Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Black Panzer Beret (Schutzmütze)

One beret-like hat I often come across while researching historic berets, is the Schutzmütze, the black "Panzer Beret" of the Nazi's German army. I have long resisted, for obvious reasons, but of course, it is still a real part of beret history.
Image result for panzerschutzmütze
With the creation of the new Panzer arm of the German Army in 1934, a special style of uniform was designed and issued for wear by all ranks. Known as Sonderbekleidung der Deutschen Pantertruppen (special uniform for German armoured troops); this new uniform exemplified the elite status of the new arm and was regarded as highly prestigious. 

It had a special protective headdress (Schutzmütze), designed to offer protection against the hazards of head injury inside the armoured vehicle. The headdress consisted of a rubber crash helmet which was covered with a detachable black wool beret. The earliest examples bore the oakleaves badge and cockade attached to the front in white and national colours (red/white/black for the cockade). From May 1936 the Nazi's eagle and swastika badge was applied.

During the invasion of Poland in 1939, the Schutzmütze proved impractical when worn in conjunction with improved tank communications headsets and so by the winter of 1939-40 became increasingly unpopular; it was phased out over the following two years. 


  1. Berets, as everything else, have a light and dark side. The Nazis weren't the only evil group to use the beret.

  2. This is a good example of why the Beret is a bridge to world history in so many forms. Excellent and concise account of this example.

    We must remember the beret Che Guevara wore and later became the trademark of both the man and revolution in more than simply politics, was worn by a man who was responsible for the brutal deaths of literally thousands of Cubans and others across the world.

    Yet we celebrate "Che's beret" as iconic.

    The beret is such a universal headgear signature. At the same time it has been and is today worn by the most simple of people in lifestyle and culture. Meant only to keep the head warm, to ward off the elements, to identify one's tribe or region or group, to represent the unique "Me" of the wearer, to honor cultures and accomplishments and hopes and dreams.

    Such a simple form of headgear. Such a complicated history.

    Beautiful for all time.

    Thank you, Daan.