Monthly Archives: March 2019

Belgic Shako Featured Image01

The Belgic Shako

Part 2 of the History of the British Infantry Shako

By 1812, the stovepipe shako had become the ugly stepchild.  Britain’s contact with other European armies, both allies and enemies, highlighted the lacklustre visual appeal of the cap.  Other nations had caps festooned with cords and tassels and seemed to dramatize the height of the soldier to greater advantage.  In the final analysis, Britain adopted a cap closely patterned after the Portuguese “barretina” design.  Ironically, at the same time the English were adding cords to their headwear, the French were abolishing them. As usual, no improvement in protection to the head was made by the design change.

Continue reading
Glengarry Light Infantry shako, visor up and down positions shown

The Stovepipe Shako

Part 1 of the History of the British Infantry Shako

Since the middle of the seventeenth century, soldiers had been wearing broad brimmed felt hats.  The decline of armour as a result of the increased use of firearms had moved headwear into this more practical direction.  For the next one hundred and fifty years the broad brimmed felt hat stayed in use.  Its sides were turned up in various ways, but it retained its essential design.

Continue reading