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.

Cap, Herringbone Twill (HBT)
Cap, Herringbone Twill (HBT).

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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.

Hat, Herringbone Twill (the Daisy Mae) adopted in 1941 to replace the similar blue denim fatigue hats and a short-lived khaki cotton hat.
Hat, Herringbone Twill (the Daisy Mae) adopted in 1941 to replace the similar blue denim fatigue hats and a short-lived khaki cotton hat.

OQMG photo of the Cap, Field, Cotton, M-1943 worn by soldier also trying out the new pile liner for the M-1943 Field Jacket.  The Korean War M-1951 olive drab cotton field cap was modified from the M1943; the visor was lengthened and the color changed to a different shade of OD
OQMG photo of the Cap, Field, Cotton, M-1943 worn by soldier also trying out the new pile liner for the M-1943 Field Jacket. The Korean War M-1951 olive drab cotton field cap was modified from the M1943; the visor was lengthened and the color changed to a different shade of OD.

Cap, Herringbone Twill (used by Army and USMC with EGA on front).  This field cap was very common during the entire war.  Its replacement, the M-1943 cap, was not widely distributed until well into 1945
Cap, Herringbone Twill (used by Army and USMC with EGA on front). This field cap was very common during the entire war. Its replacement, the M-1943 cap, was not widely distributed until well into 1945.

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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