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Imperial German Military Officers’ Helmets and Headdress 1871-1918

Stubbs, Thomas N.G., Schiffer Military History,  Atglen PA, 2003 (English)

This is one of the books available today from Schiffers. First let me say that there is praise galore for the work of Mr. Stubbs. At the time it came out this was the praised book of the minute.  However, it has been eclipsed by other works especially those of Verlag Militaria. Currently, I would not buy this book. I would save my money and buy the books of the other publisher. There is a qualitative difference between the books published by Verlag Militaria and other publishers. Verlag Militaria books are so much higher quality. The books by Schiffers are attractive but do not contain the quality in the narration, pictures, or research provided by Verlag Militaria.

 Any criticism of the work needs to be tempered by understanding the timing of when it was published. At the time it was a great thing.

 First I would say poor choice of title.  Why?  Because it is MAINLY about officer's helmets.  There is far more in there. Beampten helmets and Reserve coverage! There are pictures and explanation of the Beamte.  No one else does that. There is limited coverage of the older style helmets so 1871 is maybe not a good start date for the title. Some enlisted helmets. OK so the criticisms.

1. I like the pictures but some will say there are fuzzy ones.  Not of the Sander's type but I'm sure some of these are older photos.  It does not detract.

2. What does in my mind is a nasty habit of picture taking without clear pictures of the Cockardes. Lots of pictures that show right side not left. No real cockade pictures or same detailed explanation.  You get used to his very high standard and disappointed when he falls short of it. My pet question about Brunswick Cockardes goes unanswered and pictures of BOTH types of Cockardes are in the book. 

3. He goes up to the edge in explaining most clearly how one became an officer. There is no explanation of how Fahnrich cockardes worked with tests. It is also confusing to understand what exactly happened to OYV's.  Having said that his coverage is huge and in English.

4. Super explanation of reserve and landwehr folks but again he takes you up to the edge.  He does not discuss specifically the re-use of helmet plates. (double holes?) For example the Brunswick reserve is there but in 2 different parts of the book.  Not crystal clear how reserve and landwehr differed in plates. No relative scarcity of reserve helmets can be gleaned from the statistics provided. 

5. Organization. The tables in Militaerische Kopfbedeckungen Der Kaiserzeit are far better than Stubb's organization.  Info is there but it is harder to pull out. 

6. So where is the M15 stuff? Once again the title leads you the wrong way 1918 is perhaps not the best ending date.

7. Ok there are mistakes and some major holes in the photo lexicon.  I am stunned for instance at the light coverage of Bavarian helmets.  In fact minor states didn't fare too well. The Duke of Baden's helmet for instance. 

Physically this book is massive.  Maybe 6 pounds,  400 pages, 2-3 inches thick and in large format. VERY HEAVY.  As big as the Emperor's Coat.

A wonderful thing to see is that he includes helmets that seem original but not totally correct! He points out issues and problems.  Just like the Woolley book shows there is a difference between the regulation and reality. He admits uncertainty.  

 

 

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