On 4 August 1914, Kronprinz Wilhelm assumed command of the German 5. Armee. This army fought exclusively on the Western Front. Early in the war, Kronprinz Wilhelm led his army against the French at the Battle of the Ardennes. The French withdrew, with heavy losses. In February, the 5. Armee led the attack at The Battle of Verdun. The army remained at Verdun for the next two years. Kronprinz Wilhelm was removed from the 5. Armee’s command in November 1916. Under its new commander, General Max von Gallwitz, the 5. Armee continued to fight at Verdun. Late in the war it faced and was defeated by forces led by General John J. (Blackjack) Pershing.
During the years he commanded the 5. Armee, Kronprinz Wilhelm established a tradition of presenting the troops under his command with a Christmas present. For Christmas 1914, he gave a complete pipe along with a document detailing the gift’s purpose and offering Christmas greetings.
Today we are offering an (almost)* complete example of the pipe, sans document. The pipe head and extension are made of white porcelain. The pipe head features a full-color portrait of Kronprinz Wilhelm wearing a feldgrau attila, complete with the 1914 Iron Crosses 1st and 2nd Class. He is also wearing his officer’s schirmütze bearing the 1. Leib-Husaren-Regiment Nr 1's iconic totenkopf. The pipe head’s opposite side bears the legend "5. Armee Weihnachten 1914." The pipe head has a metal cap that flips up and allows tobacco to be placed in the bowl. The pipe head is plugged into another porcelain piece displaying a colorful Iron Cross. Extending up from that porcelain piece is a wooden piece with a threaded section.
The final wooden section is the flexible mouthpiece. The mouthpiece’s end should attach to the wooden extension. However, I cannot see the threaded portion that would allow this to happen! *(We have two extra wooden pieces that belong to the pipe, but we cannot figure out exactly where they belong, either). Thus, while the pipe may be displayed in its (almost) entirety, it cannot be attached together, nor can it actually be used as a functioning pipe, as far as we can tell. [Perhaps a wise reader knows more about putting one of these together and can advise us accordingly. We would be very grateful]!
The pièce de résistance is a red, black, and white mini sash that holds the stem to the pipe head. Aside from the fault with the locking threads, the pipe is in pleasing condition and can make a charming display.