Boys' Historical Uniform Headgear: Military-styled Caps

Figure 1.--We note the boys in this unidentified German youth group wearing a variety of headwear. The most common was the campaign peaked cap and the boonie hat--a slouch hat, related to the bush hat. Here we also see a boy wearing a German army fatigue cap, a kind of soft pill box cap. We also see a cap looking like an early version of a Schirmmütze, aklthough he is not ion this image.

A wide range of military-styled caps have been worn by youth group boys. Youth groups at first commonly adopgted mikitart-style uniforms, including the headwear. The German Wandervogel was an exception. The boys generally liked military styles nd part of the initial motivatuion for youth groups was discipline. The styles adopted have ro some extent differed from country to country and varied over time. As with a few exceptions, youth groups are 20th century phenonmena, this has primarily meant 20th century military styles like peaked caps and overseas caps. The major exception is the 19th-century pill-box cap adopted by the Boys' Brigade. The styles selected wre commonly adopted are commonly adopted from their country's military. We notice American and German boys, for example wearing fatigue caps. Eventually in the post-World war II period there was a shift away from miklitary styules with baseball caps becoming aopular choice.

Campaign Hats

The Scouts of course adopted the famed campaign or Smokey Bear hats as they are called in the United States. Probably no single type of headwear is more associated with a youth group than the Smokey Bear hat is associated with Scouting. Like most of the headgear adopted by youth groups, it was originally a military style. It was worn by the U.S. Army at the turn of the century in the Spanish American War. I'm not sure why Baden Powell adopted it for British Scouts. I believe it was a British army style for scouts, but this requires further research. It was the most widely worn Scout headgear until World War II.

Fatigue Caps

We notice some German boys wearing what we would call fatigue caps. It was rather like a soft pill-biox cap without a bill. We also notice some America Scouts in the 1950s wearing fatigue cap based on a U.S. Army fatigue uniform cap. The German and American styles were different.

Overseas Caps

The Itlalian Fascist Baillal adopted this destinctive cap with tassles, a style which other Fascist groups like the Hitler youth and Spanish fascists also adopted. I'm not sure what they called it, but it was adapted from military uniforms. American Scouts adopted it, without the tasslesduring World War II, primarily because it was worn by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps during World War II and thus had a patriotic image. As World War II was fought by Americans overseas, it became known as an "overseas cap".

Peaked Caps--Military

Hitler Youth groups over time had a variety of uniforms, some included military caps woth peaks or bills. Polish Scouts had a destinctive peaked cap based on Polish Army uniforms. Peaked caps were not a common style for youth groups. Perhaps one factor was that it was a more expensive cap than other styles. Another factor map have been was that it was better suited for a dress uniform than active outdoor activities.

Pillbox Caps

Pillbox caps were worn by early Boys' Brigade units. This was not one of the most commonly worn styles. The Boys' Brigade was the only group that I know which used pillbox cap. This was in part because the Boys' Brigade was one of the few active groups at the time that this cap was stylish. It is today most associated will hotel bellcaps, but in the late 19th century was part if the British dress Army uniform, I think for enlisted men.

Sailor Caps

The naval divisions of youth groups in different countries have worn a variety of sailor caps. For the most part style on the caps worn by the enlisted sailors in the navies of each country. The best known group is the Boy Scouts' Sea Scouts, but other youth groups like the Hitler Youth also had naval divisions.


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Created: 2:52 AM 8/11/2011
Last updated: 2:52 AM 8/11/2011