap, the "Cap, Field, Pile, OD"
For cold weather the M-1943 Field Cap was inadequate. Furthermore, in the interest of simplified supply, the Quartermaster wanted to replace multiple other cold weather caps and hats with one design. For this purpose, "a pile cap of improved military characteristics was designed" according to a OQMG report. The "Cap, Field, Pile, OD" consisted of a wind resistant, water repellant olive drab poplin outer shell with a pile lining and ear flaps for warmth (photo, left). It had a draw cord closure and a flexible visor, also pile lined, that could be worn up or down. While it did not offer as much protection as the lamb skin hats then in service, it was much easier and less expensive to manufacture. The pile cap also replaced the fur lined hoods and the wool knit toque.
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