MÜTZE – ENLISTED SAILOR – S.M.S. THUERINGEN. This is a high-quality, beautifully-conditioned, privately-purchased enlisted sailor’s mütze from the S.M.S. Thueringen. It was a Schlachtschiff (Battleship) that was launched in 1909, then commissioned after sea trials during 1911. She was one of the Heligoland Class’s four ships. The other three vessels were the class leader, S.M.S. Heligoland, the S.M.S. Oldenburg, and S.M.S. Ostfriesland. [The S.M.S. Ostfriesland has a place in history, since it later was tuned over to the American Army. It was used by General Billy Mitchell to prove that bombers could sink a large Navy ship]. At the outbreak of WW I, these ships formed Battleship Squadron Nr 1 of the Hochseeflotte (High Seas Fleet).
During the war, the S.M.S. Thueringen saw action in both the North Sea and the Baltic. She had her classmates served at the Battle of Jutland (Skageraak) on 31 May 1916. The Thueringen was undamaged during the battle and aided in sinking more than one British ship (including the H.M.S. Black Prince). After the war, she was not one of the ships that had to be turned over to the British at Scapa Flow since she was an older, NOT technologically advanced vessel. She was instead turned over to the French in 1920, used as a target ship, then eventually scrapped.
The mütze was privately-purchased, not depot-issued by the German Navy. The cap is dark-blue, which was considered the Winter issue. White was worn during the Summer months. An officer-style Reich’s kokarde is attached in the mütze’s center. A silver S.M.S. Thueringen cap tally is attached to the mütze. [PLEASE NOTE: We have referred to the ship as the S.M.S. Thueringen. It was actually the S.M.S. Thüringen, but the “ue” is used on the cap tally].
Have you ever wondered why some cap tallies are gold and others are silver? For those sailors who served aboard a ship, gold cap tallies were used by sailors assigned as seamen “upper deck” duty. Silver was used for the “lower deck” seamen who worked the technical stations (engines, work divisions, etc.) aboard ship. So our sailor was a “below decks” man. The tally is in beautiful condition and is attached very securely to the mütze. Inside the mütze is a well-conditioned leather sweatband. The black silk liner is in excellent condition. This sailor enjoyed a top-quality mütze, and so, preferred to buy his own headdress rather than accept one from the naval depot.