GERMANY – MÜTZE – ENLISTED MAN – PRIVATE PURCHASE – S.M.S. KARLSRUHE
This is a very special mütze for an enlisted sailor as we will soon share with you for the S.M.S. Karlsruhe. The S.M.S. Karlsruhe was a light cruiser. She completed her final sea trials and entered service of the Kaiserliche Marine in January 1914. She had issues with an unusually high coal consumption and was not assigned sea duty until July 1914. She was assigned to service in the Caribbean (A hint as to why this mutze is so special.)
She was alerted to the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the outbreak of war in early August. She immediately began combat patrol under the commander of Fregattenkäpitan Erich Löhler. In the ensuing months she would capture sixteen merchant ships. Fifteen British and one Dutch. On 4 November 1914 she suffered a massive internal explosion and only a little less than one hundred fifty of her crew survived. Her captain did not survive and went down with his ship.
Now that you know the fate of the S.M.S. Karlsruhe let us tell you about this very special mütze. Unlike most ships of the fleet she operated in a tropical environment. The top of the mütze is neither white or blue. It is brown and is made of burlap. The kokarde is sewn rather than a metal button. The name of the vessel is embossed in silver. The tails of the cap tally are short. As mentioned this was definitely a privately purchased cap, perhaps even while she was on her cruise (That is speculation on my part.). The interior has a well used brown leather sweatband. The liner is black silk. There are no depot markings which confirms private purchase.
This mütze is far different from those seen on the ships based in China. I have NEVER seen another mütze quite like this. Knowing that so few sailors survived the sinking of the S.M.S. Karlsruhe there cannot be many if any quite like this.
The condition is quite pleasing, and we are really excited to be able to share this with you. It comes to us from a very trusted source.