This is a Württemberg One-Year-Volunteer’s Line-Artillerie-Regiment kugelhelm. Although we have explained the One-Year-Volunteer (OYV) program in the past, now is a good time to review it. Imperial Germany required two years of compulsory military service from its young men. After their two years of service, the men were transferred to the reserves where they remained for quite some time. Under the normal two-year enlistment, the men were provided with all the necessary clothing, headdresses, food, housing, etc., which they drew from the military depot. They could choose to accept these items, or they could privately purchase any gear that they wished on their own. The special OYV program generally was used by young, middle-class men whose families did NOT have a longstanding military service tradition. They usually came from money, but (usually) were not members of nobility (we currently are offering a Saxon Graf’s OYV attila). The OYV enlistees were REQUIRED to buy their clothing and other gear, and had to pay for their own food and housing as well. In return, the army allowed OYV’s a certain flexibility in their uniforms’ and headdresses’ appearance. They often purchased their tunics from the same supply stores as did the officers. Their shoulder straps were identical to regular enlisted men/NCO’s, except for a special rope-like trim of alternating colors that immediately identified them as OYV’s.
The OYV’s pickelhauben and kugelhelme were allowed to be almost the same as an officer’s, with the proviso that one key element was the same as the enlisted men/NCO’s. The helmet that we are offering today has several elements that belong to an officer rather than an enlisted man/NCO. The most immediately obvious is its wappen, which is purely that of an officer. We also can tell its status by the voided (open) crowns and gorgeous frosting (the Württemberg Lion and Stag stand out beautifully). Its pearl ring (an attachment directly above its base) is another officer’s type of accessory. Two other features are NOT those of an officer, rendering the helmet correct for an OYV. The first attribute is its two kokarden. The second is that it sports enlisted men/NCO’s lugs on its base where the kugel is attached, rather than four officers’ stars.
Its officer’s-style interior boasts a high-quality, light-brown sweatband that is in top condition. The silk liner is dark-champagne in color. [I am particularly fond of its smooth appearance, which is less common than the ribbed variety]. All of its original hardware is in place under that silk liner, along with the all-important ABSENCE of double holes where the wappen is attached. Finally, we see that it is a size “54″ helmet.
This kugelhelm is in splendid condition. It is scarcer than an officer’s kugelhelm, because fewer OYV’s than officers were present in any regiment.