Uniforms Chin straps on forage caps and kepis.

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
In a few early war photographs you will see a soldier wearing his chin straps under their chin but usually it would be short of making it all the way to his chin. Were most chin straps even long enough to fit under the chin? So if chin straps were not really functional, why continue to make caps with chin straps? This seems like a waste of material and time. Also the cost of the leather and buttons was not small and eliminating chin straps could have saved brass that could have been used for more vital items.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
The pictures of the shortened strap were more a style that the individual trooper thought looked more dashing than under the chin. Forage cap straps were easily long enough to go under the chin, in fact the enlisted man ‘s forage cap came with the brass strap adjuster for just that purpose. Officer’s caps did not have the brass adjuster and one can suppose it was either a nod to rank or just the style of private purchased caps.

By virtue of the many cuff/cap buttons, combined with hat brass, unearthed by relic hunters, it is obvious that the strap was not often used, for its intended purpose.

I just took out an original forage cap and though it doesn’t fit my head well, the strap went under my chin.
 
Joined
Mar 6, 2011
Could to useful to mounted troops.
Had a couple of hats fly off when the "charge" progressed into the gallop.
Used the strap under my chin when wearing forage cap as Union cavalry.
I thought it looked rather dashing....Ah vanity ! :wink:
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Wearing the strap looped under the lower lip was to be of those Victorian era garrison soldier fashions. The little pillbox hats with lower lip straps some British regiments wore is the supreme example of turning something as profoundly practical as a hat & strap into an insipid fashion item.
 

Cavalier

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jul 20, 2019
I have seen photos of American GIs from WWl wearing the chin straps of their campaign hats in exactly that way. My God father had his picture taken like that. I could be mistaken, but I believe the British Guard regiments wear the chin straps of their bearskins and cavalry helmets that way. One person's insipid is another person's dashing I guess.

John
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I have seen photos of American GIs from WWl wearing the chin straps of their campaign hats in exactly that way. My God father had his picture taken like that. I could be mistaken, but I believe the British Guard regiments wear the chin straps of their bearskins and cavalry helmets that way. One person's insipid is another person's dashing I guess.

John
You got that right!
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2020
I found one!!!! This photograph of Union soldiers in Virginia is from 1863, and as soon as I saw it in a book I remembered this thread. Here we have it: an enlisted infantryman, on campaign, wearing his cap's chinstrap UNDER the chin. It's not a look his buddies appear to find worthy of copying, but none the less, it is there.
20210204_191202.jpg
 

Peter Stines

Sergeant
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Gulf Coast of Texas
It looks like the Confed's did away with chinstraps and side buttons late in the war to save on badly needed leather and brass. Now FWIW (and this is not CW but bear with me) I've seen photos of Australian " bush bandits" wearing hats and caps with the chinstrap UNDER THE NOSE. These photos date from the time of outlaw NED KELLEY. But the entry in Wikipedia said this was a "favored mark of distinction" among these chaps. Sounds uncomfortable and a bit messy if you had a runny nose. Still I could see it used by some CW troops.
 

FedericoFCavada

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Location
San Antonio, Texas
Wearing the strap looped under the lower lip was to be of those Victorian era garrison soldier fashions. The little pillbox hats with lower lip straps some British regiments wore is the supreme example of turning something as profoundly practical as a hat & strap into an insipid fashion item.
"Chin" straps can also be worn behind the head. There are traditional leather hats in Northeastern Brazil that work this way, and I think everyone has seen the "Montana" campaign hat as worn by drill instructors being worn this way.

While it doesn't strike us as very comfortable, in the Hispanic military tradition, "chin" straps at times were worn under the nose! So under the lower lip, under the nose, behind the head, etc.

If cavalry, I'd expect the chin strap to actually be worn, no?
In the century plus three or four years of Finland's national independence, we might note that in their uniforms in the early 1920s the field cap or "bonet de police" had a leather chin strap, superseded by a very German-looking jaeger "mountain hat" with folding earflaps, but retained an m/39 side cap with a leather chin strap for cyclists, cavalry, and vehicle crews, although it was typically worn across the top of the head rather than actually used as a chin strap.
 
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