Berretto da Campo per Ufficiali Modello 1934 e 1935 “Bustina”

Field Cap for Officers Model 1934 and 1935 "Bustina"

The Berretto da Campo per Ufficiali Modello 1934 “Bustina” (Field Cap for Officers Model 1934 "Bustina") is adopted on the 24th of May 1934 by the Regio Esercito (Royal Army) with Circular No. 370 and No. 371 as published in the Giornale Militare Ufficiale (Official Military Journal) and its wear becomes mandatory on the 1st of June 1934.

The Field Cap for Officers Model 1934 "Bustina" is worn by Ufficiali (Officers), Aiutanti di Battaglia (Aides in Battle) and Marescialli (Warrant Officer’s) in the field and during maneuvers. Ufficiali Generali (General Officers) are wearing the Field Cap for Officers Model 1934 "Bustina" instead of the Berretto Rigido (Visor Cap) when they have the actual command over the Troops.

The Field Cap for Officers Model 1934 "Bustina" is positioned on the head a bit forward and slightly to the right.

The Field Cap for Officers Model 1934 "Bustina", originally made from a fabric called "cordellino" in a grey-green colour, has a rounded front visor-flap of a one piece construction which is usually worn folded up. Over the crown there are two ear- and neck-flaps which are generally fastened together over the crown by means of press studs. A leather sweat-band runs around the inside rim of the dome, which is lined with either cotton or silk.

The Armi a Cavallo (Mounted Units) and the Genio Pontieri (Bridge Building Engineers) have a special version of the Field Cap for Officers Model 1934 "Bustina" which is equipped with a grey-green chinstrap.

The arms of service embroidered logo, sewn above the visor-flap or upon it, is made out of gold thread and is mounted on a grey-green surface.
There are two exceptions to this rule. The first are Colonnelli (Colonels) and Tenenti Colonnelli (Lieutenant-Colonels) whom have a command function. They have their golden emblem on a red background.
Then there are the Colonels and Lieutenant-Colonels entrusted with a task, usually provided to a higher rank. Colonels in that case have a Generals emblem in silver on a red background, while Lieutenant-Colonels have their arms of service on a red background. Aspirante Ufficiali (Cadets) have the same emblem as officers, but of inferior quality.

Generals have a unique emblem on their Field Cap for Officers Model 1934 "Bustina", consisting of an eagle with stretched wings with the Cross of Savoy on its chest. The eagle's head is directed to the right side of the wearer and bears the royal crown.
Embroidered eagles of Divisional and Brigadier Generals are made of silver wire and are placed on a red background. Gold thread on a red background is used for the eagles of Army Corps Generals till the rank of Field Marshal.
In addition there are special General ranks of supporting arms of service with their own eagle:
Silver on a amaranth background: Tenente Generale del Corpo Sanitario (Lieutenant-General of the Medical Service)
Silver on a purple background: Tenente Generale del Commissariato (Lieutenant-General of the Commissioner)
Gold on a grey-green background: Tenente Generale della Giustizia Militare (Lieutenant-General of the Military Court)
Staff officers have the same eagles in gold thread, but on a grey-green background.

The rank insignia are at the left side of the Field Cap for Officers Model 1934 "Bustina" between the visor-flap and the two ear- and neck-flaps.
The Officer rank is shown by thin (galloncino) and wide (gallone) stripes made of woven gold threads on a grey-green background. The galloncine has a width of six cm. and a height of four mm.. The gallone has the same width, but is twelve mm. high.
The rank insignia are:

Three yellow embroidered stars placed in a triangle: Aiutanti di Battaglia (Aides in Battle) & Marescialli (Warrant Officer’s)
One galloncino with three segments of gold, black, gold: Aspirante Ufficiale (Cadet)
One galloncino: Sottotenente (Second Lieutenant)
Two galloncini: Tenente (Lieutenant)
Two galloncini with below a golden five-pointed star: Primo Tenente (First Lieutenant)
Three galloncini: Capitano (Captain)
Three galloncini with below a golden five-pointed star: Primo Capitano (First Captain)
One galloncino and a gallone: Maggiore (Major)
Two galloncini and a gallone: Tenente colonello (Lieutenant Colonel)
Three galloncini and a gallone: Colonnello (Colonel)

Generals indicate their rank by a silver pattern called "Greca" This pattern has its origin in the Sardinian army of the nineteenth century. Above the "Greca" there are galloncini indicating the different General positions.

One galloncino: Generale di Brigata (Brigadier General)
Two galloncini: Generale di Divisione (Divisional General)
Two galloncini with a golden crown on a red backing: Generale di Corpo d’Armata (Army Corps General)
Two galloncini with a golden crown and scepter on a red backing: Generale designati d’Armata (Lieutenant-general)
Three galloncini: Generale d’Armata (Army General)
Four galloncini : Maresciallo d’Italia (Field Marshal)

On the 18th of April 1935 the Berretto da Campo per Ufficiali Modello 1935 “Bustina” (Field Cap for Officers Model 1935 "Bustina") is introduced.
The Field Cap for Officers Model 1935 "Bustina" differs from its predecessor by its visor-flap which consists of a two-piece construction.
Furthermore the Royal Army introduces new rank insignia. The rank insignia from Maggiore (Major) till Colonnello (Colonel) are placed on a rectangular red background bordered by a five mm. wide golden galloncino.
The rank insignia are:

Angled golden and black stripes between two golden lines: Aiutanti di Battaglia (Aides in Battle) & Marescialli (Warrant Officer’s)
One black star with a golden edge: Aspirante Ufficiale (Cadet)
One gold star: Sottotenente (Second Lieutenant)
Two gold stars: Tenente (Lieutenant)
Two gold stars with below a golden bar: Primo Tenente (First Lieutenant)
Three gold stars: Capitano (Captain)
Three gold stars with below a golden bar: Primo Capitano (First Captain)
One gold star: Maggiore (Major)
Two gold stars: Tenente colonello (Lieutenant Colonel)
Three gold stars: Colonnello (Colonel)

The rank insignia of the Ufficiali Generali (General Officers) have a silver base bordered by a red galloncino. It is six cm. long and 2.2 cm. wide.

One gold star: Generale di Brigata (Brigadier General)
Two gold stars: Generale di Divisione (Divisional General)
Two gold stars with a golden crown on a red backing: Generale di Corpo d’Armata (Army Corps General)
Two gold stars with a golden crown and scepter on a red backing: Generale designati d’Armata (Lieutenant-general)
Three gold stars: Generale d’Armata (Army General)
Four gold stars: Maresciallo d’Italia (Field Marshal)
Golden eagle with closed wings, clutched in its claws a Fasces with a silver blade on a red backing: Primo Maresciallo dell'Impero (First Marshal of the Empire)

The Field Cap for Officers Model 1935 "Bustina" is introduced for use by the Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale (National Security Volunteer Militia) during the Second Italo–Abyssinian War which lasted from the 3rd of October 1935 till the 5th of May 1936. Later a special black silk Field Cap is adopted in place of the Fez for wearing with the white summer uniform.

The rank insignia are rectangular shaped and worn on the left side of the Field Cap for Officers Model 1935 "Bustina". These original rank insignia are in 1938 substituted by rank insignia similar as used by the Royal Army. Differences are however that General Officers have a “Greca Littoria” instead of the standard “Greca”, the rank insignia of the General Officers and the Corporals of Honor are 50mm. x 40mm. in size and the background from the rank of Seniore (Major) is bordered by a three mm. wide galloncino.
The original M.V.S.N. rank insignia are depicted as:

One galloncino with a wavy black line along its centre: Aspirante Sottocapo Manipolo (Candidate Officer)
One galloncino: Sottocapo Manipolo (Second Lieutenant)
Two galloncini: Capomanipolo (Lieutenant)
Two galloncini with below a golden five-pointed star: Primo Capomanipolo (First Lieutenant)
Three galloncini: Centurione (Captain)
Three galloncini with below a golden five-pointed star: Primo Centurione (First Captain)
One galloncino and a gallone: Seniore (Major)
Two galloncini and a gallone: Primo Seniore (Lieutenant Colonel)
Gold Fasces with a silver axe with in top a gold star surrounded by a golden galloncino on a red backing: Console (Colonel)

The ranks of Console Generale (Brigadier General) till Comandante Generale (Commander-in-chief) have a gold eagle with closed wings, clutched in its claws a Fasces with a silver blade on a silver backing on a red background with gold stars on a red backing indicating the exact rank.

One gold star: Console Generale (Brigadier General)
Two gold stars: Luogotenente Generale (Divisional General)
Two gold stars with in between a gold crown: Luogotenente Generale Capo di Stato Maggiore (First Lieutenant General of the Chief of Staff
Three gold stars: Comandante Generale (Commander-in-chief)

Mussolini as Commander-in-chief is made Primo Caporale Onorario (First Honorary Corporal) in 1935 and Adolf Hitler is made Caporale Onorario (Honorary Corporal) in 1937.

The M.V.S.N. arms of service embroidered emblem, sewn above the visor-flap or upon it, is made out of gold thread, with the axe of the Fasces in silver, and is mounted on a black or grey-green background. Those of Officers “in command” as usual are embroidered on a red background.
A new service embroidered logo with laurel leaves substituted the previous one on the Field Cap for Officers Model 1935 "Bustina" in accordance with Circular No. 94 of the 16th of June 1938.

In the late 1930’s after the successful performance of the M.V.S.N. during the Second Italo–Abyssinian War, the crown is added above the badges of all the units in Libya and East Africa.

The Field Cap for Officers Model 1935 "Bustina" manufactured for colonial wear is exactly the same as the continental version. The colonial Field Cap for Officers Model 1935 "Bustina" is made from lightweight khaki. During the Second World War burlap is also used.
The colonial Field Cap for Officers Model 1935 "Bustina" normally has a leather or cloth sweatband. A variety of coloured linings is used, from khaki and olive green to red, which is found to be the best colour for the African climate as it helps to keep the wearer cool while assisting the loss of heat through the top of the head.
Colonial rank insignia and emblems are manufactured in the same way as the continental patterns, the only difference being the cloth background, which is normally khaki. Badges with a grey-green background are worn when the khaki ones are unavailable.

Because of Italy’s entry into the war, Circular N. 548 is issued on the 29th of July 1940 for the Royal Army and Circular N. 103 on the 11th of June 1940 for the M.V.S.N. in order to introduce the Uniforme di Guerra (War Uniform).

Wartime changes for the Field Cap for Officers Model 1935 "Bustina" include that gold and silver wire embroidery is replaced with black, yellow or white rayon badges in line with the wartime uniform regulations.
Furthermore coarse grey-green wool is used for the fabrication of the Field Cap for Officers Model 1935 "Bustina".
A black version of the Field Cap for Officers Model 1935 "Bustina" is introduced by the M.V.S.N. in 1943 and a special wool-lined version is used by Italian forces deployed in the Soviet-Union.

Sources:
Le uniformi metropolitane del Regio Esercito dalla riforma Baistrocchi all’inizio della Guerra Mondiale 1933-1940; S. Coccia; 2005
Men-at-Arms; The Italian Army 1940-45 (2); Africa 1940-43 ; Philip Jowett; 2001
Mussolini’s Soldiers; R. Trye; 1995
MVSN 1923-1943; Badges and uniforms of the Italian Fascist Militia; G. Rosignoli; 1980
Uniformi e distintivi dell’Esercito Italiano 1933-1945; P. Marzetti; 1981

Berretto da Campo per Ufficiali Modello 1934 “Bustina” con grado da Centurione del 1º Legione
Berretto da Campo per Ufficiali Modello 1934 “Bustina” con grado da Centurione del 1º Legione "Sabauda"
Field Cap for Officers Model 1934 "Bustina" displaying the rank of Captain of the 1st Legion "Sabauda"
Berretto da Campo per Ufficiali Modello 1935 “Bustina” con grado da Maggiore del 47° Reggimento Fanteria “Ferrara”
Berretto da Campo per Ufficiali Modello 1935 “Bustina” con grado da Maggiore del 47° Reggimento Fanteria “Ferrara”
Field Cap for Officers Model 1935 "Bustina" displaying the rank of Major of the 47th Infantry Regiment “Ferrara"