This is a consignment item. It is a wartime enlisted man’s Jäger-Regiment zu Pferde helmet. Literally translated, Jäger-zu-Pferde means “Hunter on Horse (back).” Jäger-Regiments zu Pferde were an early 20th Century creation, although Kavallerie units were already outmoded. The last major cavalry charge came during the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War, some thirty years before the first Jäger zu Pferde-Regiment was established. Changes in military tactics, along with the advent of automatic rifles and machine guns, rendered cavalry charges obsolete, although all WW I’s participants were slow to acknowledge the change. Mounted troops’ actions in early WW I usually were limited to scouting missions. [Manfred von Richthofen began the war as a Ulanen-Regiment officer and quickly transferred to the Imperial German Air Service to see more action]. The first Jäger-Regiments zu Pferde (JzP) were raised in 1905 and the last in 1913 (seven in that year)! Before 1914’s end, virtually all participating cavalry regiments had turned in their horses (which were put to use transporting artillery pieces). They fought as dismounted troops, joining their infantry “brothers” in the trenches.
The JzP sported metal helmets with long back visors (often referred to as “lobstertails”), similar to those worn by Küraßier-Regiments. [The lengthy visors were relics from the Küraßiers heavy-armor days, meant to protect their wearers’ necks from sword slashes during combat. By the time the JzP arrived on the scene, their use was primarily decorative]. The JzP’s helmet color also differed from that of the Küraßier-Regiments. The Küraßiers helmets were either gold or silver-toned, while those of the JzP troops were gunmetal gray.
Our offering today is a wartime enlisted men’s Jäger-Regiment zu Pferde helmet. It can be considered an M-1915 helmet that serves as a link between the prewar helmet and the M-1916 stahlhelm. It was produced primarily in 1915, so its biggest difference from the prewar example is its subdued (non shiny gray) furniture (the wappen, the cruciform, and the spike). These areas were deliberately painted to prevent them from reflecting sunshine and giving away the wearer’s position. [A high-definition brass wappen made an excellent target for an enthusiastic sniper]. To further protect its wearer, a leather chinstrap was used rather than brass chin scales. The enlisted men’s state and Reich’s kokarden are present. They also are smaller the large prewar Küraßier-style kokarden found on prewar JzP helmets.
The helmet’s interior sports a standard enlisted man’s leather liner. All of its leather tongues are present. Looped through one of the tongues is a short, fabric, sizing rope. It does not appear to be long enough to fully draw though all of the loops. All of the correct hardware is present and matches. No manufacturer’s or depot marks appear inside, although its size, “54,” is marked on the back visor. This means it is on the small side.
It is a fine helmet in top condition.