This rarely seen M43 zeltbahn Heer cap was recently sold to me at a local military show from an old time collector who told me he bought it from an estate sale back in the 1970’s. The RBN code”0/0678/5015″ refers to “Franz Ritter” who is a known maker of maker of Wehrmacht field caps.  His earlier stamp was marked “Franz Ritter vorm Carl Roth Dettigen” and is seen in field caps, tropical KM caps and some service dress caps.

Zeltbahn M43 caps are always going to be controversial as most were made in the field by the soldiers themselves and so no linings were added. It is therefore difficult to know when such caps were precisely made either war time or post war using original zeltbahn materials.  However the crude beige liner with the appropriate RBN stampings in this particular cap which matches to a known manufacturer leads me to believe that this particular cap is in fact the real deal and a late war factory produced item. It should also be mentioned that Franz Ritter always did grommet crimping which is seen in this cap.   I  have also researched several original photos showing entire groups of men wearing similar M43 zeltbahns all of which appear identically made and so I believe must have been factory produced even if on a relatively small scale compared to regular field gray caps.

The front trapezoid insignia is text book late war embroidered and the zigzag stitching and the way the the edge line have sunken into the fabric of the cap almost as if recessed into the front are evidence to it’s actually age.   The cherry on top for me was that when I flipped over the internal sweatband I can clearly make out two black stampings of “GR” (Gross) size and a faint _7/8 which most likely is 56 7/8, 57 7/8, 58 7/8, or 59 7/8.


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