Luftwaffe Panzer Crew Headgear
By Willi Schumacher
Black Panzer Headgear
In the timeframe of 1938 when the Army was using the black panzer beret, the motorized units of the Regiment Hermann Göring also acquired them for use. These were found to be quite cumbersome and were discarded before the beginning of the war. The more practical cap, the overseas, was used instead. Later, with the development of the M1943 field cap, a black panzer model was manufactured for the armored crews. This cap was found less practical in armored vehicles because the visor often got in the way when sighting the gun or observing through the periscopes.
The Black Panzer Overseas Cap
The overseas caps for use in the armored vehicles was the same style as the Luftwaffe "Schiffchen", or boat shape, overseas cap manufactured in the blue-gray wool. It was made of black wool and officers wore silver cord piping around the top of the turn up. Their national emblem insignia consisted of either silver bullion or machine-woven aluminum wire thread. The tri-color roundel was executed in the same processes. Both pieces of insignia were originally placed on blue-gray wool backing but was replaced with matching black wool backing later. Enlisted insignia was manufactured by machine-weaving or machine-embroidering using white thread on a black wool backing.
The Black Panzer M1943 Field Cap
This cap was manufactured in black wool and came principally in the two-button model. There were two metal pebble-finished buttons on the front of the cap, which held the two ends of the chin section of the pull down earmuffs. Officer caps had buttons in a silver finish and enlisted in a blue-gray painted finish. Officer caps had aluminum piping around the crown and the two-piece insignia was either manufactured using the silver bullion or machine-woven in aluminum wire thread process. Enlisted two-piece insignia was manufactured in either the machine-woven or machine-embroidered process. Both officer and enlisted insignia were executed on a black wool backing.