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Guard M'17 Helmet Marking

Article about: Well it is another day and I have another question. I have a Guard's M'17 helmet with a marking on the rear that I'm not sure about. I know the history of this helmet since 1918 so I do not

  1. #1

    Default Guard M'17 Helmet Marking

    Well it is another day and I have another question. I have a Guard's M'17 helmet with a marking on the rear that I'm not sure about. I know the history of this helmet since 1918 so I do not believe it has been played with.

    First off there is no black paint on the helmet, the side shield is white and the original helmet color. But my question is about the marking on the rear. I have always believe that the rear markings were the company's number and that they were painted usually in red. This helmet has what appears to be the letter "C" in white. I said appears to be, as the area next to the letter has had the paint scratched off (down to the metal), so it may have been a "0". Since neither of these are company identifiers anyone know what the marking may mean?

    Helmet is marked BF64 (Bellinger size 64), white leather liner, original chin strap with brass hardware.

    Again sorry for the quality of the photos.Click image for larger version. 

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    Thank you all

  2. #2


    First of all, welcome to the Imperial German section of the forum !
    This is a very nice example of an M17 helmet it looks to me not only complete but 100% original
    The hand painted applied badge, the "Hohenzollern" crest on the left side (as they should be) also looks to be correct, indicating 1st Foot Guards, as for the rear letter/number, which IMO is also origanally period applied, I am unsure...usually as you state, company numbers or an "L" (LeibKompagnie) are the ones usually seen....but a "C" or an "O"
    Sorry I can not be more helpful................maybe someone will step in and put us out of our misery !
    Prost ! Steve.
    "The German Army is the perfectly adapted, perfectly running Machine. The difference is that the Germans are organised with a view to War...with the cold, hard, practical and business-like purpose of winning victories."
    G.W. Steevens - The Daily Mail (1897)

  3. #3


    I believe I have answered my own question (only took 40+ years). In closely examining the rear of the helmet, it appears this may have been a numeral 9. Here is a very poor quality photo that does show the scratches. There are also three little spots of white paint remaining within the scratched off area.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #4


    It does look like to be a outline of the number 9, there was a 9th infantry regiment in the foot guards so maybe that's what the 9 means?

  5. #5


    The number on the rear of the Guard helmets represents the company. From what I understand it was only the 1st Foot Guards who so marked their helmets. On another forum there is a photo of a Guard's helmet with a 9 on the rear. The style of the numeral is very different. It almost appears to have been a 2 that was redone into a 9.
    Now I'm wondering why only part of the numeral was removed from this helmet.

  6. #6


    I notice you reside in PA, when I first settled there I was amazed how many one would find in this particular State. An old friend of mine remarked a US division from PA was posted close to the Guard barracks postwar, maybe some AEF gents could comment on this? Anyway appears many of the troops brought them home as a keepsake I even found one at a run of the mill sunday morning flea market minus the liner.
    Regarding the rear designation personally I've never found out for sure 100%. A nice example I purchased while on vacation back in England about 25yrs ago rear number was a '5' done in red?? the examples painted '1' that float around on forums personally I'm not too keen on.

    Regards and welcome

  7. #7


    I know that my helmet was brought back by a member of the 28thID AEF, from Philadelphia. It then sat on a shelf in his den until 1962 when it came to me. He never said were or when he obtained the helmet, just that he "brought it back from the war". So actually I've owned this piece longer than anyone else.

  8. #8


    Very nice example. I also think it is a "9" 0n the back. Who knows why only part was removed. Maybe the original owner fell in battle, it was reissued to a member of another company, and the new owner was kia before he was able to compete the removal? I have an M16 that had a Foot Guard shield that was removed. I have always suspected that the piece had been recovered by the Germans from the field and reissued to a soldier not in the Foot Guard. Anyway, your example is fantastic. Cheers, Jim G.

  9. #9


    A friend of mine recently purchased a doughboy's foot locker from the family. In it was M'15 pickelhaube and a belt buckle both from Wurttemberg. Additional in the locker was the guy's journals that he kept during the war. He had written in his journal about being quartered in the barracks of a Wurttemberg regiment in 1919 and getting the helmet.

    Funny thing along with the helmet and buckle, there was a single German should board, for the 398th IR. In my board collection I had a perfect match to it. Could this mean that this regiment was also up against boys from south eastern PA? I have noticed over the years of going to shows and such, that items from the same units (or at least army corps) do appear.

  10. #10


    398th IR interesting if I've time I'll check btw has anyone pictures of these helmets being worn front line? Think I have among prisoners taken by the Americans but its poor quality, there is another out there but the Guard insig. is different (IWM).


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