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Bayern (Bavarian) Pickelhaube 1886 - 1916
The distinctive Bayern (Bavaria) Raupenhelme can be traced back to 1800 when the "Kasket Muster 1800" was introduced. The Raupenhelme had a leather body with a large wool or hair comb on the top and was worn by all ranks from 1800 to 1886 undergoing numerous modifications. The Raupenhelme is a vast and complicated subject and readers who wish more information are urged to locate the book "Die Helme der Königlich Bayerischen Armee" by Walter Seibold & Gerd M. Schulz. Bayern was the last contingent to adopt the Pickelhaube and retained their Raupenhelm until 1886.

The Bayern Pickelhaube model 1886 was first worn by Bayern officers on 01 April 1887. The Infantry, Jäger, and Artillery Mannschaften (Other Ranks) were gradually equipped with the Pickelhaube from 1887 to 1890 as shown by this NCO wearing an issued M1887 Bayern Pickelhaube. The helmet for all ranks appeared quite similar: all ranks wore a same large Bayern Wappen (front plate), the spike was fluted and secured onto the helmet with a cruciform spike base, and the front visor was squared.
1886/87 Wappen

The Bayern Pickelhaube M1886 Wappen (front plate) with leaves intertwined in the legs of the lions. The M1886 Bayern Wappen was enormous, and is by far the largest of all Imperial German helmet Wappen. The example shown here is for Reserve and Landwehr. The Bayern motto remained on the bottom Bandeau.
As with all Pickelhaube, officer and privately purchased helmets had different characteristics in regards to the Perlring, brads for securing the spike base to the shell, width of the visor trim, method for securing the chinscales, and the quality of the liner etc. These characteristics are explained in detail in the Imperial German Pickelhaube and Rank Identification Guide in the Pickelhaube reference section.
1896 Foot Troops

In 1896 Mannschaften (Other Ranks) for the Foot-troops (Infantry) adopted a new Pickelhaube similar to the 1895 Preußen pattern. The cruciform spike base was changed to rounded, and the squared front visor was changed to the rounded pattern, and the Wappen was completely redesigned.

The majority of contingents that wore the Pickelhaube adopted the leather M1891 chinstrap in or around 1891 for Foot Troops, but Bayern retained flat brass chinscales for issued Mannschaften (Other Ranks) Pickelhaube until February 20 1914 when they were replaced by the model 1891 Prussian pattern leather chinstrap. This Model 1886 only applied to Mannschaften issued helmets; officer Pickelhaube did not change from 1886 to 1914.
1896 Wappen Mannschaften for Foot Troops

The Bayern Pickelhaube M1896 Wappen (front plate) for foot troops was reduced dramatically in size by 1/3 and the laurel leaves and vines intertwined in the legs of the lions were removed. The example shown here is for Reserve and Landwehr. The Bayern motto remained on the bottom Bandeau.
Bayern Pattern M91 Chinstrap

When Bayern Reserve Troops adopted the M1896 Foot troops Pickelhaube, a large number of chinscales from the M1886 Pickelhaube were converted into leather chinstraps to fit the new chinstrap mounts. Where the Line Foot Troops had brass or silver squared buckles, the initial Bayern Reserve M1896 straps had single buckle with a leather slide and different mounts where it attached to the helmet lugs. This handsome fellow is wearing an early Bayern Reserve 1896 Foot Troops Pickelhaube with the first pattern Bayern Reserve M1896 chinstrap.
Mounted Troops

Mannschaften (Other Ranks) in all mounted troops such as Schwere-Reiter (Bayern heavy cavalry) Chevaulegers (Bayern Dragoons), Feldartillery, and Train (supply) did not adopt the M1896 Foot troops Pickelhaube and continued to wear the Model 1886 Pickelhaube with a square front visor, cruciform spike base, and a fluted spike top right up to 1915.

This exact Pickelhaube would have been worn by Mannschaften (Other Ranks) in all Schwere-Reiter (Bayern heavy cavalry) Chevaulegers (Bayern Dragoons), Artillery, and Train (supply) units right up to 1915 (See the Artillery marked example below). The soldier in this photograph is a Private.
Bayern Feldartillerie

In 1886 the Fußartillerie (Foot Artillery) had adoped the 1896 Foot-troops Pickelhaube, however, unlike other contingents who began in 1844 to adopt the Kugel (ball) top on the spike to represent a cannon ball, Bayern Feldartillery (Field Artillery) continued to wear the mounted troops helmet above and did not adopt the Preußen pattern Kugel (ball) top for helmets until 31 March 1916.

The mounted troops Pickelhaube underwent modifications through the years: the convex chinscales adopted the Model 1891 mounts in 1896, the Reich's Kokarde was adpoted in 1897. The example shown here is a Model 1896/1914 Bayern (Bavaria) Mannschaften (Other Ranks) Pickelhaube marked to 7 Feldartillerie. - Regt. Prinz-Regent Luitpold.
1914 Wappen for Officers and all Mounted Troops

The Bayern Pickelhaube M1914 Wappen front plate) was reduced in size and the laurel leaves and vines intertwined in the legs of the lions on the Wappen were removed.
The three patterns of Wappen: 1886/87 Wappen, M1896 Wappen Mannschaften for Foot Troops, and the 1914 Wappen for Officers and all Mounted Troops. These examples are all solid Neusilber (nickle silver) which were only worn only by:
  • Infanterie-Leib-Regt.
  • Kgl. Bayer. Pionier-Bataillons 1 to 4
  • Kgl. Bayer. 1. Chevaulegers-Regt. 2,4,6, and 8.
1886/1914 Officer

The officers wore a helmet model 1886 of which the plate was modified in 1914 by the removal of the branches and bay-leaves on the bottom. The officer's Pickelhaube had a square front visor, cruciform spike base, and a fluted spike top. As expected, officer's and privately-purchased Pickelhaube were of a much higher quality than the issued version and utilized the "squared finger" liners until 1880 when the internal leather sweatband and silk skull-cap came into use. This particular example is from 1914 and is made from fiber.
The only difference between an Infantry officer's helmet and a Cavalry officer's helmet (and Artillery until the adoption of the ball spike in 1916) , is that infantry chinscales are flat, while Cavalry and Artillery chinscales are curved. However, on 20 February 1914 all Bayern officer Pickelhaube adopted rounded mounted-troop pattern chinscales.
A comparison of the painted Mannschaften (Other Ranks) Kokarde (left) to the officer pattern (right) with a metal overlay.

In accordance with the 1915 regulations issued Bayern Pickelhaube would no longer use brass or silver, but would now only have grey oxidized steel fittings for all units. This example is not made from leather, but is actually an Eisenblech (tin plate) Ersatz-Helme (Substitute helmet).
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