Steel Helmet Insignia

Decoration of steel helmets worn by military personnel of the Weimar-era army units with territorial shields dates back to the time of troubles experienced by the post-war Germany. Shortly after the end of the Great War numerous Freikorps units raised from patriotic soldiers and officers painted various emblems, e.g. coat of arms, shields, skulls, etc. for identification purposes on the side or the front of their steel helmets. Several volunteer units having been incorporated to the Provisional Reichswehr, the usage of such insignia continued for a short while.

On December 07, 1920 Army District Command VII applied for a distinctive diagonally partitioned blue-and-white shield for helmets worn by Bavarian units. After approval by the Reichswehr ministry, since 1921 Bavarians started using such emblems officially, sometimes with the unit number painted above.

Respective helmet insignia for troops from other German states was introduced half a year later by the decree of June 17, 1921. Thus, shields measuring about 4 cm high and 3,6 cm wide and pointing downwards were painted in oil on the left side of steel helmet right under the ventilation bolt. State colors, except for Baden that used opposite scheme, were separated diagonally from bottom left to top right. Tricolor shields used by troops from Anhalt, Mecklenburg and Schaumburg-Lippe had a 1 cm wide central stripe. Due to objective reasons size and shape of shields differed from one unit to another.

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