The Kingdom of Hannover came to an end after being on the 1866 Austro-Prussian War’s losing side. Hannover had a good-sized military. It had fought during the Napoleonic Wars against France. As a matter of fact, several of her regiments fought with Wellington during the Peninsula Campaign and 1815’s penultimate Battle of Waterloo. Hannover fielded two Ulanen-Regiments. After the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, her entire territory and her military were annexed by Prussia. From then on, all Hanoverian regiments were considered “Prussian” regiments. Even though they were garrisoned in their former barracks, they were required to wear Prussian uniforms. In 1897 Kaiser Wilhelm II decided to be magnanimous and restored the battle honors (bandeaux) that Hanoverian regiments had proudly worn on their headdress prior to 1866. Such was the case with her Ulanen-Regiments. The first regiment was Königs-Ulanen-Regiment (1. Hannoversches) Nr 13. The second was 2. Hannoversches Ulanen-Regiment Nr 14. Today we are offering an officer’s tschapka from the latter regiment. It was founded in 1805 and garrisoned at St. Avold-Mörchingen, where it was attached to the XVI. Armeekorps.
The leather helmet is well formed and shows a fine clean surface that is supple and free from major defects. This includes the mortar board that sits atop the helmet and offers the distinctive view of the Ulanen Tschapka. Please note, Ulanen were considered light cavalry. They were also known as “Lancers,” because troopers carried lances in the early days. In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, lances were used more for parades rather than in combat. The tschapka’s furniture was quite limited when compared to that of pickelhauben and kugelhelme. Essentially, it had trim on the front visor, chin scales, and wappen. This helmet’s chin scales are gilt, while the front visor and wappen are silver. The helmet’s wappen is really exciting. Just below the eagle’s head is a bandeau for “Waterloo” (fought from 16-18 June 1815). At the eagle’s base is a bandeau for “Peninsula” (the Peninsula Campaign extended from 1809 through 1814, and another split bandeau that represents “Garzia-Hernandez,” a famous Peninsula Campaign battle fought on 23 July 1812. The wappen has an open (voided) crown, which indicates an officer. It is a high-quality wappen with excellent details, especially with the eagle’s feathers on the helmet’s right side (from the wearer’s perspective). It has only the officer’s Reich’s kokarde, which is 100% correct. Only the Reich’s kokarde was worn AFTER 1897. BEFORE 1897, only the state’s (Prussian) kokarde was worn. Since the helmet has a Reich’s kokarde AND the bandeaux, it is quite clear that it is a post 1897 tschapka. The exterior’s final detail is a fine, silver-bullion feldzeichen (field badge). The feldzeichen’s center is black, which is correct for a Prussian officer.
As we examine the helmet’s interior, we find something quite interesting. Instead of the conventional leather sweatband and silk liner, we see an enlisted men/NCO’s-style leather liner. It is the type that has multiple leather fingers/tongues (eleven). All of these fingers/tongues are present and complete. Only the leather sizing thong is missing, which is not a major concern. It is quite possible it was this particular officer’s personal preference. He may have found a helmet with this liner-style more comfortable and useful in the field. What we CAN say is that the area where the wappen is attached is free of double holes. It is clear to me that the wappen is original to the helmet.
This is an exciting find that came from two very exciting and advanced collections, one here in the U.S. and another in Europe. We are pleased and proud to share this very rare tschapka with you.