The Z-Special Mk II, our latest collaboration with the Papa Nui Cap Co, is a faithful recreation of the knit cap (aka the cap comforter) that the US Army Rangers wore the first time they ever saw combat. Darby's 1st Ranger Battalion was originally formed in the UK and trained by the British and hence employed a great deal of British gear at their inception. During their training a group of 50 Rangers was attached to the British No. 3 and No. 4 Commando and Canadian forces for Operation Jubilee, the fateful raid on Dieppe. No. 4 Commando and the Rangers attached to the unit wore the cap comforter during the successful raid on Varengeville (Operation Cauldron, Orange Beach) specifically for easy unit identification. While the raid on Dieppe has become a tragic cautionary tale the Commandos and U.S Army Rangers are widely regarded as having performed their roles to a high standard with the execution of Operation Cauldron, in particular, considered exemplary.
The cap comforter is an ingenious dual purpose piece of kit that can be worn as a cap or used as a short scarf. While issued widely to British forces it has become emblematic of the Commando/SAS units of WW2. In remembrance of the British and Canadian allies lost on Operation Jubilee each cap is adorned with a Remembrance Day poppy pin(1). Finally each Mk II version of the cap comforter is marked with an original WW2 vintage US identification stamp(2) issued to US forces for use on their clothing as a nod to the American Ranger contingent of Operation Jubilee and Operation Cauldron specifically.