Model 1867 Preußen Garde Grenadier Pickelhaube
Model 1867 Preußen Garde Grenadier Pickelhaube from one of the five Garde Grenadier Regts.

As a result of the war with Austria and Hannover in 1866, changes to simplify production and reduce the cost of manufacturing Pickelhauben resulted in the Model 1867. The cruciform spike base was changed to a round base secured with split brads bent back against the inside of the helmet, the square front peak was changed to a rounded one, and the rear spine was removed to reduce the amount of brass used in construction.

The chances are very good that this helmet was worn during the Battle of Gravelotte-St. Privat (August 18, 1870) during the Franco-Preußen war.

This helmet is not only important for the war in which it was worn, but it is also a fascinating study in how early helmets were cut-down, reworked, and reissued.
This helmet was worn by the following Regiments of Garde Grenadier, all of whom were garrisoned with the Garde-Korps:

  • Kaiser Alexander Garde-Grenadier-Regt. Nr.1 (Berlin)
  • Kaiser Franz Garde-Grenadier-Regt. Nr.2 (Berlin)
  • Königin Elisabeth Garde-Grenadier-Regt. Nr.3 (Charlottenburg)
  • Königin Augusta Garde-Grenadier-Regt. Nr.4 (Berlin)
A close-up of the Preußen swept-wing eagle Garde Grenadier Wappen (front plate) which had been worn since 1842. The regiments of the Garde Grenadier were not allowed to wear the Garde star until 28 August 1889.
With the Garde Grenadier eagle Wappen removed, the old "rear" of the helmet and stitching is revealed, indicating that this helmet was originally an M1842, M1856, or M1860 pattern Pickelhaube before it was converted to an M1867.

A notable change on the M1867 was with the method for retaining the eagle Wappen (front plate). The threaded bolts on the reverse of the Wappen were replaced with two sliders that slid into two corresponding mounts secured to the outside of the helmet.
This helmet shows evidence of being re-worked more than once, as it appears to initially have had a M1860 eagle Wappen with screw-posts attached when it was converted to an M1867, and then later updated with M67 slider mounts for the Garde Grenadier Wappen.
A view of the reverse of the eagle Wappen with the two sliders for retaining the eagle Wappen onto the helmet.
A view of the rear showing that like a typical M1867 helmet, there is no rear spine as per the M1867 regulations.
A view of the Model 1867 Preußen Garde Grenadier Pickelhaube profile. Note that there is no rear spine. As the Garde Grenadier were titled Regiments, they were allowed to wear a Haarbusch (parade plume). To accommodate a Haarbusch, the spike top is removable. .
On all four sides of the round base are filled holes where the previous cruciform spike base was mounted.
On what is now the back of the helmet, are filled holes for a two different Wappens on which was originally the 'front' of the helmet.
The liner of the issued M1867 helmet was heavy leather with rounded "tongues" perforated at the ends for a leather string to adjust the fit.

As the liners in issued Pickelhauben were essentially the same from 1842 to 1915, this is probably the original liner from when the helmet was a M1842, M1856, or M1860 pattern Pickelhaube.
Both front and rear visors shows evidence of a filled hole where a rear spine once was mounted.

This indicates (ready for this?) that the front visor on the helmet, was once a back visor on an earlier pattern!
Under the screw-posts for the flat brass chinscales, are holes where the screw-posts were mounted before the helmet was cut down to reduce the height.
The Battle of Gravelotte-St. Privat
The incredible painting above is from my favorite German artist Herr Carl Röchling (1855-1920) depicting soldiers of the Garde-Korps during the famous attack on St. Privat 18 Aug 1870. Men are depicted wearing a mix of M1860 and M1867 helmets.

The Battle of Gravelotte-St. Privat (August 18, 1870) during the Franco-Preußen war occurred in these small villages in Lorraine about six miles west of Metz, France and was the largest battle during the war.

On August 18, 1870 the Preußens, having on the previous day intercepted the French army's retreat to the west at the battle of Mars-La-Tour, now closed in to complete the destruction of the French forces. The battle began at 08:00 when the German Commander von Moltke ordered the First and Second Armies to advance against the heavily fortified French positions. The French, once aware of the Preußen advance, opened up a massive fire and soon the Preußen infantry were pinned down by murderous rifle and mitrailleuse fire from the French positions.

By 16:50, with the Preußen southern attacks in danger of breaking up, the Preußen Garde launched an attack against the French positions at St-Privat and were soon found themselves pinned down by lethal French fire from the rifle pits and trenches. Seeing the grim situation of the Preußen Garde, Prince Frederick Charles ordered a massed artillery attack against the French positions at St. Privat. With this massive artillery support, the survivors of the Garde Division launched a fresh attack against the ruins of St. Privat resulting in the capture of the village. The next morning, the French Army of the Rhine, rather than resume the battle with an attack of its own against the battle-weary German armies, retreated to Metz where they were besieged and forced to surrender two months later.

The casualties were horrendous on all sides; a total of 20,163 German troops were killed, wounded or missing in action during the August 18 battle. Losses of the Preußen Garde Division were staggering, with 8,000 casualties out of 18,000 men. French losses were 7,855 killed and wounded along with 4,420 prisoners of war (half of these wounded), for a total of 12,275.