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Helmet Plates or Wappen
I'm working on this.  My focus now is on infantry units but I will expand it as time goes on. There is a wide selection of helmet plates.  This is not intended to be a definitive study, but a help in determining what the different plates are and where they were from.  Click on the flag to be taken to the map, and some further information about the state. The most common, and therefore the vast  majority of helmet plates are from Prussia.  If you want to check and see if this is like yours, click here first, it will probably describe what yours is. 

 Click here for most common


Infantry Regiment 93


The first thing to noticed about these wappen for Prussian and vassal states is who they are made out to.  It is either to the King or to the ruler.  The ones on the left show what is known as a Fuerst wappen.  you notice that word on the neck of the eagle for active wappen. This is true of every vassal state with the exception of Oldenburg.  You'll also notice from the to wappen on the left that one has a bandeau and one does not. Vassal states followed the Prussian example of putting the motto on the cross instead of on the eagle for reserve and landwehr units.

Infantry Regiments 110 through 114, 142, 169, 170

This wappen is readily known as the Baden Griffin.
The motto on this reserve wappen is on the cross again not on the bandeau at the bottom of the Griffin.  This is correct, however, not always the case.  Baden also place these crosses directly below, where you see it located in the gap between the left leg and the shield.

Infantry Regiment, 109



Bavarian wappen changed in size, over time.  Prewar models often had fancy leaves between the legs of the lions and were massive.  By 1914 the wappen had shrunk a great deal and were far less ornate.

Reserve and Landwehr had a silvered cross as the example below.

Bavarian Infantry Regiments 1 through 23. If silver, Bavarian Infantry Lifeguard Regiment
Braunschweig  infantry Regiment 92, Hussar Regiment 17.
Infantry Regiment 92 has two of the most sought after helmet plates. As a result, they are frequently falsified. The plate with the deaths head was for the third Battalion until a change in 1912. After 1912, the death's head became the symbol for the entire Regiment. Active-duty and reserve units wore the peninsula bandeau.Notice on the example on the left that the motto is a Furst motto.

Landwehr Infantry Regiment 92

The running horse wappen is the single most sought after wappen. However there are points to understand that make many of them different. 1st and Second Bn. prior to 1912 for active units. Reserves would wear the eagle with no bandeaux, a reserve cross, and the Penninsular bandeaux. Landwehr officers wear the eagle with no bandeaux and no Penninsular bandeaux.


Infantry Regiment, 116, 118, and 168

The reserve cross was unique for Hesse.  Neither Fuerst nor Koenig was mentioned.


1st & 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Regiment 89, Fusilier Regiment 90

Mecklenburg - Strelitz

2nd Battalion Grenadier Regiment 89


Infantry Regiment 91

This is the only vassal state that used a Koenig bandeau.

Grenadier Regiments 5, 6, on 10, 11, 12, prior to 1912

The initials FWR stood for King Fredrick Wilhelm.

Grenadier Regiments 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, posts 1912, and Grenadier Regiment 145.

Most Common

Infantry Regiments 13 through 33, 35 to 72, 75, 76, 79 through 86,1st Battalion 96, 97 through 99, 128 through 133, 135 through 138, 140, 141, 143, 144, 146 through 152, 154 through 163, 166, 167, 171 through 176.

We start with the Prussian line eagle. You would think there are all made the same but they're not. there are definite differences between eagles. I will show shortly and in a different venue, the differences between the feather patterns on the chest of the eagles. The key thing to note here is the bandeau.  Established in 1860, this is known as a Koenig bandeau. The important thing to understand about a bandeau is that it is supposed to be some where. The bandeau is either on the eagle or on a Landwehr cross. Correct would have a bandeau, in one place.  Incorrect, but often found on original examples and in pictures, is the bandeau on the plate as well is on the reserve cross.  The F. R. on the chest, stands for Friedrich, Rex.

This is a Prussian reserve eagle. It is identical to the Prussian line  eagle except for the lack of a bandeau. These wappen are supposed to have a landwehr cross or reserve cross.  Even with the lack of a cross.  You can tell, it is a reserve eagle based on the F. R. with no bandeau. Beamte often used an FR eagle without bandeau.  There was no enlisted version of the FR eagle.

 This is a Prussian landwehr eagle. the motto is located on the landwehr cross.  This cross is actually pressed in to the wappen.  If you turn the wappen over, you'll see an impression of the cross in the chest of the eagle.


Hoffman collection

Fusilier Regiment 34, and companies five and six Fusilier Regiment 33

Established originally in 1843 the motto said "Fur Auszeichnung die vormalig Koenigl. Schwedischen Leibregt. Koenigen. Part of the plate, the 5 & 6th companies 33rd regiment were allowed this starting in 1865.  Officers of the 33rd regimental companies were not allowed this distinction until May 1891!

Two interesting anomalies here, the active star on a top has the date 1860 located on the bottom.  That was the date that this star was authorized. The reserve star on the bottom has a cross on the top of the Starburst and has no motto

A line eagle with a guard star comes from the NCO school. There was no officer model for these wappen or helmets.

2nd Battalion Infantry Regiment 96

This is extremely rare and covers only the second Battalion, 96th infantry Regiment. This is a Fürst eagle.  All minor states, that war vassals to Prussia had this except Oldenburg. Look at where the bandeaux relative to the wings. In general Fuerst eagles have lower bandeaus relative to their position on the wings.

These are for wappen with a silver crest on a gilt colored star: Infantry Regiments 101 through 107, 133, 134, 139, 177 through 179, 181.  If the colors are reversed with a guilt crest on a silver star, you have Life Guard Grenadier Regiment, 100.

This is a Saxon wappen. In general, it has a German silver state coat of arms on a brass eight pointed star.  The voiding is not only in the crown, but also among the leaves of the crest. for infantry Regiment, 100 the colors are reversed, with a gilt crest and a silver star. Be aware of the star.  Some fakes have a six pointed star from a police wappen.


Infantry Regiment 94. The overall Thüringian regiments were Infantry Regiments 96 and 153.


3rd Battalion Infantry Regiment 96


If gilt colored -- --Infantry Regiments, 120 through 122, 124 through 127, 180, and if silver, Grenadier Regiments 119 and 123.

Reich Wappen

Officially known as the wappen for the Reichesmilitärgericht.  Beamte and police inside the Reich.

Fireman Wappen

There are a bunch of these types of wappen that are for police and/or fireman outfits. This picture comes from the 1932 Junkers catalog and is one of the most common I have seen. Sorry not military.
Flags courtesy of FOTW Flags Of The World website at 

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