Another contribution by friend Graham, for whom the G Spot (at least in Bytes) is named. Graham’s email appears below although the reference to the Fox Hat is mine (explained later).
Hi Mr O,Noticed during the trooping of the colour for Her Maj’s birthday the odd bearskin worn by the Duke of Kent and wondered if he had shrunk or if old military people just don’t fit their uniforms like they used to:
S’more . . .
"The bigger the hat, the smaller the sheep station.”
- Australian proverb
Now what do they remind me of? Yes, that's right . . .
Prussian Garde Du Corps Helmet
The börk, the standard headgear used by Ottoman Janissaries, consisted of a cowl that drapes down to the neck and a spoon-holder at the forehead. This was meant to symbolize how they were “messmates”: soldiers who ate together stuck together.
Their headdresses could get more elaborate than this. Officers often had plumes attached, for instance:
Italian Bersaglieri wear what appears to be an entire live chicken on their heads.
Indian and Pakistani military border guards,
As one commenter said, one of the few times you don't notice the AK-47.
Some Q + A, from website Quora at:
Responses contributed by Quora readers and persons with firsthand experience.
Do some troops really wear ballcaps and berets into combat instead of helmets? Why?
These days, there are two most common reasons for wearing a beret or ball cap instead of a helmet:
Cool Factor. Chris Kyle, a rather famous former Navy SEAL, literally admits this in his book ‘American Sniper’. Ball caps aren’t better, not lighter, just ‘cooler’. Ok they might actually be better because they are lighter and cooler in terms of temperature and comfort but that’s not the point! It’s cooler because conventional military personnel are typically not authorized to wear ball caps when going off the base and certainly not when going into expected combat.
The same kind of approach was used with US Civil Affair units in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some people (from these countries) said that US Soldiers looked almost like aliens from outer space with all of their equipment on, so helmets were generally not worn when conducting business with locals so
1). They wouldn’t be as intimidated
2). They could see that they were regular people as well
Did the British army ever wear bearskin hats into battle?
Yes they did. British Foot Guards Regiments, which then were made up of the Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards and the Scots Fusilier Guards (as they were known then), only went into a war once wearing the Bearskins you see now and this was the Crimean War (October 1853 to February 1856).
The only reason the Foot Guards only wore the Bearskin in one war was because they did not fight in any others after the Battle of Waterloo and after the Crimean War within 20 or so years were wearing pith helmets on operations from 1882 onwards.
And for a bit more knowledge for those who do not know. The Bearskin, which was not worn by British Foot Guards Regiments during the Napoleonic Wars, was awarded to the Guards regiments following the Battle of Waterloo as a tribute to the bravery of the Guards, following their defeat of Napoleon’s Old Guard (who wore bearkins). The headwear they wore during this period was the Shako.
Why do Israeli soldiers wear strange hats?
Well this is called Mitznefet (the translation is somewhere between a nightcap and a garment. Yes it doesn't translated very well) and no, we don't use that for sleep. There are some real advantages of wearing it over than a normal helmet cover:
The main reason: it breaks shape - all the military helmets have the same round shape, so instead of making your head exposure bigger, you change it into an asymmetric shape, and that makes you harder to spot. (Perfect circles and shapes are not natural things).
The lesser reason: It provides you with blessed shade for you to enjoy. When you're in ambush for several days in a row that becomes a thing you just can't live without.
Not only that, it actually helps you to sleep well (try to sleep when there are flies in the bush you're in, making your life a living hell).
These hats are not strange, they are simple, easily removable add-ons that come on top of a standard military helmet and are just camouflage gear. They break the easily recognizable human silhouette and they come in multiple versions so they can be customized to the surrounding terrain.
One other thing . . .
On one occasion that Prince Charles visited Australia, he attended a function at Wagga Wagga where he was met by various dignitaries, including the Mayor. Whilst having a cocktail, the Mayor said to the Prince “Your Highness, it’s quite a hot day and yet you have chosen an unusual style of headwear, a fur cap. Isn’t that quite hot and uncomfortable?” The Prince replied “Well, yes, it is actually, but it was Mummy’s idea.” “I’m sorry, Her Majesty told you to wear it?" said the Mayor. “Oh, yes,” replied Charles. “I spoke to her by telephone this morning. She asked me what I was doing today and I told her I was attending a reception at Wagga Wagga. She said ‘Wear the fox hat.’ “