Romanian Border Guards helmets (1912-1941)

According to the Royal decree No.3510 issued on July 19, 1912 (Înalt Decret 3510/19 Iulie 1912) military personnel of all the eight Romanian Border Guards regiments (Regimentul Grăniceri) wore black leather spiked helmets resembling German Imperial Pickelhauben, popular distinctive headgear that influenced many uniformed military and paramilitary organizations all over the world, mainly but not only in Europe. Romanian spiked helmets had frontal plates with  the king Carol I monogram, i.e. two interlaced letters “C” (ƆC) topped with a crown.

Romanian border 1

According to the Royal decree No.333 issued on February 05, 1932 (Decret Regal 333/05 Februarie 1932) the 1st Border Guards regiment (Regimentul 1 Grăniceri) was granted Guard status being renamed to the 1st Guard Border Guards regiment (Regimentul 1 Grăniceri Gardă) and received distinctive plate of absolutely different design. A special plate was fixed on front of a helmet: an intricate monogram of the ruling Romanian monarch, Carol II (08.06.1930-06.09.1940) topped with a crown. Seven Border Guards regiments, i.e. 2-8, still continued to wear obsolete black leather spiked helmets with the king Carol I monogram.

Moreover, on May 10, 1933 the king himself was appointed a royal patron and an honorary commander of the 1st Guard Border Guards regiment. The regiment itself got it name on April 01, 1912 according to the Law for reorganization of the Border Guards Corps. Thus the Border Guards Battalion Bucharest gained regimental status.

An idea to change those obsolete spiked helmets to modern headgear was implemented more than twenty years later: the Royal decree No.1984 issued on April 04, 1934 (Înalt Decret 1984/04 Aprilie 1934) introduced new helmets of a different shape and design.

The body of the newly introduced helmet was made of hardened leather painted in dark green color. Two visors, front and rear, remained glossy black and were reinforced with polished metal trims. A decorative crest is fixed at the top of a helmet from the rear by means of four rivets while an eagle with spread wings is attached closer to the front portion. Both crest and eagle were made either of aluminum or alpaca, a type of silver-colored metal alloy containing copper, zinc and nickel. The latter was used due to its corrosion resistant composition, visual similarity to silver (but lighter in weight and harder) and lack of necessity to lacquer. An eagle was attached by screws situated below tail feathers.

Like a German spiked helmet Romanian Border Guards helmet also had two round cockades in national colors, i.e. blue, yellow and red behind a chinstrap attached to both sides of a body. That chinstrap was made of brass-colored metal for officers and of leather for other ranks.

Interior of helmets had leather headband and liner.

The only difference between helmets worn by the 1st Guard Border Guards regiment and seven Border Guards regiments personnel was the type of frontal plates. Guards still kept an intricate monogram of Carol II while seven regiments were issued with a rather simplified monogram of Carol I (sic!) in shape of two interlaced letters “C” (ƆC) within a metal rim topped with a crown. 

Romanian border 2

Those distinctive green helmets were worn by the 1st Guard Border Guards regiment and seven Border Guards regiments until April 1941 when a General Order No.7 signed by Marshal Ion Antonescu on April 04, 1941 (Ordinul General Nr.7/04 Aprilie 1941) discontinued their further usage. It is said that Border Guards helmets were reintroduced at the beginning of 1945 by an order of the Ministry of Defence. 

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