When Are You Supposed To Wear The Overseas Cap

I did get the Sheldon book on WW2 uniforms, and it provides plenty of details on what was available during the period. Question is, though, what is the occasion when you wear overseas caps as opposed to, say, the peaked caps? I do have same Hornet heads and Masterbox figures and don’t know what would look right in certain occasions.

The overseas cap or service hat is going to be worn when specified by command element. It can be worn with field type uniforms on certain occasions for a semi dress look. Uniform of the day is…
The service hat aka “bus drivers hat”, is for more formal use, and is only worn with the Class A or B type uniforms. Airborne units tended not wear the service hat at all because those did not display their distinctive Airborne parachute or glider branch patch

I’d like to expand on Stik’s explanation, but I’d happily defer to someone with more detailed knowledge of WWII regulations. It’s important to remember that prior to the 1980’s, and ESPECIALLY prior to 9/11, the U.S. Army was a much more formal institution. Prior to WWII, there was little or no distinction between a presentation (dress) uniform and a field/combat uniform. Although it had been happening for decades, WWI was what finally drew militaries out of parade field combat and modern warfare demonstrated the need and distinction for specialized uniforms. Even still, the U.S. Army entered into WWII with a very formal concept of combat clothing. Think Patton and his neckties. HBT fatigues and even the M-1942 jump suit were intended to be worn as over garments. The serviceman was supposed to wear a service shirt and necktie underneath them.

Why does this matter? The peaked “bus driver hat” was specific to Class A and B wear. They are not for wear with a combat uniform. As Stik mentions, it’s dictated by the “duty uniform” or the “uniform of the day”. The overseas cap is a different matter. It was meant for general use overseas, but not in a combat setting. In order to keep its shape, a peaked cap needs to be kept in a hat box. They don’t get packed into duffle bags. Overseas caps could be worn with combat uniforms in a garrison environment while off duty. Although G.I.'s had access to patrol and floppy boonie type caps, they were strictly intended to be worn in the field, when not in combat, in lieu of the steel helmet. Unlike today, the patrol type caps were not meant as a general purpose field and garrison headgear. If a soldier went on liberty to Paris or London, there were occasions where he could wear a clean field uniform (service shirt, necktie, field jacket, brown wool field pants, leggings and service shoes or a jump suit, service shirt, necktie and jump boots) and the overseas cap would be his headgear (usually that would be dictated by access to his personal belongings and/or his footlocker). He could wear the overseas cap as his headgear while in Class A’s or B’s in lieu of the peaked cap when local regulations or circumstances permitted. And like Stik mentioned, Airborne types liked showing off the large para or glider patch along with the privilege of wearing jump boots on all occasions.

Thanks so much. My idea was to show officers in France in December 1944, in the rear areas, and I deliberately wanted to show them with heads in overseas caps because I felt the Masterbox kit head and cap would not work for my idea. Also I wanted different expressions.