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WW1 German / Prussian M.1915 Pickelhaube Spiked Helmet – Unit Mark – Inf Regt Nr. 137.

WW1 German / Prussian M.1915 Pickelhaube Spiked Helmet – Unit Mark – Inf Regt Nr. 137.

$1,525.00
Product code: 82

Availability: In stock

Quick Overview:

FIRST WORLD WAR GERMAN PRUSSIAN LINE INFANTRY ISSUE MANNSCHAFTEN (OTHER RANKS) SIZE 53½ M.1915 PICKELHAUBE SPIKED HELMET, UNIT MARKED TO 2.UNTERELSÄSSISCHES INFANTERIE-REGIMENT NR.137 OF XV. ARMEEKORPS AND DATED 1916.  This is an excellent original example of a Line Infantry issue Preußen Mannschaften (other ranks) M.1915 Pickelhaube spiked helmet. It was manufactured 1916 as a size 53½ Model 1915 with Prussian line infantry 1915 Regulation grey-painted steel fittings. It is stamped with the unit mark of 2.Unterelsässisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 137, the supply unit, or Bekleidungsamt (BA XV) stamp for XV. Armeekorps and the date 1916 on the neck guard.

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Details

FIRST WORLD WAR GERMAN PRUSSIAN LINE INFANTRY ISSUE MANNSCHAFTEN (OTHER RANKS) SIZE 53½ M.1915 PICKELHAUBE SPIKED HELMET, UNIT MARKED TO 2.UNTERELSÄSSISCHES INFANTERIE-REGIMENT NR.137 OF XV. ARMEEKORPS AND DATED 1916.  This is an excellent original example of a Line Infantry issue Preußen Mannschaften (other ranks) M.1915 Pickelhaube spiked helmet. It was manufactured 1916 as a size 53½ Model 1915 with Prussian line infantry 1915 Regulation grey-painted steel fittings. It is stamped with the unit mark of 2.Unterelsässisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 137, the supply unit, or Bekleidungsamt (BA XV) stamp for XV. Armeekorps and the date 1916 on the neck guard.

The pickelhaube, in various forms and models, was in use with the forces of the German states from 1842 until the end of WW1 in 1918.  Pickelhauben were a military fashion, and had almost no operational function, providing little protection to the wearer. Usually made of boiled leather, lacquered black, (although some cavalry units wore steel pickelhauben), helmet fittings would depend on the state, unit and rank of the wearer. Pickelhauben mounted two round, colored cockades (Kokarde) 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 province of the soldier (Prussia-black and white; Bavaria-white and blue; etc.). Shortages during the First World War saw the introduction of Ersatz Helmets that were made of ersatz (replacement) materials such as felt, tin, steel or fibre. Pickelhauben were gradually phased out in 1916 with the introduction of the M.16 steel helmet (stahlhelm).

This is a M.1915 Preußen Mannschaften (Other Rank's) leather Pickelhaube, with its original liner. The helmet is lacquered black and has 1915 Regulation grey-painted steel fittings, including a dismountable spike (Spitze) with five ventilation holes (Luftlocher), visor trim (Vorderschirm), rear spine (Hinterscheine) and helmet plate (Wappen). The ‘Wappen’ is that of a Prussian Line Infantry regiment and is secured by leather strips which pass through two soldered loops, which sit through the body of the helmet. The original issue nine-tongued liner, which shows evidence of use consistent with age, and is in good original condition with most of its tongues torn and split. The chin strap and the two cockades (Kokarde), the National and the Prussian, which may be contemporaneous replacements, are in good condition while the body of the helmet still retains its shaped form. The helmet body is one of best formed I have come across for some considerable and dates from 1916, around the time that mass production of these helmets ended.

A number of markings are still visible. The unit mark 2.Unterelsässisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 137 is stamped onto the neck guard (Hinterschirm) as is the date of issue 1916. Also visible on the hinterschirm is the the supply unit, or Bekleidungsamt (BA XV) stamp for XV. Armeekorps. As Joseph Robinson and Maxime Chaffotte in their excellent online article explain; the Bekleidungsamt marking indicated acceptance of the helmet from the manufacturer.  The Bekleidungsamt then issued the helmet to the unit which was then regimentally stamped. There are several different types of regimental markings. The easiest to understand marking is one that says IR # for Infantry Regiment. It is also common to see JR# using the common J to replace I in an effort to avoid confusing it with 1.

This helmet would have been issued to a soldier of 2.Unterelsässisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 137 as indicated by the stamp J.R.137. on the ‘Hinterschirm’. This Regiment served with two Divisions (31. Divison and 108. Division) in WW1.  At the start of the war the Regiment formed part of the 62. Infanterie-Brigade which itself was part of 31. Division (of the Imperial German Army).  The division was part of XXI. Army Corps (XXI. Armeekorps) and was garrisoned in Hagenau.

31. Division initially saw action on the Western Front in the Battle of the Frontiers and in the Race for the Sea. In January 1915, the Division moved to the western Front where 2.Unterelsässisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 137 was subordinated to 5. Infanterie-Brigade of 108. Infanterie-Division. The division was formed in May 1915 as "Division Beckmann" (named for its commander, Max Beckmann) and became the 108th Infantry Division on November 7, 1915.  It operated in the Baltic region until June 1916 and then moved south to the Styr River front in Ukraine where it faced the Brusilov Offensive.  It remained in the line until the armistice on the Eastern Front in December 1917 and was then transferred to the Western Front, entering the line north of the Ailette River, where it remained until April 1918. It then fought in the Somme region until it was dissolved on September 19, 1918. Allied intelligence rated the division as third class.  Attached to this listing for interest is a picture of a 2.Unterelsässisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 137 recruitment card showing an infantryman wearing a similar Preußen M.1915 Mannschaften Pickelhaube.  Also attached is a photograph of men from the Regiment training on the Western Front after their arrival there in early 1918.

Preußen Mannschaften M.1915 Pickelhaube were highly valued as souvenirs by Australian and other Allied troops fighting against the Germans during the First World War.  It’s probably fair to say that they were amongst the most valued items to bring home as a momento. A number of examples are in the collection of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and there are also some interesting photographs showing ‘Diggers’ with their captured Pickelhaube including http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/P00151.028 and http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/EZ0137  

From Australia, and almost certainly a souvenir of the fighting on the Western Front during World War One, this 1916 dated Preußen Mannschaften M.1915 Pickelhaube is in excellent original condition and is a first class example of its type. Unit marked to 2.Unterelsässisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 137 it has everything you look for in a Prussian Pikelhaube; condition, patina and provenance. This helmet is certainly one of the best I’ve listed.

Additional Information

Weight (kg) 1.1000
Country of Origin German
Pattern M.1915 Pickelhaube Spiked Helmet
Maker No
Year of Manufacture (circa) 1916