Historical detective. German helmets: necks intact, brains broken

Historical detective. German helmets: necks intact, brains broken
Historical detective. German helmets: necks intact, brains broken

Not so long ago, in one of the materials, I sadly complained that the moronization of society in the information space is taking on alarming proportions. I am translating: the people are getting dumber. And here is another confirmation of this.

Actually, I was looking for information on a completely different topic, but I was simply shocked how many people on the Internet just mindlessly copy nonsense and nonsense. Fruiting myths and legends with such confidence that it takes a shock.

It's just that all these Zen things in particular have broken loose. About social networks I am silent about the frontal armor of the tank with my head, but there is nothing to be done about it, apparently.

It remains only to take and debunk these myths, which, in general, are quite foolish for themselves. About helmets that puzzled the soldiers, about guns that did not shoot, oh … yes, there are many topics today.

I'll start with a myth, then we'll talk about things that are not so serious, but amusing. Forgive me that everything is in one bowler hat, but we are talking about helmets, so it seems to be normal.


So, 9 out of 10, 5 Internet users (0, 5 is the one who posted another myth) are sure that the horns on the German helmet are a tribute to the sagas and ancient German legends. Okay, I'm exaggerating, of course, but the story with the horns on the helmets is an indicator.

Through the efforts of Internet warriors, many are already aware that a steel plate was attached to these horns, which strengthened the armor and extinguished the effect of a rifle bullet.

Here the end of the world began …

The idea, like, class, execution is not a cake at all, because the poor German stormtroopers almost took their heads off. But yes, they quickly abandoned this venture precisely because the wretched necks of the German infantrymen were more dear to them, the infantrymen.

What's wrong? Well, nothing special, except that all this is fiction, from the first to the last word.

Outraged cries of "what about Wikipedia?" sweep aside. It would be interesting to find the one who posted this nonsense in Vika.

But glory to the coincidence of circumstances, smart people, capable of something more than spreading fictions around the courtyards, are not extinct in Russia. For example, Pavel Prokhorov from the "Steel Helmet" group, who gave just a delightful account of the entire history of this unfortunate shield. I will give the link in the sources, there is a lot of interesting information.


The only thing that is not there is the slightest documentary, well, at least some piece of paper that can be referred to, on the basis of which we can firmly say that the soldiers refused to use their foreheads because their heads were torn off.

So, in essence, it is the Su-24, which cut off the power supply to the Donald Cook.

What really happened?

But in fact it was 1915 and the Reichswehr had problems. The war was going on, helmets were needed to protect the heads of the soldiers. The fact that this thing is very useful in trench warfare, everyone understood. Well, maybe, except for the Russians, and even then we ordered Adrian's helmets to the allies.

For the Germans, everything was simple. Helmets were necessary, but, having begun the evolution from the funny and not very durable "Pikelhelm", the result was a steel helmet of Captain Shwerd. But he also began to cause criticism about his ability to stop bullets and shrapnel. Especially shrapnel.


The helmet had to be either thickened (made heavier), or more modern materials had to be used.

Captain Schwerd wrote in an explanatory note on this matter that, in order for the helmet to meet all the requirements, 1.5% chromium-nickel steel must be used for its manufacture.

And the production of 1 million helmets required 15 tons of pure nickel. Both Krupp and Stalwerke twirled their fingers at their temples, giving birth to such an amount of nickel at that time was unrealistic. The blockade of Germany by the Entente has already affected.

And without nickel, the helmet would be 15-20% heavier, which was also not very pleasant. Plus - again, additional consumption of steel, which could be used for something else.

And then the Germans came up with a rather original move. This very steel plate was invented, which was attached with horns and a belt on the face of the helmet.

The plate weighed about 1 kg, which, in fact, was really heavy.

However, no one ever planned to send assault groups or ordinary soldiers in helmets with these plates to the attack. Indeed, this is just stupidity, and the Germans were not stupid.

In the instructions for use, because the Germans were masters in coming up with instructions, it was said that the forehead should be used in special tactical conditions in positional combat and against enemy infantry fire.

The forehead was to be carried by a soldier in a knapsack or in some other way along with personal belongings, but so that it (the forehead) could be quickly attached to the helmet.

They even came up with an appropriate command: "Schutzschilde hoch!" ("Shields up!"). Shields foreheads can be considered conditionally, but, nevertheless.

The most interesting thing: who should have put the "shield" on top? That is, attach the visor to the helmet?

This was also regulated. Moreover, in German it is simple and tasteful.

1. Artillery scouts.

2. Artillery and mortar spotters.

3. Trench observers. That is, those who were supposed to watch the movements of the enemy's infantry during the artillery preparation and (not least in the First World War) for gas attacks.

4. Duty crews of machine guns.

Everything is logical, those who did not go into hiding and were in a situation where there was an opportunity to part with their lives should have received additional protection.


There was no talk of any attack aircraft with an additional kilogram of steel on their heads. Not about any soldiers going on the attack. Soldiers exclusively on the defensive, subject to, as I would say now, additional risk factors.

These are the Germans, damn it, not the Papua Guards …

And therefore, the shields-headbands were planned for the production of only 5% of the total.

And the foreheads were quite successfully worn until the end of the war by both the Germans and their allies.





Nothing broke at anyone, the Reichswehr continued to order headbands, moreover, similar devices were in service with the French and American armies.

Yes, the weight was a negative point. In principle, it was he who ruined the whole thing, but nevertheless, the annals of history have not preserved a SINGLE case of cervical vertebrae fractures in any soldier in the warring armies.

By the way, I fully admit that there were cases. Single. And then the "soldier's radio" spread rumors and gossip among the units and subdivisions. And the "horror stories" did their job.

Well, in our time, in general, God himself ordered to post gossip and fables that have nothing to do with reality. Alas, this is the reality of today.


So, in terms of output:

1. Shields-foreheads for steel helmets of the German army were produced in scanty quantities. In total, about 50,000 of them were produced, with a total production of more than 6 million helmets.

2. There were no cases of neck fractures when a bullet hit a helmet weighted with a shield.

3. In the same way, helmets were reinforced in other armies. Helmets fought the entire war.

4. Neither the attack aircraft, nor the infantry went to the attack with head-pieces on their helmets, they did not marches in such attire. The headband was intended for use in limited prescribed situations.

The stories about severe traumas are nothing more than the myth-making of the Internet audience.

Materials here.

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