Topless beauties

911car

Well-known member
I must confess I have a soft spot for Tschapkas. Arguably one of the most impractical helmets to be worn at war, but also an interesting example of adaptation to "modern" warfare of an obsolete piece of headgear. It was realized in 1915 that the encumbering and useless - albeit pretty in parade - "mortarboard" could be made removable. Since April 1915 also saw the adoption of pewter gray metal fittings, these are seen on the vast majority of M15 Tschapkas. However, some escaped the April AKO and retained silver or gold metal fittings. L1040765.JPGL1040769.JPGL1040779.JPG
 

Tony without Kaiser

Departed
Staff member
OW! Ow! Eyes burning!

Superb. Excellent photography too for the record.

Bruno I do not wish at all to hijack your thread. But may I contribute?

I love Tschapka as you know. Those two are Traumstück.
 

911car

Well-known member
OW! Ow! Eyes burning!

Superb. Excellent photography too for the record.

Bruno I do not wish at all to hijack your thread. But may I contribute?

I love Tschapka as you know. Those two are Traumstück.
Thank you Tony. I know your taste for Tschapkas and I was hoping you would indeed contribute. Please do!
 

Tony without Kaiser

Departed
Staff member
Well, In my personal opinion, any Tschapka made with M1915 modifications (removable Top) but with fittings made in the prewar colours of silver or brass, are actually part of the 1916 Friedens-Uniform (Future Peacetime Uniform). The Friedens-Uniform Pickelhauben were made to look identical to the pre war helmets right up until 1918, with the exception that almost all units lost the chinscales. And one of Bruno's superb Tschapka has scales.

This is probably when a removable top was also introduced for officer Tschapka. But that is just assumption.

Here is my sole example of a 1916 Friedens-Uniform issued Tschapka

Link >> https://www.kaisersbunker.com/dunkelblau/helmets/dbh38.htm

dbh38.jpg
 

911car

Well-known member
Tony, this great Wuertemberg model is also incredibly rare. I also wondered whether these hybrid Tschapkas were worn on the battlefield. It was certainly the case for officer Tschapkas with detachable mortarboards, since there were no alternatives with grey metal fittings. On the other hand, there were still large stocks of conventional Tschapkas for the Friedens Uniform... why choose this complicated alternative (unless the peace uniform was also planned to be worn with a topless Tschapka)?
I wish we had period photographs to answer some of these questions.
 

b.loree

Administrator
Staff member
Great tschapkas gentlemen ! I have stitched and worked on 4 of them but never owned one. 😊
 

Tony without Kaiser

Departed
Staff member
I've always thought that with leather being a scarce commodity, metal tops made sense for new helmets, as then both the M15 and the Friedens-Uniform would utilize the same Tschapka, but with different fittings. This is just presumption of course as the Germans are fond of standardization. As you said, without photos, who knows?
 

Sandmann

Well-known member
I don‘t know if I understand everything right, but may be this helps.
The AKO of September 21, 1915 ordered:
All helmets and Tschapkas will get removable Spikes (Balls) or mortarboards. Chin straps have to be generally worn on the helmet (Shako, Busby or Tschapka) with a cover. To the helmet, etc. without a cover, Chin Scales remain only for the metal helmets, for the 1st GRzF and for officers.
 
Last edited:

911car

Well-known member
I've always thought that with leather being a scarce commodity, metal tops made sense for new helmets, as then both the M15 and the Friedens-Uniform would utilize the same Tschapka, but with different fittings. This is just presumption of course as the Germans are fond of standardization. As you said, without photos, who knows?
Something else I ignore is how many of these Tschapkas with removable tops were made anew, and how many were reworked from existing all-leather Tschapkas (if any). Brian might have a clue if he has worked on M15 models. The one with silver metal fittings I have posted bears a BJA stamp, but this does not really help.
 

Tony without Kaiser

Departed
Staff member
I forgot this one. This pattern is what I believe preempted the M15 removable tin top. A tin top riveted on. So not removable but I think it’s relevant to this conversation. This Preußen Ersatz Tschapka is in exceptional condition, I don't think it would be possible to find a better example. This marvellous Tschapka came to me via fellow Cdn Steve N through The Collector’s Guild.

The photos and standard write-up are HERE.

dbh52.jpg
 
Last edited:

JohnM

Member
Bruno and Tony,

You both have just displayed some fantastic museum worthy, jealousy inducing tschapkas! I always wondered where all the mint helmets have gone. Lucky bastions!

John
 

b.loree

Administrator
Staff member
Sorry Bruno 😊, no M15 tschapkas have passed through my hands. I can not add to the discussion.
 

911car

Well-known member
I forgot this one. This pattern is what I believe preempted the M15 removable tin top. A tin top riveted on. So not removable but I think it’s relevant to this conversation. This Preußen Ersatz Tschapka is in exceptional condition, I don't think it would be possible to find a better example. This marvellous Tschapka came to me via fellow Cdn Steve N through The Collector’s Guild.

The photos and standard write-up are HERE.

dbh52.jpg
Indeed exceptional, Tony! Here is exactly the same one. The non-detachable top is affixed with 4 copper rivets (see blown-up view from inside). This one was made by Wunderlich, Berlin, and is dated 1915.L1040846.JPGL1040849.JPGL1040850.JPGL1040853.JPGL1040854.JPGL1040840.JPG
 

Tony without Kaiser

Departed
Staff member
Fantastic. Twins!

So I had to run into the Neu Bunker and grab mine for a look and got a nice surprise.

Mine is also stamped Wunderlich, Berlin, and is also dated 1915. I had no idea.
 
Last edited:
Top