The Lost Generation: World War I Poetry: World War I Artifacts
U.S. Army Garrison Cap
World War I, U.S. Army garrison cap. From the Historical Collection, donated by Ponder Lee Brown (74. 1. 48).
U.S. Army Brodie Helmet
World War I, U.S. Army Brodie helmet. From the Historical Collection, donated by Mrs. Olive M. Johnson (G. 301).
U.S. Army Officer’s Visor Hat
World War I, U.S. Army officer’s visor hat. From the Historical Collection (46. 40).
U.S. Officer’s Campaign Hat
World War I, U.S. officer’s campaign hat. From the Historical Collections (2200).
World War I, Small box gas mask. From the Alvin Mansfield Owsley Collection (HM. 15).
World War I, Gas mask time card. From the Alvin Mansfield Owsley Collection (HM. 15).
This World War I era gas mask is a type of “small box respirator” which utilized activated charcoal (made from peach pits or the pits of other stone fruits) to cleanse the air. There is a small valve, inside the mask behind the tube, which the wearer would use to breathe through their mouth, and a clip inside the mask which would squeeze their nose closed. The card that accompanies the mask is meant to be used to keep track of the amount of time the mask is worn, so that the wearer will know when to replace the charcoal for optimal air purification.
These items were issued to Alvin Mansfield Owsley, who served during World War I in the 36th Infantry Division of the Texas Army National Guard.
Find out more about the Owsley Collection in the Finding Aid.
U.S. Army Jacket
World War I, U.S. Army wool jacket. From the Historical Collection, donated by Watt L. Black (74. 7. 4).
36th National Guard Private’s Jacket
World War I, 36th National Guard, Texas, Private’s wool jacket. From the Historical Collection, donated by Mary Helen Rucker (46. 40).
This jacket was worn by George N. Rucker who was stationed at Camp Travis in San Antonio, Texas, during World War I. The arrowhead patch with the “T” in the center represents the 36th infantry division of the Texas Army National Guard, which was made up of Texans and Oklahomans. The silver chevron patch lower on the sleeve represents stateside service of at least six months. A second silver chevron patch would have been added for an additional six months served, so we can tell that Rucker only served between six and eleven months. The red chevron near the shoulder represents honorable discharge.
World War I, U.S. Army ammunition belt. From the Historical Collection (112).
World War I, U.S. Army mess kit. From the J.W. Bates Collection (B. 9. 356a-e).
U.S.S. Madawaska, Instructions for Troops Card
World War I, U.S.S. Madawaska “Instructions for Troops” card. From the Victor Lauderdale Collection (AR0229).
This card was issued to soldiers making the transatlantic journey to or from Europe on the U.S.S. Madawaska, during World War I. The card lists the rules for non-Naval soldiers onboard the ship, including safety precautions, such as no smoking on deck after sunset or before sunrise so that the glowing cigarette won’t reveal their position to enemy ships, as well as information about meals, and the expected behavior of the soldiers. The final instruction on the card states that spitting on the deck will not be tolerated as it is “a filthy, unsanitary habit.” The lower half of this card has a table indicating three meals for each day of the week, and the meals would have holes punched in them as the soldier acquired his food.
Find out more about the Lauderdale Collection in the Finding Aid.
German Sword and Scabbard
World War I, German sword and scabbard. From the Historical Collection, donated by Fred Minor (31. 10a, b).
Artillery Shell Casings
World War I, Artillery shell casings. From the Historical Collection (No# (111), No# (112)).
Photograph of Four Soldiers
World War I, Photograph of four soldiers. From the World War I Collection (AR0819).
This photograph of four soldiers, during World War I, was taken at Camp Bullis, Leon Springs, Texas in 1918 while on maneuvers with the 359th Infantry, 90th Division, as is indicated by the hand written information on the photograph. The men are numbered 1 through 4 from left to right, and each of their fates are listed below.
Captain Vanderkooi- wounded, captured and maimed for life in front of [Pagny] Sept. 16, 1918. Found in German Hospital in Metz at the armistice.
Lieutenant Rex Cunningham- killed in action Sept. 12, 1918 in St. Mihiel Offensive.
Lieutenant Sam Williams- wounded Sept. 12, 1918 at St. Mihiel and Nov. 10, 1918 in Meuse-Argonne.
Lieutenant Dan Leiper- D.S.C.- killed during [our] attack in Meuse-Argonne on 11-2-18.
Find out more about the World War I Collection in the Finding Aid.
For further information about the 90th Division and the 359th Infantry, look at A History of the 90th Division by George Wythe. This text was uploaded to the Internet Archive by the University of Michigan.
Red Cross Poster
World War I, Red Cross poster, 1919. From the World War I Collection (AR0819).
Find out more about the World War I Collection in the Finding Aid.
Federal Food Administrator Pledge Card
World War I, Federal Food Administrator pledge card. From the World War I Collection (AR0819).
Find out more about the World War I Collection in the Finding Aid.
United War-Work Campaign Poster
World War I, United War-Work Campaign poster. From the World War I Collection (AR0819).
Find out more about the World War I Collection in the Finding Aid.
4th Liberty Loan Honor Roll Poster
World War I, 4th Liberty Loan “Honor Roll” poster. From the World War I Materials Collection (T 1.25/7:4/12 B).
Third Liberty Loan Pin
World War I, Third Liberty Loan pin. From the World War I Materials Collection (HG4936. T55 P56 1918).
Victory Liberty Loan Honor Roll Poster
World War I, Victory Liberty Loan “Honor Roll” poster. From the World War I Materials Collection (T 1.27/25:5/13-C)
Victory Liberty Loan Medallion
World War I, Victory Liberty Loan medallion. From the World War I Materials Collection (HG4936. V53 M43 1919).
The front of this medallion shows the U.S. Treasury building and a bald eagle below it.
The back reads: “Made from captured German cannon
Awarded by the U.S. Treasury Department for patriotic service in [sic] behalf of the Liberty Loans”
Transcribed letters to Mr. Ed Bradley, #11 & #18. From the World War I Collection (AR0819).
The letter to Mr. Ed Bradley on Dec 22, 1918, by Sgt. B.F. Loveless describes, rather frankly and graphically, the fighting that Sgt. Loveless experienced during World War I. Much of the gruesome fighting that he shares involves the innovative weaponry of the time such as machine guns, artillery shells, land mines, and poison gases.
The letter to Mr. Ed Bradley on April 16, 1919 is from an unknown sender. The letters in the Bradley collection are from multiple individuals, and with the name cut off after the salutation, we cannot tell who sent the letter. In this letter, the writer describes the loss of his best friend and others from his company, during a battle on Hill 60, a battlefield in Belgium, which was fought over throughout the war as it offered a valuable vantage point.
Find out more about the World War I Collection in the Finding Aid.
This is a short discussion on the modifications to the 1910 field uniform. There is not enough space here to fully document all the variations in German uniform standards, so this piece is limited to the typical infantry uniform. The growth of the German Army from 1870 to 1914, was a quartermaster's nightmare in supply for all the different types of helmets and uniforms for all the various German regiments and branches of service. Until 1910, each German state had its own particular uniform color, belt buckle motto, and a bewildering variety of badges, armbands, and helmet plates so that each particular Regiment had some distinctive or unique characteristic to commemorate some past battle or other distinction bestowed upon it. Sometimes there were unique distinctions inside regiments. Some regiments had a Leib (Guard) Company. Another example is the grand duchy of Brunswick, the home of the 92nd infantry regiment. The 3rd battalion wore a small silver death's head plate over the brass Prussian helmet plate that the 1st & 2nd battalions were not entitled to wear. In 1910, the entire German army adopted the Feldgrau uniform, while maintaining all State and Regimental variations. The pre-1910 uniforms were also maintained for parades, law court, guard duty, social affairs and for "walking-out", or off-duty times. The military luxury of maintaining the variety of uniforms could only be supported under peacetime conditions. The outbreak of war forced the German army to simplify it's field uniform. This occurred twice in 1915, and again in 1917.
This is a photo of a young Prussian N.C.O. circa 1912 in his dress uniform. His tunic is Dunkelblau (Dark Blue), his trousers are black with red side seam piping. The dark band of his hat, the standing collar and Brandenburg cuff are red. The lace trim at the collar and cuff is gold, and indicates his rank as an N.C.O. The lack of N.C.O. disks on the collar indicate his rank as Unteroffizier, a rank between corporal and Sergeant. He is wearing a marksman's lanyard with one acorn, the lowest qualification as a marksman. His belt buckle is brass with a silver badge in the center, unchanged since 1847. The badge has the Prussian king's crown in the center and the Prussian State Motto, Gott Mit Uns (God is With Us), surrounding the crown. He is wearing a bayonet and bayonet knot. The colored bands of the bayonet knot would indicate which company this soldier belonged to. The buttons on his shoulder boards would also have the company number on them.
A photo of a young Prussian Einjährig-freiwillige (One-year Volunteer), circa 1903. His uniform is blue with a red standing collar. The black braid on the white piping of his shoulder boards was worn only by a Prussian One-year Volunteer, each State. The One-year Volunteer served 12 months in boot camp as a private and paid all his own expenses for food, clothing, and equipment. At the end of the year, he would have been transferred to the Reserve as an "aspirant officer", and upon completion of a two year training course would receive his first lieutenant's commission in the reserve. This was a method that a financially secure middle class family could raise their social standing in the somewhat rigid German social scene.
This is a Bavarian reservist, called up for service late in 1914. He is wearing the standard 1910 Fieldgrey wool uniform with Brandenburg cuffs, piped in red, and the Stehumfallkragen (stand and fall collar), a very uncomfortable back pack and leather jackboots, unchanged since 1870. The outside seam of his Fieldgrey trousers would also have been piped in red. The buttons on his tunic have the Bavarian rampant lion in place of the Prussian crown. He is wearing a leather or enameled tin pickelhaube with a brass Bavarian state helmet plate, spike, and trim. The disks on his collar, and lack of N.C.O. lace at the collar and cuff indicate his rank as Gefrieter (lance corporal). Fixed to his rifle is the obsolete quill, or feather, bayonet, it has a very thin blade and is over 24 inches long. Later the bayonet was altered to have a shorter and wider blade, the so called 'butcher' bayonet, as its shape resembled the large knife a butcher would use. His 3 section leather ammo pouches hold fifteen rounds in each section for a total of ninety rounds, a further one hundred and fifty rounds were carried in the pack. His belt buckle is iron and painted field grey. The badge in the center of the buckle has the Bavarian king's crown surrounded by the Bavarian State motto, In Treue Fest (In Loyalty Steadfast).
This photo was taken in mid 1915. The soldier's Pickelhaube (spiked helmet) is covered with the canvas cover. Pre-war helmet covers would have had the regimental number indicated by a large red Arabic number. In 1914, the color of the number was changed to dark green, and in 1915, it was left off altogether. The leather used in the helmet was imported from Argentina. In 1914, the British blockade caused the first shortage of the war, leather for helmets. Felt and fibre board as well as tin or sheet metal was used as substitute materials for making helmets. Spiked helmets continued to be produced for enlisted men until the spring of 1916, when the Stahlhelm, (steel helmet), was introduced. The soldier is wearing the 1915 Transitional tunic. A wartime measure simplified the tunic and eliminated the complex Brandenburg and Swedish cuffs of the 1910 uniform and replaced them with simple turn back cuffs. This style cuff was well liked by the soldiers, as all military passes and other I.D. required to be shown to military authorities could be conveniently stowed away in the fold of the wide turn back cuff. Up to the end of the war the 1910, Transitional and 1915 Bluse type tunics continued to be produced. The soldier's belt buckle is the pre-war brass and silver type. Attached to his rifle is the shorter, butcher bayonet.
This photo is an example of a Bavarian soldier, circa 1917, wearing the 1915 Bluse type wool tunic. The cuffs turn back as in the Transitional tunic, and the brass buttons of the 1910 and Transitional tunics have been replaced with a fly front that concealed the simple buttons of horn; later in the war, wood, bakelite, or any ersatz materials were used for buttons. All metals were becoming scarce by 1916. As a result the only visible buttons on the tunic are tour zinc buttons, two at the shoulder boards and two at the tunic pockets. The soldier is wearing the standard German enlisted man's Feldmütze (field cap), a visorless hat. An N.C.O. would wear a similar style hat, but with a small leather visor. The feldmütze was field grey wool, with a colored band on the bottom, red for infantry, green for Jägers (light infantry), and black for artillery and Pioneers (combat engineers). In late 1915 a grey canvas camouflage strip was issued to be tied around the red band on the feldmütze. There are two colored buttons on the feldmütze. The top button indicated the German army, the bottom button indicated what German State the soldier served. The top button is Black, White, and Red, the national colors of Germany. The bottom button is White, Blue, White, the State colors of Bavaria. Each state had its own colors, Prussian colors were White and Black. The soldiers belt buckle is iron, but painted black. In 1915, an order from the Kaiser changed the traditional brown finish of leather boots, belts and other gear to black, and belt buckles were painted black after this. Bavaria did not change to black leather until 1916. The ribbon on the soldier's tunic is the Bavarian Militärverdienstorden (Military Service Order), the Bavarian equivalent to the Iron Cross. In the field only the ribbon was worn, the medal was sent home for safekeeping.
This Prussian soldier is somewhere near the front lines, but not too near or he would be carrying a gas mask in an airtight metal can. He is wearing the feldmütze, with the canvas camouflage strip, the 1915 Transitional tunic, and ankle boots with Gamaschen (Puttees). Leather for boots was in short supply to the German army. Soldiers were paid a bounty if they provided their own boots, which were usually lace up ankle boots, as illustrated here. Most storm trooper units wore this style boot in place of the clumsy jackboots. The soldier is wearing a brass and silver belt buckle. This soldier is off-duty but still carries his bayonet. A German soldier was always armed, even when off duty. Later in the war a trench dagger often replaced the bayonet for off duty times. The ribbon on his tunic is for the Prussian Eiserne Kreuz II Klasse (Iron Cross II class). In the field, only the ribbon was worn in the second button hole as this soldier does, while the medal would have been sent home. The Iron Cross 1st class had no ribbon and was generally only awarded to officers who had previously been awarded the 2nd class medal. On rare occasions the 1st class medal would be awarded to an enlisted man.
A group of young soldiers from Wurtemburg pose in the photographer's studio. They are members of the 248th Regiment, a new unit created after 1916. The soldier seated on the right, and the others standing behind are wearing dark brown corduroy trousers. By 1916, many private purchase items began to supplement standard government issue clothing and boots, which were becoming more difficult to supply on a regular basis. The corduroy trousers were popular with mountain climbers, and soon with soldiers in the trenches as well. There were two types of corduroy trousers, regular straight leg trousers and a type similar to knickers in that they were loose down to below the knee, then they fit close to the calf, which worked well with ankle boots and Gamaschen. All of the soldiers are wearing the feldmütze with the camouflage strip, the state colors of the lower button was black, red, black.. Their tunics are the standard 1910 uniform with Swedish cuffs and the 1915 Transitional type. They all are wearing the brass and silver belt buckle, with the Wurtemburg king's crown surrounded by the state motto, Furchtlos und Treu (Fearless and True).
This is a very brief survey of the changes to the German infantryman's uniform and it is hoped that this short discussion is of interest.
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Pyramid of captured German helmets, New York, 1919
Pyramid of WWI German helmets at Grand Central, 1919.
This interesting picture, taken in 1919, shows employees of the New York Central Railroad at a celebration in Victory Way, showing off a pyramid of recovered German helmets in front of Grand Central Terminal. There were over 12,000 German Pickelhaubes on the pyramid, sent from warehouses in Germany at the end of the war.
Victory Way was set up on Park Avenue to raise money for the 5th War Loan, and a pyramid of 12,000 helmets was erected at each end, along with other German war equipment. There is a hollow supporting structure underneath the helmets.
While many of the image’s details have been confirmed, the figure that was placed at the top of the pyramid is still subject to speculation. Some sources believe that it’s Nike, the Goddess of Victory. There are also two cannons located at the left and right of the helmet pyramid.
Beyond a well-framed shot, this photograph is interesting for the symbolism, sociological impact, and historical significance. Many people may find the sight of so many enemy helmets too macabre with each helmet representing a dead or captured soldier.
And how does such a public display affect the psyche of citizens? To be located near Grand Central Terminal means it would have been seen by a lot of people. The cannons in the foreground, the numerous flags, the eagles atop the pillars; the symbolism in this shot is very powerful.
There is a hollow supporting structure underneath the helmets.
All helmets produced for the infantry before and during 1914 were made of leather. As the war progressed, Germany’s leather stockpiles dwindled. After extensive imports from South America, particularly Argentina, the German government began producing ersatz Pickelhauben made of other materials. In 1915, some Pickelhauben began to be made from thin sheet steel. However, the German high command needed to produce an even greater number of helmets, leading to the usage of pressurized felt and even paper to construct Pickelhauben.
During the early months of World War I, it was soon discovered that the Pickelhaube did not measure up to the demanding conditions of trench warfare. The leather helmets offered virtually no protection against shell fragments and shrapnel and the conspicuous spike made its wearer a target.
These shortcomings, combined with material shortages, led to the introduction of the simplified model 1915 helmet, with a detachable spike. In September 1915 it was ordered that the new helmets were to be worn without spikes, when in the front line.
Beginning in 1916, the Pickelhaube was slowly replaced by a new German steel helmet (the Stahlhelm) intended to offer greater head protection from shell fragments. The German steel helmet decreased German head wound fatalities by 70%.
German WW1 1914 Field Cap - Enlisted - Collectors Grade. This cap is a reproduction of the Prussian 1914 Enlisted Man’s field service model. Enlisted men's caps during the first world war had no visors. Includes the correct metal cockades, one for the Prussian State and one for the German Reich.
Our Collectors Grade Army Caps are the top of the line WWI collector hats on the market. These caps are available with thick wool tops in correct field grey color with wool cap bands. These premium quality WWI caps feature our best quality insignia with cotton linings printed with original Lubstein logos.
Marked in German sizes and corresponding US hat sizes.
Sizes: 56 (US size 7), 57 (US size 7-1/8), 58 (US size 7-1/4), 59 (US size 7-3/8), 60 (US size 7-1/2) 61 (US size 7 5/8).
Features:* Field-grey Wool Tops
* Red Wool Cap Bands
* Red Piping Infantry
* Cotton Lining
* Correct Metal Cockades
* Quality, Silver Plated Insignia
German hat war 1 world
German Field Caps in the First World War
In the early 20th century several factors would lead to the demise of the traditional colourful German field uniforms. German experiences in their African colonies and on the East Asia Expeditionary Corps’ suppression of the Boxer Rebellion in China forced a change to lighter and more tactically efficient uniform designs. Moreover, German observers returning from the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05 witnessed the destructive power of modern weapons on soldiers that were easily detected on the battlefield.
Tactical necessity dictated a battlefield uniform less conspicuous to enemy detection, and the Imperial German Army reluctantly implemented changes to their brightly coloured field uniforms. However, the field cap’s band and piping colours remained constant, and it was one of the few remaining vestiges of colour from the pre-war uniform. The field cap, when used in combination with the colour-coded shoulder straps (Schulterklappe) and bayonet knot (Troddel), would designate a soldier’s branch of service, corps, regiment and company.
This article concerns the types and colour codes of the standard German round field caps for other ranks (Krätzchen or Feldmütze) and peaked field caps for all ranks (Schirmmütze or Dienstmütze) during the First World War. Like many other items of German uniform apparel, cap design experienced significant transformation throughout the war due to both tactical requirements and economic constraints.
The Model 1907 Krätzchen for Other Ranks
The Krätzchen had a field-grey wool body constructed with a round one-piece top with quarter panels below. The quarter panels were sewn together to form a seam on the front, back and on each side. Inside the cap was a white calico lining with a separate sewn-in sweatband of the same material. Most had various black ink regulation issue stamps (Kammerstempel) indicating the corps uniform department (“BA “ for Bekleidungsamt), year of manufacture and sometimes the regiment. It was also common to see a maker’s stamp and size, and even the wearer’s handwritten name inside or on a sewn cotton label. Caps were also re-issued and this is typically indicated by a striking or blotting out of the old unit stamps with the new unit stamp added. When a cap was re-issued, it should have a “J” or “I” stamp. This stood for the Repair Depot for clothing (Instandsetzungsamt). Unfortunately, due to hard use and moisture, many of the existing examples have stamps that are unreadable or completely faded away.
The colour coding system
Because the Krätzchen was a vital link in the rather complicated unit colour-coding system, it had a wide-range of colour combinations for the band and piping. A 3.2cm wide coloured band in combination with piping at the cap’s top, and sometimes on the band, indicated the wearer’s branch, or in the cavalry’s case, regiment. It sounds simple, yet the almost endless colour-coding made it so complicated it had little utility. For example, all infantrymen would have a poppy red band and piping. Various shades of red band and piping would also apply to certain regiments of Dragoons, Ulans, Schwere Reiter and Chevaulegers. Some cavalry regiments, such as Hussars and Cuirassiers, would have their own unique unit colour combination. Certain branches of the army would wear the identical colour combination, such as the technical branches, including engineers, field artillery and transport troops (black band with red piping).
To read more please see the March/April 2010 issue of the Armourer.
The Pickelhaube (plural Pickelhauben; from the German Pickel, "point" or "pickaxe", and Haube, "bonnet", a general word for "headgear"), also Pickelhelm, is a spiked helmet that was worn in the 19th and 20th centuries by Prussian and Germanmilitary, firefighters and police. Although it is typically associated with the Prussian Army, which adopted it in 1842–43, the helmet was widely imitated by other armies during that period. It is still worn today as part of ceremonial wear in the militaries of certain countries, such as Sweden, Chile, and Colombia.
The Pickelhaube was originally designed in 1842 by King Frederick William IV of Prussia, perhaps as a copy of similar helmets that were adopted at the same time by the Russian military. It is not clear whether this was a case of imitation, parallel invention, or if both were based on the earlier Napoleonic cuirassier. The early Russian type (known as "The Helmet of Yaroslav Mudry") was also used by cavalry, which had used the spike as a holder for a horsehair plume in full dress, a practice also followed with some Prussian models (see below).
Frederick William IV introduced the Pickelhaube for use by the majority of Prussian infantry on 23 October 1842 by a royal cabinet order. The use of the Pickelhaube spread rapidly to other German principalities. Oldenburg adopted it by 1849, Baden by 1870, and in 1887, the Kingdom of Bavaria was the last German state to adopt the Pickelhaube (since the Napoleonic Wars, they had had their own design of helmet called the Raupenhelm, a Tarleton helmet). Amongst other European armies, that of Russia adopted the helmet in 1844, that of Sweden adopted the Prussian version of the spiked helmet in 1845, in Wallachia it was decided to adopt the helmet on 15 August 1845, possibly being influenced by the visit of Prince Albert of Prussia, however its introduction to the troops took longer, while Moldavia adopted the Russian version of the spiked helmet in the same year, possibly under the influence of the Tsarist Army.
From the second half of the 19th century onwards, the armies of a number of nations besides Russia (including Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, and Venezuela) adopted the Pickelhaube or something very similar. The popularity of this headdress in Latin America arose from a period during the early 20th century when military missions from Imperial Germany were widely employed to train and organize national armies. Peru was the first to use the helmet for the Peruvian Army when some helmets were shipped to the country in the 1870s, but during the War of the Pacific the 6th Infantry Regiment "Chacabuco" of the Chilean Army became the first Chilean military unit to use them when its personnel used the helmets—which were seized from the Peruvians—in their red French-inspired uniforms. These sported the Imperial German eagles but in the 1900s the eagles were replaced by the national emblems of the countries that used them.
The Russian version initially had a horsehair plume fitted to the end of the spike, but this was later discarded in some units. The Russian spike was topped with a grenade motif. At the beginning of the Crimean War, such helmets were common among infantry and grenadiers, but soon fell out of place in favour of the forage cap. After 1862 the spiked helmet ceased to be generally worn by the Russian Army, although it was retained until 1914 by the Cuirassier regiments of the Imperial Guard and the Gendarmerie. The Russians prolonged the history of the pointed military headgear with their own cloth Budenovka adopted in 1919 by the Red Army.
In 1847, the Household Cavalry, along with British dragoons and dragoon guards, adopted a helmet which was a hybrid between the Pickelhaube and the traditional dragoon helmet which it replaced. This "Albert Pattern" helmet was named after Albert, Prince Consort who took a keen interest in military uniforms, and featured a falling horsehair plume which could be removed when on campaign. It was adopted by other heavy cavalry regiments across the British Empire and remains in ceremonial use. The Pickelhaube also influenced the design of the British army Home Service helmet, as well as the custodian helmet still worn by police in England and Wales. The linkage between Pickelhaube and Home Service helmet was however not a direct one, since the British headdress was higher, had only a small spike and was made of stiffened cloth over a cork framework, instead of leather. Both the United States Army and Marine Corps wore helmets of the British pattern for full dress between 1881 and 1902.
The basic Pickelhaube was made of hardened (boiled) leather, given a glossy-black finish, and reinforced with metal trim (usually plated with gold or silver for officers) that included a metal spike at the crown. Early versions had a high crown, but the height gradually was reduced and the helmet became more fitted in form, in a continuing process of weight-reduction and cost-saving. In 1867 a further attempt at weight reduction by removing the metal binding of the front peak, and the metal reinforcing band on the rear of the crown (which also concealed the stitched rear seam of the leather crown), did not prove successful.
The version of the Pickelhaube worn by Prussian artillery units employed a ball-shaped finial rather than the pointed spike, a modification ordered in 1844 because of injuries to horses and damage to equipment caused by the latter. Prior to the outbreak of World War I in 1914 detachable black or white plumes were worn with the Pickelhaube in full dress by German generals, staff officers, dragoon regiments, infantry of the Prussian Guard and a number of line infantry regiments as a special distinction. This was achieved by unscrewing the spike (a feature of all Pickelhauben regardless of whether they bore a plume) and replacing it with a tall metal plume-holder known as a trichter. For musicians of these units, and also for Bavarian Artillery and an entire cavalry regiment of the Saxon Guard, this plume was red.
Aside from the spike finial, perhaps the most recognizable feature of the Pickelhaube was the ornamental front plate, which denoted the regiment's province or state. The most common plate design consisted of a large, spread-winged eagle, the emblem used by Prussia. Different plate designs were used by Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden, and the other German states. The Russians used the traditional double-headed eagle.
German military Pickelhauben also mounted two round, colored cockades behind the chinstraps attached to the sides of the helmet. The right cockade, the national cockade, was red, black and white. The left cockade was used to denote the state of the soldier (Prussia: black and white; Bavaria: white and blue; etc.).
All-metal versions of the Pickelhaube were worn mainly by cuirassiers, and often appear in portraits of high-ranking military and political figures (such as Otto von Bismarck, pictured above). These helmets were sometimes referred to as lobster-tail helmets, due to their distinctive articulated neck guard. The design of these is based on cavalry helmets in common use since the 16th century, but with some features taken from the leather helmets. The version worn by the Prussian Gardes du Corps was of tombac (copper and zinc alloy) with silver mountings. That worn by the cuirassiers of the line since 1842 was of polished steel with brass mountings,
In 1892, a light brown cloth helmet cover, the M1892 Überzug, became standard issue for all Pickelhauben for manoeuvres and active service. The Überzug was intended to protect the helmet from dirt and reduce its combat visibility, as the brass and silver fittings on the Pickelhaube proved to be highly reflective. Regimental numbers were sewn or stenciled in red (green from August 1914) onto the front of the cover, other than in units of the Prussian Guards, which never carried regimental numbers or other adornments on the Überzug. With exposure to the sun, the Überzug faded into a tan shade. In October 1916 the colour was changed to feldgrau (field grey), although by that date the plain metal Stahlhelm was standard issue for most troops.
In World War I
All helmets produced for the infantry before and during 1914 were made of leather. As the war progressed, Germany's leather stockpiles dwindled. After extensive imports from South America, particularly Argentina, the German government began producing ersatz Pickelhauben made of other materials. In 1915, some Pickelhauben started to be constructed from thin sheet steel. However, the German high command needed to produce an even greater number of helmets, leading to the usage of pressurized felt and even paper to construct Pickelhauben. The Pickelhaube was discontinued in 1916.
During the early months of World War I, it was soon discovered that the Pickelhaube did not measure up to the demanding conditions of trench warfare. The leather helmets offered little protection against shell fragments and shrapnel and the conspicuous spike made its wearer a target. These shortcomings, combined with material shortages, led to the introduction of the simplified model 1915 helmet described above, with a detachable spike. In September 1915 it was ordered that the new helmets were to be worn without spikes when in the front line.
Beginning in 1916, the Pickelhaube was slowly replaced by a new German steel helmet (the Stahlhelm) intended to offer greater head protection from shell fragments. The German steel helmet decreased German head wound fatalities by 70%. After the adoption of the Stahlhelm, the Pickelhaube was reduced to limited ceremonial wear by senior officers away from the war zones; plus the Leibgendarmerie S.M. des Kaisers whose role as an Imperial/Royal escort led them to retain peacetime full dress throughout the war. With the collapse of the German Empire in 1918, the Pickelhaube ceased to be part of the military uniform, and even the police adopted shakos of a Jäger style. In modified forms the new Stahlhelm helmet would continue to be worn by German troops into World War II.
The Pickelhaube is still part of the parade/ceremonial uniform of the Life Guards of Sweden, the National Republican Guard (GNR) of Portugal, King's Guard of Thailand, the military academies of Chile, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador, the Military College of Bolivia, the Army Central Band and Army School Bands of Chile, the Chilean Army's 1st Cavalry and 1st Artillery Regiments, and the Presidential Guard Battalion and National Police of Colombia. The Blues and Royals, the Life Guards of the United Kingdom and traffic police in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan also use different forms of the Pickelhaube. The modern Romanian Gendarmerie (Jandarmeria Româna) maintain a mounted detachment who wear a white plumed Pickelhaube of a model dating from the late 19th century, as part of their ceremonial uniform.
As early as 1844, the poet Heinrich Heine mocked the Pickelhaube as a symbol of reaction and an unsuitable head-dress. He cautioned that the spike could easily "draw modern lightnings down on your romantic head". The poem was part of his political satire on the contemporary monarchy, national chauvinism, and militarism, used aggressively against democratic movements, entitled Germany. A Winter's Tale.
In the lead-up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, a molded plastic version of the Pickelhaube was available as a fanware article. The common model was colored in the black-red-gold of the German flag, with a variety of other colors also available.
The spiked helmet remained part of a clichéd mental picture of Imperial Germany as late as the inter-war period even after the headdress had ceased to be worn. This was possibly because of the extensive use of the pickelhaube in Allied propaganda before and during World War I, although the helmet had been a well known icon of Imperial Germany even prior to 1914. Pickelhauben were popular targets for Allied souvenir hunters during the early months of the war.
- ^Knotel, Richard. Uniforms of the World. p. 129. ISBN .
- ^See "The American Pickelhaube"Archived 2009-02-02 at the Wayback Machine for examples of American military Pickelhaube.
- ^The German Pickelhaube, 1914-1916Archived 2007-05-01 at the Wayback Machine, Trenches on the Web web site.
- ^With their helmets being called "The helmet of Yaroslav Mudry, which had a grenade on top, rather than a spike, and was much taller. Introduced in c. 1820 and abolished after the Crimean War."Military Fashion by John Mollo (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1972), page 133Archived 2007-11-09 at the Wayback Machine from excerpt cited on "What's the origin of the Pickelhaube spiked hat?" from the Axis History Forum.
- ^The Model 1842 PickelhaubeArchived 2007-05-21 at the Wayback Machine from the Kaiser's Bunker web site.
- ^"Complete Collection of Laws of the Russian Empire" (in Russian). p. 334.
- ^Knotel, Richard. Uniforms of the World. pp. 416–417. ISBN .
- ^"Primele căști ale infanteriei române" (in Romanian).
- ^Jara Franco, Ricardo (18 August 2011). "PICKELHAUBEN IN LATIN AMERICA". Retrieved 23 December 2018.
- ^Richard and Henry Knotel, Uniforms of the World, ISBN 0-684-16304-7
- ^http://www.pickelhauben.net/articles/latin_America.html[permanent dead link]
- ^Khvostov, Mikhail. The Russian Civil War (1) The Red Army. p. 46. ISBN .
- ^Wood, Stephen (2015). Those Terrible Grey Horses: An Illustrated History of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. Osprey Publishing. p. 82. ISBN .
- ^Major R. M. Barnes, p. 257, "A History of the Regiments & Uniforms of the British Army, First Sphere Books, 1972.
- ^Herr, Ulrich. The German Artillery from 1871 to 1914. pp. 38–39. ISBN .
- ^First World War, Willmott, H. P., Dorling Kindersley, 2003, p. 59.
- ^"Get the Point? — A Brief History of Germany's 'Pickelhaube' Spiked Helmet". MilitaryHistoryNow.com. 2012-05-27. Archived from the original on 2017-11-12. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
- ^World War One German Army, Stephen Bull, pp. 71–73.
- ^Charles Woolley, p. 368, Uniforms and Equipment of the Imperial German Army 1900–1918, ISBN 0-7643-0935-8.
- ^Andrew Mollo, p. 191, Army Uniforms of World War I, ISBN 0-668-04479-9.
- ^Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen. Caput IIIArchived 2013-07-03 at the Wayback Machine Deutschelyric.de, retrieved 15 June 2013.
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