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 Military Headgear

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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Military Headgear   Sat 29 Apr 2017, 15:55

Wearing the right hat is as important in warfare and parades as Ladies Day at Ascot - whether for different reasons is moot. There are those bearskin big jobs and of course nifty colour coded berets. I am always amused by the large dinner plate style Russia uses - but will admit that for drone landing, become most suitable. Then there are the assorted tin cans of old and very fancy spiked jobs still worn. I'm not sure what those are about. However daft now, some must have once had practical reason and someone here will know - or where to look for it. And why did the Royal Navy opt for teaplates?
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Sat 29 Apr 2017, 21:20

@Priscilla wrote:
Wearing the right hat is as important in warfare and parades as Ladies Day at Ascot - whether for different reasons is moot. There are those bearskin big jobs and of course nifty colour coded berets. I am always amused by the large dinner plate style Russia uses - but will admit that for drone landing, become most suitable. Then there are the assorted tin cans of old and very fancy spiked jobs still worn. I'm not sure what those are about. However daft now, some must have once had practical reason and someone here will know - or where to look for it. And why did the Royal Navy opt for teaplates?


Priscilla,

I have once done some in depth research, I think it was for the BBC messageboards. About for instance the British helmets and the Germans ones in WWII and their wanted protection. And I think the American helmets of today are the best studied solution of the problems learned from WWII. Need some time to seek it all back. If others have some comments? While we are at warfare, the French entering WWI hadn't too much camouflage with their red throusers...BTW: the berets that you mention were more for the 18th, 19th century cavalery i think? And of course remained perhaps for the ceremonies?

Kind regards, your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Sat 29 Apr 2017, 23:17

Not a subject I know much about - hence opening the thread, but berets of assorted colours seem to go with select groups, Marines, Commandos and so..... my knowledge comes mainly from watching war movies apart from a Marine I met on huge RFA vessel - at sea, even - who wore a red beret. In action is one thing parade dress is altogether different - and the hats really fancy. Life Guards in UK even when not on horses, when lining the corridors and stairs at the Palace for formal occasions, they wear the helmets with blond ponytail  extensions. But what of those huge dish jobs of some armies? Is it just to be bigger than another army's? I recall that my father went to war in a cap and returned 5 years later in a round hat - and not through promotion.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Sun 30 Apr 2017, 11:33

I think the original point of big hats for soldiers - at least once uniforms started to be adopted in the early 18th century - was to make them look as tall and imposing as possible. Grenadier regiments, at least as originally conceived as shock troops armed with primitive hand-grenades, were usually selected from the tallest recruits and then to make them appear even taller traditionally wore a tall conical hat like a bishop's mitre.



Then of course the Napoleonic wars prompted a veritable riot of martial millinery, adorned with crests, tassles, plumes and pom-poms:



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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Sun 30 Apr 2017, 21:42

@Meles meles wrote:
I think the original point of big hats for soldiers - at least once uniforms started to be adopted in the early 18th century - was to make them look as tall and imposing as possible. Grenadier regiments, at least as originally conceived as shock troops armed with primitive hand-grenades, were usually selected from the tallest recruits and then to make them appear even taller traditionally wore a tall conical hat like a bishop's mitre.

 Meles meles,

you are right Priscilla is rather looking for the 18th century army hats. i with my war helmets am a some two centuries later...
And yes I found the same as you. Thinking first of all at the tall soldiers from Frederick The Great:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potsdam_Giants
And yes especially the Prussian grenadiers with the mitre...
And yes to look taller and more impressionant on the battle field...
And also the shako
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shako
And to confirm your mentioning Meles meles:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grenadier
Headgear[edit]


18th century Prussian grenadier caps (Grenadiermütze).
As noted above, grenadiers were distinguished by their head-gear from the ordinary musketeers (or Hatmen) who made up the bulk of each regiment of foot. While there were some exceptions, the most typical grenadier headdress was either the mitre cap or the bearskin. Both began to appear in various armies during the second half of the 17th century because grenadiers were impeded by the wide brimmed infantry hats of the period when throwing grenades.
The cloth caps worn by the original grenadiers in European armies during the 17th century were frequently trimmed with fur.[7] The practice fell into disuse until the second half of the 18th century when grenadiers in the British, Spanish and French armies began wearing high fur hats with cloth tops and, sometimes, ornamental front plates. The purpose appears to have been to add to the apparent height and impressive appearance of these troops both on the parade ground and the battlefield.[8]
The mitre cap, whether in stiffened cloth or metal, had become the distinguishing feature of the grenadier in the armies of Britain, Russia, Prussia and most German states during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Spanish, Austrian and French grenadiers favoured high fur hats with long coloured cloth hoods ("bags") to them. The mitre was gradually replaced by bearskin hats in other armies and by 1914 it only survived in three regiments of the Prussian and Russian Imperial Guards. Russian grenadiers had worn their brass fronted mitre hats on active service until 1809 and some of these preserved for parade wear by the Pavlovsky Guards until 1914 still had dents or holes from musket balls. Some have survived for display in modern museums and collections.

"The purpose appears to have been to add to the apparent height and impressive appearance of these troops both on the parade ground and the battlefield.[8]
The mitre cap, whether in stiffened cloth or metal, had become the distinguishing feature of the grenadier in the armies of Britain, Russia, Prussia and most German states during the late 17th and early 18th centuries."

And if you want it all, Priscilla Wink ...the internet and Google what a  mighty machines (if you use it correctly Wink and I always think that I am correct Wink )
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_headgear


Kind regards to you both, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Mon 08 May 2017, 23:39

Apparently, British grenadiers and fusiliers (who also wore the bearskin) around the time of the American War of Independence tended to leave their bearskins in storage and just wear more practical hats in the field, which seems quite sensible.  The Tarleton helmet, with its prominent fore-and-aft fur comb, was worn by the Royal Horse Artillery and by some cavalry regiments from the late 18th century into the middle of the Napoleonic Wars, when it was abandoned by the cavalry in favour of Continental-style shakos which widened towards the top.  Wellington, never a fan of his cavalry in any case, was not impressed as their silhouette was no longer easily distinguishable from the French.  Likewise he disapproved of replacing the simple, cylindrical 'stovepipe' shako of the infantry with the higher, false-fronted 'Belgic' shako as again he felt the troops lost their recognisably British silhouette.

As I understand it, although the shako replaced the bearskin in the field for grenadier companies, it continued to be worn by the Foot Guards on ceremonial duty.  After the First Foot Guards defeating the bearskin-capped Grenadiers of the Old Guard at Waterloo (or thought they did - it was actually the similarly uniformed Chasseurs a Pied) the Prince Regent dubbed them the Grenadier Guards and ordered they should all wear the bearskin cap.  I'm sure the soldiers were delighted...  It was subsequently extended to all the Guards.  The Grenadier Guards have white hackles (the plumes on the side), the Coldstreamers red, the Scots none, the Irish blue (blue being the Irish royal colour), the Welsh green over white.  Confusingly, the Grenadiers use red cap bands on their forage caps, and the Coldstreamers white.

The current helmets of the Household cavalry are the brainchild/fault of Prince Albert (indeed, they are known as the 'Albert Pattern').  Remove the plume and it reveals a spike sticking up - very Germanic.  Whether they were an improvement on the previous, pseudo-classical form, with enormous crests curling up from behind, is a moot point.  Having tried one on, I can assure you all that it is not a comfortable thing to wear!  I believe it was also Albert who reintroduced body armour for the cavalry, which had been abandoned (if memory serves) with the 1768 uniform reforms - although, seemingly for one parade only in 1814, the Royal Horse Guards (Blue) wore black cuirasses.

Light Infantry, when introduced in the mid-18th century, wore a variety of caps.  In the 1750s it was a peaked cap with fold down flaps to cover the ears, not dissimilar to a deer-stalker (without the rear peak).  The 1768 pattern uniform introduced a bowl-shaped hat with a turned up flap at the front bearing the Royal Cipher and/or regimental insignia.  However, it was not popular and several regiments adopted their own patterns, models including something akin to the older model, and a light leather peaked 'helmet'.  A round-brimmed hat, and slouched-hats (broad-brimmed hats with one side turned up) were also seen.

Going right back to the British Civil Wars, ordinary soldiers rarely wore the broad-brimmed hat as it was quite an expensive piece of headgear.  Some would have worn Montero caps, a peaked hat with a folded band of fabric around it which could be rolled down to form a sort of balaclava in bad weather  On the rare occasions where hats were uniforms issue, these were sometimes provided as they could match the regiment coat.  Both Sir Thomas Fairfax and Prince Rupert wore red Monteros at the Battle of Naseby in 1645, which caused some confusion when Rupert attempted to raid the New Model Army's baggage train.  Again, however, they were a bit pricey and most soldiers probably stuck to the 'Monmouth cap', a simple round knitted cap.

Berets in the modern British armed forces are a complex business: Wikipedia has a helpful list of what colours are worn by what units: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_beret#United_Kingdom
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Tue 09 May 2017, 21:36

@Anglo-Norman wrote:

The current helmets of the Household cavalry are the brainchild/fault of Prince Albert (indeed, they are known as the 'Albert Pattern').  Remove the plume and it reveals a spike sticking up - very Germanic.  Whether they were an improvement on the previous, pseudo-classical form, with enormous crests curling up from behind, is a moot point.  Having tried one on, I can assure you all that it is not a comfortable thing to wear! 


The Household cavalry however never had to wear either the cuirasse or the Albert Pattern helmet in earnest: the only action they ever saw between Waterloo and the First World War, was at the battle of Tel El Kebir in 1882. Indeed the short Egypt campaign was the one and only time in 100 years that the Household Division was posted away from its London barracks, and so - however did they manage? - away from all the familiar comforts of their regimental mess and bar, the Army & Navy Stores, Selfridges and Harrods, and their wives and/or mistresses.

In Egypt in 1882 they still wore their usual scarlet or blue uniforms, but without the steel breastplates or plumed helmets. Like most of the regular British army of the time they wore the standard 'sun helmet' otherwise known as a pith helmet, and described at the time as being "of a beautiful shape, but of rather an ugly muddy Indian colour".

Here's the household cavalry, in red tunics and pith helmets, charging at Kassasin, the night engagement before the main battle of Tel el Kebir:




French heavy cavalry however kept their steel breastplates and helmets, even on active service, until the first months of the Great War. Here's a French curassier on guard in Northern France, photographed on 18 August 1914, and looking almost identical to his forebears who'd fought at Waterloo a century earlier.



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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Tue 09 May 2017, 21:51

Extraordinary!  The French approach to uniforms in the First World War was eccentric, to say they least.  When most countries had long since adopted various shades of green, grey and brown for their combat uniforms, their infantry still went into battle with blue frock-coats and bright red trousers; even when they reformed the uniform they chose sky-blue.  Their rifle was almost as long as a musket.

Deviating from uniforms for a moment, one Waterloo-era survivor made it into action with the Germans.  The Model 1811 Sabre, affectionately known as the 'Blücher Sword' and based on the British 1796 Pattern Light Cavalry Sabre, last saw action in the First World War.
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Wed 10 May 2017, 10:20

If I remember correctly, British Forces in the Falklands War, wore their Regimental berets in preference to steel helmets for easy identification of friend and foe:

Scots Guards on Tumbledown, wearing a variety of headgear:

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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Wed 10 May 2017, 15:25

One of most famous types of military helmet, the German "coal scuttle"  Stahlhelm, introduced during the First World War to provide protection from shell fragments and shrapnel, it carried on through WW2 into the present day;



wiki:
The design of the Stahlhelm was carried out by Dr. Friedrich Schwerd of the Technical Institute of Hanover. In early 1915, Schwerd had carried out a study of head wounds suffered during trench warfare and submitted a recommendation for steel helmets, shortly after which he was ordered to Berlin. Schwerd then undertook the task of designing and producing a suitable helmet, broadly based on the 15th century sallet, which provided good protection for the head and neck.

After lengthy development work, which included testing a selection of German and Allied headgear, the first Stahlhelms were tested in November 1915 at the Kummersdorf Proving Ground and then field tested by the 1st Assault Battalion. Thirty thousand examples were ordered, but it was not approved for general issue until New Years 1916, hence it is most usually referred to as the "Model 1916". In February 1916 it was distributed to troops at Verdun, following which the incidence of serious head injuries fell dramatically. The first German troops who had to use this helmet had been the stormtroopers of the Sturm-Bataillon Nr. 5 (Rohr) which had been commanded by captain Willy Rohr.


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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Wed 10 May 2017, 15:32

The PASGT Helmet, introduced by the US Army in the 1980s ( and now superceded ) was nicknamed the Fritz Helmet due to its' resemblance to the Stahlhelm:

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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Wed 10 May 2017, 19:20

@Triceratops wrote:
One of most famous types of military helmet, the German "coal scuttle"  Stahlhelm, introduced during the First World War to provide protection from shell fragments and shrapnel, it carried on through WW2 into the present day;

The traditional style 'coalscuttle' helmet was abandoned in 1956, replaced by the East German M-56 (which had a more Soviet look, although to my eyes it looks like someone took a Wehrmacht helmet and sat on it) and the West German M-56, which was a copy of the US M1.  Ironically the current German helmet, the Gefechtshelm is something of a return to the style of the old Stahlhelm because it was based on the American PASGT!
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Thu 11 May 2017, 11:29

Use of the Stahlhelm was fairly widespread. A Chinese Nationalist soldier wearing the 1935 Model;

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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Sat 20 May 2017, 22:48

A selection of British Army headgear from a display at the National Army Museum, which I visited today:



Top row:
Dragoon Guard helmet, c.1812
Light Dragoon Lancer chapka, c.1834
Gurkha shako, c.1828
Bengal Horse Artillery helmet, c.1835
Gold Coast Artillery shako, c.1860
East India Company shako, c.1800
Pioneer fur mitre cap, c.1768

Second row:
Engineer cocked hat, c.1820
Indian Sepoy turban-shako, c.1840
Drummer mitre cap, c.1750
Dragon helmet (possibly Welsh Yeomanry?), c.1830
Grenadier cap of an artillery company, c.1708
Hot weather cover for West Indies service, c.1855
Surgeon cocked hat, c.1812

Bottom row:
Light Cavalry Tarleton helmet, c.1806
Sapper helmet, c.1750
Light company helmet, c.1780
Grenadier mitre cap, c.1710
Light cavalry mirliton, c.1805
Dragoon cavalry helmet, c.1834
Grenadier bearskin, c.1795

I must admit I had no idea sappers were still wearing heavy helmets in 1750!
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Mon 22 May 2017, 08:35

@Anglo-Norman wrote:

I must admit I had no idea sappers were still wearing heavy helmets in 1750!

French sappers were still wearing heavy helmets with side face-guards, and both back and breast plates, until at least the Franco-Prussian war.

Here's a Napoleonic sapper with almost medieval-looking armour - at least waist upwards - especially the slightly pointy helmet, which frankly is quite redolent of the 14th or 15th century, with the side plates and face bars being more typical perhaps of the 17th century:



... and not much had changed by the early 1870s:



Although with his rounded, almost stahlhelm-type helmet and close-fitting body armour, he doesn't actually look that much different from some of the police and soldiers currently patrolling France's streets.


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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Tue 23 May 2017, 13:04

The Delaware Regiment at the Battle of Long Island, wearing tricorn(e) hats as part of their uniform:



Tricorns, called "cocked hats" at the time, were a popular hat both civil and military in the 18th century.

Chelsea Pensioners today:

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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Tue 23 May 2017, 13:44

More tricorns, Prussian infantry in the Seven Years War:


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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Tue 23 May 2017, 14:24

@Triceratops wrote:
The Delaware Regiment at the Battle of Long Island, wearing tricorn(e) hats as part of their uniform:



Interesting; the officer - and possibly some of the soldiers? - is wearing a slouched hat. I wonder if that was official. It was a popular choice of headgear amongst the British (especially light troops) in the American War of Independence, though not - to the best of my knowledge - officially approved. The British Army could be surprisingly relaxed about uniform regulations on campaign.
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Tue 23 May 2017, 14:49

Yes, this illustration from the Osprey book Philadelphia 1777 shows British troops wearing slouch hats, pinned back on one side;

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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Tue 23 May 2017, 15:45

Slouch hat of the Scottish Horse, Second Boer War 1899-1902;

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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Tue 23 May 2017, 15:57

Abu Klea, 1885, during the Gordon Relief Expedition. Pith helmets were standard dress of the time;

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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Wed 24 May 2017, 10:18

The Pith Helmet was originally made from the pith of the Sola plant.

Sola topee 1858 design for British Indian Army;

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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Wed 24 May 2017, 10:26

That's interesting Trike ... I'd always assumed the sola topee had been written 'solar' and so meant basically 'sun' helmet.

One learns something new everyday.
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Wed 24 May 2017, 10:54

@Triceratops wrote:
The Pith Helmet was originally made from the pith of the Sola plant.

Sola topee 1858 design for British Indian Army;


Trike,

As a tangent on your use of the term British Indian Army 
From a wiki article, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Indian_Army 
"The term "Indian Army" appears to have been first used informally, as a collective description of the Presidency armies (the Bengal Army, the Madras Army and the Bombay Army) of the Presidencies of British India, particularly after the Indian Rebellion. The first army officially called the "Indian Army" was raised by the government of India in 1895, existing alongside the three long-established presidency armies. However, in 1903 the Indian Army absorbed these three armies. The Indian Army should not be confused with the "Army of India" (1903–1947) which was the Indian Army itself plus the "British Army in India" (British units sent to India)."
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Wed 24 May 2017, 11:01

Correct Nielsen, I was being lazy.

Meles, cork became the most common material for pith helmets as the century progressed.

1883 helmet of the Volunteer battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers, the grey colour indicates Home Service. The spike was influenced by the German pickelhaube. Obviously putting a spike in the helmet would give the British Army the efficiency of the Prussians.

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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Wed 24 May 2017, 11:09

No, not lazy just a bit hurried.

Regarding your sentence "... efficiency of the Prussians", would that be why this model is still retained by at least the bands of the (British) Royal Marines?
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Wed 24 May 2017, 11:44

The assumption is that the Prussian spike was copied after the Franco-Prussian War as Germanic military was seen as better than French military.

This may not actually be the case as the Russians (Crimean War) were using spiked helmets before the Prussians.
Article about it here, and sun helmets in general:

Spiked Helmets
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Wed 24 May 2017, 14:07

I have read that the pattern of pith helmet issued to the Afrika Korps was not popular, and that where possible Italian ones were acquired instead (although overall it was used only for formal dress and field caps preferred in combat).  On a tangent, they also didn't like their shorts and procured British ones when they could.

Here is an article on berets from the Army Rumour Service:  https://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Beret  It's about as respectful and politically correct as you'd expect from something largely written by British squaddies, and not to be taken entirely seriously, but enlightening none-the-less.
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Wed 24 May 2017, 14:19

ARSSEPedia wrote:
Caubeen
A totally ridiculous item of head wear invented by the Irish. Wearers might as well sport a sandbag with a small tree stuck in it.



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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Wed 24 May 2017, 15:53

Not half as ridiculous as the headgear worn by Scottish pipers ... the so-called 'feather bonnet' which to me always looks like a manky, partly-disbowelled, dead ostrich.



Dead ostriches were of course at one time standard issue amongst all highland regiments ... and they must have been almost insufferable in the Crimean summer heat:



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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Wed 24 May 2017, 21:10

The wire stiffening could apparently offer stout protection against a sword blow, however.

The Chasseurs Alpins' beret is certainly, er... distinctive:

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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Wed 24 May 2017, 21:28

Their whole uniform is quite distinctive and does rather make them look like boy scouts...



... nevertheless I wouldn't want to mess with them seeing as they are elite troops specialised in mountain and arctic warfare.


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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Thu 25 May 2017, 15:25

Sometimes mistakenly referred to as a bearskin, the busby is a completely different type of head wear altogether:

The Kings Troop of the Royal Horse Artillery wearing their busbys:

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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Thu 25 May 2017, 21:16

King's Troop's busbys are really quite restrained as far as Hussar-style uniforms go. Apparently the current uniforms were created in 1928, but I'm pretty sure they adopted the Hussar look before that.
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Fri 26 May 2017, 11:22

Young Winston in a (tinted) photograph, wearing the uniform of the 4th Hussars, 1895:

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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Fri 26 May 2017, 13:08

The 11th Hussars uniform during the Crimean War; the busby is quite tall.




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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Thu 01 Jun 2017, 15:26

Not headgear but so unusual it is worth looking at:

Polish Winged Hussars:



wiki:
The Hussars were famous for their huge "wings", a wooden frame carrying eagle, ostrich, swan or goose feathers. In the 16th century, characteristic painted wings or winged claws began to appear on cavalry shields. The most common theory is that the hussars wore the wings because they made a loud, clattering noise which made it seem like the cavalry was much larger than in reality and frightened the enemy's horses. Other possibilities included the wings being made to defend the backs of the men against swords and lassos, or that they were worn to make their own horses deaf to the wooden noise-makers used by the Ottoman and the Crimean Tatars.
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PostSubject: Re: Military Headgear   Thu 22 Jun 2017, 19:40

Here are some splendid hats - Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, currently standing guard at Windsor Castle.  It's not clear in the photo, but the hat bands are light infantry green.

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Military Headgear

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