Original German WWII 1943 Dated Eastern Front Rabbit Fur Winter Hat in size 56 - RBNR. Marked
Original Item: Only One Available. After the catastrophic winter of 1941-42 on the Eastern Front, the German military rapidly designed improved cold weather clothing. By the Fall of 1942, a variety of fur lined caps had been introduced. There were no standardized "model numbers", but this version is a commonly encountered pattern. It has a fieldgray wool body, which is lined with rayon fabric, and a visor and fold down ear flaps backed with rabbit fur. The flaps are held in the "up" (open) position by a single button (replacement button). The flaps can be tied under the wearer's chin via cloth ties.
The visor is tack stitched open and is rarely seen in in the "down" position. Many soldiers pinned or sewed insignia to it as is seen here. Most often encountered are the metal visor cap badges - the Heer Reichsadler Eagle (as seen on this example) or the SS skull.
This fine example is offered in very good condition with 99% of the fur intact, interior lining is clean and undamaged. Unfortunately the stitching that secures the liner to the outer shell has pulled out about 40% of the way around the hat, but this looks to be more from a stitching run than damage. It could easily be repaired by some skilled sewing. The top button that holds the flaps in their "up" position is intact, as are the ties that allow them to be secured in the "down" position.
The interior lining is ink stamped with a variety of information, including a date and RBNR information:
This gives the maker information, size, and date, something we rarely see on these. Usually it is just the size without the other information.
These have become very hard to find on the market today and even decent reproductions sell for hundreds of dollars. Ready to display!
More on the RBNr. System:
Reichsbetriebsnummer or RB number (also represented as RB Nr or Rbnr). Before the war, the Germans set up a system for registering and recording the factory information, the Reichsbetriebskartei. This was to help enable machine tabulation of facts and figures. It was from this that the Reichsbetriebsnummer came into being. The Reichsministerium für Rüstung und Kriegsproduktion (Ministry for Armaments and War Production) files survive today in the Bundesarchiv, however, these are only fragmentary. There is a holding file from the working group created by the Office of Machine Reporting in the Armament Office of the Reich Ministry for Armaments and War Production - their main focus was the operations of the industry group for which an economic interest was Armour production. This index provides information on the most important data of the companies covered by it, production profile, operating area, number of employees and the responsible operator.
As a prerequisite for the intended use of the punch-card method in the armaments industry, it was this system which gave rise to the Rbnr. The operating numbers were assigned by the competent local district offices of Machine reporting. (Bezirksstellen des Maschinellen Berichtswesens.) The index is in the form of index cards that are accessible numerically (approximately 14 meters of index cards!). Access to this register is only possible through the naming of this company, stating the place of production. The Reichsministerium für Rüstung und Kriegsproduktion files have multiple entries on the introduction of the factory and also the lot no.
The Rbnr code was used from 1943 onwards and replaced the makers name and address (or company logo) on government contract uniforms, caps and field equipment and knives. It is either rubber ink stamped on cloth or die stamped onto leather & metal items. It has been written countless times that this numeric code system was introduced as a security measure to help mask production locations. This was not the case but it was perhaps, a helpful by- product of the system. It is not unknown to find the Rbnr together with the maker’s info. Had it been a security measure, clearly this practise would have been banned.
So what was the Rbnr? It was a nine digit number and was normally represented thus: RB Nr: 0/000/0000.
The first prefix number could range from 0 through to 9. This number determined the membership of the various groups in the realm of Trade and Industry (Reichsgruppenleitzahl)
• 0 Industry
• 1 Crafts
• 2 Commercial wholesale trading companies
• 3 Banking
• 4 Insurance Companies
• 5 Energy (Electrical companies and such)
• 6 Tourism (Including Hotels, Wine and Mineral Water companies)
• 7 Traffic
• 8 Food Industry
• 9 Not otherwise mentioned groups
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