Back to the
Imperial German Pickelhaube Guide
Uniform Details of all
Ulanen Regiments
Plate 1
Ulanen (Lancers)
Tschapka 1843 - 1915
The Ulanen (Lancers) Tschapka with its distinctive square top first appeared in 1808 when Preußen introduced Ulanen (Lancer) Regiments to emulate the Polish lancers as did many nations; especially after the Polish Lancer's performance at Waterloo in 1815. The M1843 Tschapka was a tall helmet with a squared top whcih was secured with gilt chinscales. The neck of the upper flat portion on the Tschapka (called a "mortar board" by English collectors) was permanently covered with a colored cloth Paraderabatte (parade rabatte). The Paraderabatten colors were specific to each Regiment but were trimmed in white for Mannschaften (Other Ranks) and silver bullion for officers. The Fangschnur (securing cord) were attached to the top of the Tschapka with a toggle for Mannschaften and a hook for officer and private purchase.
Wappen and Feldzeichen
Contingents that utilized a Tschapka wore a variety of state Wappen (front plates) with their own specific Feldzeichen, which was a cloth-covered wooden badge in the state colors worn on top of the Tschapka. The Wappen on Tschako range widely and are detailed (for 1914 only) in the "Uniform Details of all Ulanen Regiments" links at the top or bottom of this page. Below is a list of contingents that utilized some form of Tschapka after 1842:
  • 1842 - Preußen;
  • 1864 - Bayern (Bavaria);
  • 1867 - Sachsen (Saxony); and
  • 1871 - Württemberg.
In 1867 Preußen Ulanen Regiments adopted a new Tschapka which was significantly reduced in height and volume. The new Tschapka had the eagle Wappen (front plate) moved from the neck of the top to the front of the shell. The new 1860 Wappen now carried the "MIT GOTT FÜR KOENIG UND VATERLAND" (With God For King And Fatherland) Bandeau. The Preußen Line Tschapka eagle Wappen is much smaller than a Line Infantry eagle, measuring only 95 mm from the tail feathers to the crown. This example is from Ulanen - Regt. Hennigs von Treffenfeld (Altmärkisches) Nr. 16.
The colored cloth Paraderabatte (parade rabatte) around the neck of the top flat portion of the Tschapka on the M1867 was now removable. It was held in place with brass hooks and was worn for parades only with the Parade bush. On the Ulanen Regt Nr. 16 Tschapka above, the cloth Paraderabatte (parade rabatte) around the neck is blue and trimmed in white.
The Ulanen Tschapka liner was unique, in having squared fingers which met in the center to form almost a closed circle. The liner of the issued Ulanen Tschapka remained essentially the same the entire life of the helmet, from 1842 to 1915.
A side view of an issued Model 1867 Tschapka for Ulanen Regt Nr. 1. Note how the back of the helmet is designed so that it curves down around the wearer's skull. This unique shape is common with Tschapka from all contingents for both Mannschaften (Other Ranks) and private purchase to include officer's.

Note also that unlike a Pickelhaube, on original issued Tschapka, the liner is sewn on through the outside.

It is worth mentioning here the unique way a Tschapka visor is attached. To explain, a Tschapka visor was sewn onto the shell in an upward position with the outside surface of the visor facing the outside surface of the front of the shell. When the sewing of the visor was complete, the visor was then folded down and secured in place with front visor trim, to produce a very neat 'hidden' seam.
In 1889 a new model of Tschapka was introduced. The flat top was reduced in size substantially from the M1867 and now measured on average 20 cm diagonally. An additional modification, was the addition of two holes in the neck to aid in ventilation. As with all helmets in service at the time, this Model 1889 Preußen Mannschaften (Other Ranks) Garde - Ulanen - Regt. Tschapka was updated with the new Reich's Kokarde in 1897 to be worn on the right side of the Tschapka.
A side-by-side comparison of the tops of an issued M1867 (left) and an issued M1889 (right). The top on a Model 1867 measured on average an amazing 26 cm diagonally, while the top on a Model 1889 measured on average 20 cm diagonally.
Ulanen issued line eagle Wappen only measure 95mm from the bottom of the tail feathers to the top of the crown compared to the M1860 Infantry Wappen at 115mm. Issued Sachsen (Saxony) and Württemberg Tschapka Wappen were also considerably smaller than the line Infantry versions.
Only Bayern (Bavaria) utilized the same size Wappen on both Tschapka and Pickelhauben. Officer Tschapka, however, did not utilize reduced size Wappen, but wore normal Line Infantry size voided-crown Wappen.

The issued M1860 Ulanen eagle Wappen was essentially a small M1860 Infantry Wappen,with screw-posts and similar characteristics in that there are only two tail feathers on either side below the chest and the gap between the wings and the legs is not voided. Beginning in 1895, some (not all) manufacturer's began voiding the area between the legs as shown on the two M1895 examples above, but some continued to manufacture Ulanen eagle Wappen in the M1860 configuration.
The Fangschnur (securing cord) was attached to the top of the Tschapka with a toggle for Mannschaften and a hook for officer and private purchase.

The Fangschnur were then lopped around the neck of the wearer which prevented loss of the helmet in battle. The photo to the left shows the correct manner of wearing the Fangschnur around the neck with the tassles looped onto a shoulder button.
Fangschnur were white for Mannschaften (Other Ranks), State colors & white for NCOs, and silver bullion with State colors for officers. For example: NCO Fangschnur for Preußen NCOs was white & black, Bayern NCOs white with blue, Sachsen white with green, and Württemberg white with red. Officer Fangschnur for Preußen officers were silver with black, Bayern officers silver with blue, Sachsen silver with green, and Württemberg silver with red.
1894 -1897
In 1894 the Tschapka received the infantry pattern Model 1891 posts for the chinscales which became the Model 1894 Tschapka. In 1895 the screw-posts on the reverse of issued Wappen were replaced with loops and in 1897 all helmets were updated with the new Reich's Kokarde to be worn on the right side.
Officer Tschapka were of a much higher quality as illustrated by this period photo of an officer wearing the officer's Tschapka. Officer Tschapka utilized the "squared finger" liners until 1880 when the internal sweatband and skull-cap came into use. The Wappen on the front of the Tschako carried voided crowns and for Preußen Ulanen the Line eagle Wappen was the same siize as a Line Pickelhaube. The most noticeable differences between an officer's and an issued Tschako, are that all officer Tschapka utilize rosettes to secure the chinscales, have a finer front visor trim, and have an bullion embroidered Feldzeichen.
Photo used with the kind permission of Thomas Brackmann of Imperial German Photographs

Model 1867 Tschapka from a Line Ulanen Regt

Nr.1, 2, or 3

Line Ulanen

(1. Hannoversches)

2. Hannoversches
Ulanen-Regt.2. Hannoversches Ulanen-Regt. Nr.14

Kgl. Sächs.
Nr.17, 18, or 19
To reduce the reflection of the brass or silver fittings, all ranks were issued with cloth Überzug (helmet cover) in 1892. Issued covers utilized hooks while privately purchased and officer covers utilized a stiffened front brim. In 1915 the issued covers were modified to allow the leather chinstraps to pass through the sides.
Beginning in 1914, all arms received Ersatz-Helme (substitute helmets) until helmet supplies could meet demand. Ulanen Tschapka are found made from Eisenblech (tin plate) or from rabbit felt as shown by this Preußen Ersatz Filz-Tschapka.

Only on these two patterns of Ersatz Tschapka was the squared finger liner not utilized. Ersatz Tschapka utilized rounded finger leather liners very similar to a standard Pickelhaube. Surviving original felt examples have metal visor trim.
In accordance with the 1915 regulations issued Tschapka would no longer use brass or silver. The new model of Tschapka utilized a removable top. The top was now made from Eisenblech (tin plate) and utilized a large bayonet-style lug for securing the top to the shell. Ulanen Mannschaften (Other Ranks) Tschapka would now have only have grey oxidized steel fittings for all Regiments and the brass chinscales were replaced with a M91 leather chinstrap.
M1915 Friedens-Uniform
The leather M-91 pattern chinstrap and 1917 date identifies this Württemberg Tschapka as being made for the M1915 Friedens-Uniform (Future Peacetime Uniform).
Back to the
Imperial German Pickelhaube Index
Uniform Details of all
Ulanen Regiments
Plate 1