Why "Spiked" Helmets?

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Peter_Suciu
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Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by Peter_Suciu » Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:47 pm

I wrote this article last year and it appeared in the print version of Military Trader. It has been added to the website. I thought some might find it interesting... as the "why" is seldom discussed.
I also wanted to debunk the notion that the world "copied" the Prussian/German use of spikes. That was always seemed kind of silly. Why would the British copy a helmet pattern of Germans when it was the British that already had a larger empire? It makes zero sense. Here is my study on the subject:

http://www.militarytrader.com/military- ... dium=email" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by Jaap Verduijn » Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:14 pm

Interesting article! :bravo:
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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by Neil Young » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:11 pm

:bravo:
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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by 911car » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:01 pm

Excellent, very well documented article, Peter!
It may also be worth reminding that, contrary to common belief, "Pickel" in German does not mean "point", or "spike", but "pimple". Therefore, Pickelhaube can be translated as "pimple cap", or "pimple hood"...

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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by chinstrap » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:44 pm

Peter, thanks , this is a fascinating article, particularly as I collect both pickelhaubes and Briitish heavy cavalry helmets and blue cloths. A thought - if the British were influenced by the Russian helmets they encountered in the Crimea, it seems the French weren't. However, investigating the difference between British and French military cultures is probably way beyond the scope of a lifetime's study!

Patrick

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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by Sandmann » Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:24 pm

Interesting Arcticel.
I read that the Spike should be against Sabercuts from Cavalry-Attackers. Wasn‘t this the reason for success of the spiked helmet in the world or just the Fashion of the 19th century?
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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by Peter_Suciu » Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:48 pm

Sandmann wrote:Interesting Arcticel.
I read that the Spike should be against Sabercuts from Cavalry-Attackers. Wasn‘t this the reason for success of the spiked helmet in the world or just the Fashion of the 19th century?
I've heard the sabercuts thing, but the truth is that the British and many others never used these helmets in combat so that sort of goes against the theory. The other thing is that with the thin spikes used by the British, Americans and others wouldn't really deflect the blade far enough away.

Also, why make a helmet out of leather or felt and if was to protect from saber attacks?

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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by J.LeBrasseur » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:26 am

Peter- great article, read it when it came out in the magazine and again tonight, great stuff.

James
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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by SkipperJohn » Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:41 am

Wonderful article. Thank you!

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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by Sandmann » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:51 am

Also, why make a helmet out of leather or felt and if was to protect from saber attacks?
That makes sense. Once again....great article and thank you :D
Best wishes, Sandy

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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by b.loree » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:02 pm

Excellent article Peter, thank you for posting here....very interesting. :thumb up:
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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by poniatowski » Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:47 pm

Nice article Peter! I always thought the infantry spike represented the pikeman's pike and the one on the 'lobstertails' the lance. Is any of that true?

:D Ron
I really do need to know more about this....

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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by aicusv » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:50 am

Very good article and very informative, particularly about the eastern origins of the helmet.

This is my opinion, but seems logical to me.
Military fashion has usually followed the pattern of the "Top Dog" of the time. The during later half of the 19th century Prussia was the Military top dog. The use of a spike or point on top of a helmet to deflect a sword cut has always made sense to me. Look at the 1842 helmet, the shape, spike, and cross spike base all appear to be designed to direct a blow away from the head. During the next 50 years this function of protection was not as required as a reduction in in cost. The Fusilier helmets of Alt Fritz had the spike and the cross base, in the previous century. After years of studying military uniforms and arms I have not found any real documentation as why the spike other than it "looked cool".
fezzes frigidus es

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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by Peter_Suciu » Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:00 am

aicusv wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:50 am
Military fashion has usually followed the pattern of the "Top Dog" of the time. The during later half of the 19th century Prussia was the Military top dog.
Is that true that Prussia was "top dog?" That has been part of my point - no pun intended - in this research. I very much doubt the Russians, who moved away from spiked helmets after the Crimean War, would have agreed that Prussia/Germany was superior militarily in the 1880s. I also very much doubt the British would have felt that way - as noted too in my article and research the British had already been using spikes on helmets in India as early as the 1830s/1840s. At that point Prussia was a second rate power.

I do agree with it "looked cool" aspect. I do think this was really a fashion trend than anything really practical.

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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by aicusv » Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:09 am

I pretty sure that the reason for the spike was NOT to stick the helmet in the ground when not worn. A reason brought forward to me recently.
fezzes frigidus es

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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by Jaap Verduijn » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:11 pm

Them spikes are looking damn good - that's all.
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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by 911car » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:52 pm

aicusv wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:09 am
I pretty sure that the reason for the spike was NOT to stick the helmet in the ground when not worn. A reason brought forward to me recently.
There exists some support of this hypothesis:
40LesPetitesMains-Rentrée1914-Propagande-Enfant.jpg

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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by Sandmann » Fri Mar 02, 2018 1:30 pm

:D
Best wishes, Sandy

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Re: Why "Spiked" Helmets?

Post by Sandmann » Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:14 pm

I have just found an illustrated newspaper from 1844 with an article about the new pruissian uniforms. The author wrote about the importance and the pride of the fall manoveurs from the prussian army. He wrote that the reason for the new uniforms was to improve the form and function...
It was designed 1. to improve the protection against the weather and 2. to improve the appearance of the soldiers in the increasingly important parades, which assumed a big festival in Prussia. About the new Helmet he wrote that the it was designed to avoid rainwater in the neck. The front visor should protect the eyes against rainwater and blinds from the sunbeams. The Spike was designed with ventilationholes to improve the comfort. Seems to be the only reason for it, just a nice looking support for the ventilationholes :wink:

Here is the Link to the illustrated Newspaper:
https://books.google.de/books?id=fatLAA ... en&f=false
The Article is on Page 163 to 169
Best wishes, Sandy

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