Original German WWII Luftwaffen Pioniere EM-NCO M38 Overseas Wool Cap - Schiffchen

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice service worn example of a German WWII Luftwaffe M38 Overseas cap (Schiffchen), as worn by Enlisted men and NCOs (EM-NCO). The overseas cap, nicknamed in German military slang as "Schiffchen", or literally "little ship" as it resembled an up-turned row-boat, was standard issue for the Luftwaffe for most occasions.

The cap is constructed of the correct Luftwaffe Fliegerblau (Flyer's Blue) blue gray wool exterior, and features a fine embroidered eagle and tri-color cockade sewn to the front. The stitching does not go into the interior, so they look to be original. It features a faded light blue lining that looks to be a cotton rayon blend. There is black piping around the top of the cap which is an indication of the Luftwaffen-Pioniere engineer corps. This is the first example we have received with the piping in this location, making for an excellent research project.

The condition of the cap is good, but it definitely does show staining and wear from service. There is slight discoloration around the lower edge from dirt and sweat, and the interior is stained as well. The fuzzy "nap" of the exterior is worn off, except where the side flaps have protected it. There are no maker markings or stamps visible on the inside, so production date, maker and size are unknown but we will provide you with an approximate size of 56cm. There are some written in markings, which we have not been able to decipher.

Real service used caps such as these have a nice "salty" look that is impossible to duplicate, and means that it was "really there", and not sitting in a depot during the war. Ready to add to your collection!

Luftwaffe Construction Units
Luftwaffe construction units were established in 1939 from Reichsarbeitsdienst units transferred to the Luftwaffe, and reinforced with technically competent older conscripts, later also with prisoners of war and foreign volunteers (Hiwis). The main task was the construction and maintenance of military air bases. In 1944 the bulk of the construction units were transferred to the Organization Todt; those remaining under Luftwaffe control became Luftwaffe pioneers.

During the buildup of the Luftwaffe, necessary construction work was conducted by private contractors with civilian staff. From 1938 units from the Reichsarbeitsdienst were increasingly used by the Luftwaffe for construction purposes. These RAD-units were from 1939 converted into Luftwaffe construction companies and battalions. From 1941 construction regiments, and sometimes construction brigades, were created. Construction units under RAD control still existed; in 1942, 56 companies served with the Luftwaffe in the West. In 1944 most of the construction units were transferred to the Organisation Todt; the construction troops remaining under Luftwaffe control were reorganized into 14 battalions as Luftwaffen-Pioniere.

The role of the construction and pioneer units consisted of the implementation of all kinds of construction projects, principally air base construction, and especially runway construction and repair. The pioneers were also tasked with the destruction of Luftwaffe installations, as the fronts contracted. Construction and pioneer units were also used to combat partisans, and as first-line troops in emergencies.

Side Cap
A side cap is a military cap that can be folded flat when not being worn. It is also known as a garrison cap or flight cap in the United States, wedge cap in Canada, or field service cap in the United Kingdom. In form the side cap is comparable to the glengarry, a folding version of the Scottish military bonnet. It has been associated with various military forces since the middle of the 19th century, as well as various civilian organizations.

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