Evolution

911car

Well-known member
For those of you who may not be entirely familiar with differences between the M91 and M95 models of the infantry spike helmet, nothing better than comparing examples from the same regiment.
Everybody knows the M95. The M91 differs by:

  • A spike with 6 instead of 5 aeration holes, and sometimes a revolving inner metal ring to close these holes, as on the example shown below. This is the latest style though; earlier models with only 2 holes are commonly encountered
  • A higher shell, made of thicker leather closed in the back with a large suture. The helmet is significantly heavier
  • The spine attachment to the neckguard
  • The absence of aerator on the spine
  • Front plate attachment by screws and nuts
  • The shape of sideposts: the central dome is larger and more prominent
  • For this unit, the long ID: LGBR109 for Leib Garde Badisches Regiment 109 (LGBRR109 for reserve units)

G1070367.JPG
G1070370.JPGG1070371.JPGG1070375.JPGG1070379.JPGG1070355.JPGG1070356.JPGG1070358.JPG
 

JohnS3rd

Well-known member
Bruno,
Thank you very much for comparing the M91 and M95 helmets side-by-side. It is fascinating that two pickelhaubes from the same unit make this even more so. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge about our hobby.
Best regards,
John
 

911car

Well-known member
Many thanks for the comments! I realized I made a mistake though: LG stands for Leib Grenadier, of course, and not Leib Garde...
 

argonne

Well-known member
. The M91 differs by:

  • A spike with 6 instead of 5 aeration holes, and sometimes a revolving inner metal ring to close these holes, as on the example shown below. This is the latest style though; earlier models with only 2 holes are commonly encountered
  • A higher shell, made of thicker leather closed in the back with a large suture. The helmet is significantly heavier
  • The spine attachment to the neckguard
  • The absence of aerator on the spine
  • Front plate attachment by screws and nuts
  • The shape of sideposts: the central dome is larger and more prominent
  • For this unit, the long ID: LGBR109 for Leib Garde Badisches Regiment 109 (LGBRR109 for reserve units)
Thank you Bruno for this 109 study!

I believe hat this special particularity of a 6 holes spike can only be encountered on a M91 109 helmet...
Further, I think that M91 helmets that are showing a back suture in the shell are exceptions (maybe recycled early M67 or M71 shells or earlier method of production that consisted in sewing the shell). Most of them have the same interior as the M95. The final reduction of the size of the shell already happened with the introduction of the M91 pattern. If the helmet is a bit higher, it´s a question of size, the main form remains the same.
I unfortunately do not agree with your markings interpretation. On your M91 helmet, the marking is I.G(renadier)B.(ataillon)R.(eserve)R.(egiment)109, just like those two other examples: I.G.B.R.R.109

Marquage RIR109.jpg

1655537518651.png


The first character is not a "L" but a "I" for first bataillon of the Reserve unit of the 109R. I already saw a similar marking on a M91 109 helmet, but for the second bataillon of the Reserve and it was: II.G.B.R.R.109. Unfortunately, I did not save this pict... It seems there was no marking of this long form for the third bataillon of the RJR109 because it was a Füsilier Bataillon, not a Grenadier Bataillon. Both I and II Bataillons were formed in Karlsruhe (garrison of the active R.109), the IIIB was formed in Bruchsal. This may be a second explanation.

The second "R" for "Regiment"on your beautiful helmet obviously have been made illegible for some reasons. Maybe in war time, because of the lack of helmets for garrison ceremonies or guards in Karlsruhe (your example shows the metal chinscales, so it´s not probable that it has been worn in the field). Certainly a garrison use.
You can also see above this long marking the rest of a faint initial active marking "R.109". So this old M91 helmet may first have moved in the first Grenadier bataillon of the reserve and returned later to the active unit, just for representation use in the Karlsruhe garrison. The second "R" of your marking for Reserve may have been deleted at this moment.

Philippe
;)
 

Lars13

Active member
Thanks Bruno for posting this very interesting comparison :)

The second "R" for "Regiment"on your beautiful helmet obviously have been made illegible for some reasons.
Hi Philippe,
I don't think the "R" has been made illegible on purpose, as this "rubbed" part of the Hinterschirm is present both on the left and the right side, imo more likely due to some type of Überzug being worn.
Regards,
Lars
 

argonne

Well-known member
Thanks Bruno for posting this very interesting comparison :)


Hi Philippe,
I don't think the "R" has been made illegible on purpose, as this "rubbed" part of the Hinterschirm is present both on the left and the right side, imo more likely due to some type of Überzug being worn.
Regards,
Lars
Lars, you may be right!!! I did not see the same trace of the other hook on the other side of neckguard!
Then just strange that this Reserve helmet still wears its chinscales :unsure:
Philippe
;)
 

911car

Well-known member
Thanks Bruno for posting this very interesting comparison :)


Hi Philippe,
I don't think the "R" has been made illegible on purpose, as this "rubbed" part of the Hinterschirm is present both on the left and the right side, imo more likely due to some type of Überzug being worn.
Regards,
Lars
Thank you, Lars.
Good point. I had thought about it, but looking as closely as possible, I cannot convince myself that a cover hook left this mark. It is a carefully scratched rectangle that exactly matches the R. There was perhaps another letter or number to be erased on the other side of the neckguard...
 

Sandmann

Well-known member
I don‘t know about the 6 vent-hole spike, but I think in 1895 there was a reduction in helmet height.
In the magazine "Allgemeine Militär-Zeitung", volume 69 (1895) it was written on page 334 that the helmet was 200gr lighter and this was due to the following changes:
  • The use of thinner core leather for the helmet shell.
  • Downsizing a bit of the fittings size and use of aluminum bronze for it. (Downsizing of the fittings size is written on page 206)
  • Reducing the helmet height.
However, the reduction in helmet height can also be achieved with smaller visors or a smaller spike, but Lacarde also wrote that the M95 helmet had a lower shell.
Allgemeine Militär-zeitung, Vol. 69 - page 334

Some more information: The use of aluminum bronze for the fittings not only improved the weight, but also the weight distribution. This made it even more comfortable for the soldier to wear the helmet. (written on pages 180, 181)
However, such a weight reduction also had disadvantages. Unfortunately, the thinner leather for the helmet shell and the lighter fittings also further reduced stability. On pages 542, 543 is another article sharing this concern. The new helmet would not be as resistant to shock or impact and, unlike the old model with thicker leather and brass fittings, would likely be damaged if the soldier accidentally fell on or over it.
Allgemeine Militär-zeitung, Vol. 69 - pages 542, 543
 
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JohnS3rd

Well-known member
Gentlemen,
Thank you very much for the time taken to compare the differences in the evolution of the helmets and the unit markings.
Best regards,
John
 

911car

Well-known member
Thank you, Philippe, for the very useful additional information. I agree with you, of course, that variants of the M1891 helmet exist: many were made anew, but some were revamped older models. This is probably the case of the one I presented.
As of the relative height of the shell, and as also documented by Sandmann, these two examples do show that it is slightly reduced on the M1895. The M91 is more ovoid in shape, but this may also reflect a rebuilt 1887 helmet.
Regimental ID... you are probably right. I know about the "1" digit before G, and your photos are convincing. On the one I showed, though, comparing with the "1" of 109, I found that the first character looked more like a L...

G1070380.JPG
 

argonne

Well-known member
Lacarde also wrote that the M95 helmet had a lower shell.
You are right, I missed this information in the Larcade tome I, page 28..
I based my affirmation on the wonderful guide written bei Tony S. about the evolution of the Pickelhaube:

M91.jpg

Philippe
;)
 

argonne

Well-known member
but this may also reflect a rebuilt 1887 helmet.
.
Finally we have a discussion thread like we would like to have some more here 😊
Bruno, does your M91 show a double sewing in the leather, at the inside of the M91 side posts, as a trace of the former metal tongue from the M87 fixation? This would be the proof for a cut down M87.

Something like that?

leib29.jpg

Philippe
;)
 

911car

Well-known member
Finally we have a discussion thread like we would like to have some more here 😊
Bruno, does your M91 show a double sewing in the leather, at the inside of the M91 side posts, as a trace of the former metal tongue from the M87 fixation? This would be the proof for a cut down M87.

Something like that?

View attachment 23185

Philippe
;)

Thank you for this question. This is something I also wanted to mention: I see no evidence that the helmet was fitted earlier with the particular 1887 sideposts. It is perhaps a modified 1871 model...

G1070383.JPG
 

Sandmann

Well-known member
You are right, I missed this information in the Larcade tome I, page 28..
I based my affirmation on the wonderful guide written bei Tony S. about the evolution of the Pickelhaube:

M91.jpg


Philippe
It also my favorite website for information about Imperial Germany uniforms 🙂
But here I would disagree. According the „Armee-Verordnungsblatt“ and military magazines of that time the helmet M87 was just modified in 1891. It got the M/91 side posts and the front visor with visor trim came back. As written in the „Allgemeine Militär-Zeitung Vol. 69“ (see above), the size reductions of the shell, eagle plates and cocades* came with the helmet M95.

*) Also the cocades were not mentioned above or in „Armee-Verordnungsblatt“ it would be logical, because the shell and plate was reduced in size too. However, the first time I found any mention of the smaller size of the cockades was in the Prussian Dress Code for Enlisted Men (Part II) of 1896, page 89.
 
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