The idea is to click on a
I am looking at M1897 type
Helmets. The development of Pickelhaube over
time is in another section. The identification
guide below is just a broad
generalization. One thing that makes this
hobby so much fun is that it has so many
nuances. The following two officer examples are
samples only. A helmet with a spike and
one with a ball. There are MANY variations on a
theme. I'm just building a generalization
out of popular demand.
There are many color charts of landes
cockades. This is just one. I have an entire article
on the so called "NCO
There were two styles of cockades. Serrated and Non-serrated.
Sometimes the serrated types are called M15 cockades
because some states (like Baden) Switched from non-serrated
to serrated in 1915. This does not mean that the helmet
has any other M15 features. Serrated cockades were multi
piece and had a ring. Non-serrated types were
made from one piece.
Serrated (pointy things all
Within the two styles there were
differences in the size of the hole. "Big Hole"
handled M91 posts and small holes were for split brad
rosettes. Most officer cockades had small
holes. Large hole versions were wartime only and their
helmets called M15 style officer helmets.
Two basic styles convex and flat.
Sometimes it is REAL hard to tell. Therefore I rely
on the rosettes to tell me. Chin scales were made by
alternating 2 and 3 finger links with a leather strap
on the inside. The chin scales fastened in the
front and there was a buckle on the leather. Chin scales
were capped by the rosettes. Width of scales 13mm
in front and 23mm in back by the rosette for flat scales.
Width of scales 14mm in front and 26mm in back by the
rosette for convex scales. If no rosette you have an
OR set of chin scales to fit the M91 post like the one
All balls are not
equal. Similar to spikes they ranged
greatly in size. The official regulation size
was 4.5 CM but like spikes no one listened to
the regulation. The biggest difference in
balls, spikes, and trichters is thread match.
There are at least three different thread sizes.
Tops and bottoms had to match and the DOV
catalog warned buyers that spike base had to be
provided if they didn't make the helmet if you
wanted a ball or trichter.
M15 helmets had Kügels
Last 2 pictures from the Bellars collection.
There are two kinds of pearl rings.
Old style which were discontinued officially for many
units in the 1895 pattern OR helmet. OR pickelhauben
are often called "NCO pearl rings" in error.
Every OR had them up until 1887 and some unit types
retained the old style pearl ring right to the end.
It is possibly an NCO but more probably an OR. If you
have a 48mm cockade with a silver ring it could well
be a Feldwebel. The Officer or private purchase
pearl ring was the egg and dart variety.
Supposedly 430mm long and 14 mm wide. There
is a ridge around the edge of the spine. Hessian spines
have to lug nuts on them similar to Dragoon enlisted
There are two basic types
and they hold the key to determining if chin
scales are curved (convex) or flat. Diameter
supposedly 25mm. Round Rosettes are for
flat chin scales and oval ones are for convex
chin scales. Diameter supposedly
There are also some specialty Rosettes
used in Grenadier units. Also, during the war, More
Officers used M91 type side lugs for their helmets and
leather chin straps in the field. When chin scales were
put on Officers used fake rosettes on top of the chin
scales so you couldn't tell they were M91 posts beneath. However
they had the three dots that enlisted M 91 chin scales
The helmets were, by
regulation, supposed to be 1050 mm-1250mm high.
All Spikes are not
equal. They ranged greatly in size. The
official regulation size was 80mm but no one
listened to the regulation and the size of
spikes in my collection rnge up to 130mm.
The biggest difference in balls, spikes, and
trichters is thread match. There are at least
three different thread sizes. Tops and bottoms
had to match and the DOV catalog warned buyers
that spike base had to be provided if they
didn't make the helmet if you wanted a ball or
trichter. Notice the two rings at the base of
the spike on the left. This is an officer
standard for round spikes. Lack of these
rings means not commissioned. There were
also different types of fluted spikes. The
one on the right is fluted.
A spike could unscrew to allow a
parade trichter to be added. Not all regiments had the
option of such a trichter. Aprivately purchased helmet
that unscrewed even though that Regiment was not allowed
a trichter is normal. Having a screw spike was an option
that was frequently purchased for the purpose of transport.
Comparing fluted spikes is useful. Prussian general's
helmets had two steps on the bottom of the flute and
sat on top of the base. Bavarian style flutes, also
used in Mecklenburg had three steps.
Hessian helmets had a platform and the picture below
compares enlisted spikes with an officer spike.
There are multiple types of
these. The two basic styles are round
plates and cruciform bases. Round bases are
simple. Round with four star studs
attaching the helmet to the shell. Cruciform
bases have two different styles based around the
front leg. Hessian cruciform bases have
equal length legs. Bavarian Cruciform bases have
a shorter front leg. Long legs 70mm short
leg 40 mm.
There are two sizes. I would call
them normal and big. There are very few big ones.
I don't know the reasoning yet but Generals had them.
Those not commissioned normally had "dome studs"
in place of the star studs. Fähnrich often used
dome studs as a way of marking their helmets as "not
quite officer yet.)
Dome studs on a Fähnrich helmet.
Note the Officer style pearl ring.
Most Hessian Officer
helmets used dome studs as in this M15 example.
There were no vents in the rear spine
of the officer helmet.
The brass colored trim is
supposed to be between 380-400 mm wide and 6mm
thick for officer helmets.
Lots of wappen
obviously. Below is a short diagram of
different types. In General Officer Wappen
are "pierced" That means the crown on
the eagle is voided and has holes in it. There
are exceptions like Mecklenburg-Strelitz but it
is a rule of thumb. A Voided crown does
not mean commissioned officer. It means
privately purchased higher quality plate.