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Pickelhaube - Modifications during 1887-1890


Introduction of the M87 helmet for infantry enlisted men (officers still kept the old M71 helmet):

  • The development of this helmet was promoted by a competition of the War Ministry. On April 18, 1884, a tender worth 1000 marks was published in the „Armee-Verordnungsblatt“, with the aim of improving the Pickelhaube and some other equipment items for soldiers. The protection of the soldiers no longer seemed to be the focus of the military. It was just requested in the tender that the new helmet should protect against the weather, offer a good ventilation, not hinder the soldier when shooting and make him look handsome. Here is an excerpt of the requirements according to the tender:
Source: Armee-Verordnungsblatt - vol. 18 (1884), pages 79-81 (No. 75)


The winner of this competition was a helmet that was introduced on March 3, 1887 for enlisted men of the infantry as the M87 model and which had the following changes compared to its predecessor:

  • Leather body with lower height. The neck-guard was also reduced in size to avoid bumping the harness when firing in a prone position. The helmet height including spike was now about 21,5 cm to 22,5 cm and it weighed 440 to 550 g.
  • Elimination of the metal trim around the front visor. To stiffen it, the edge received a pressed bead instead. An exception was the front visors of the Guard Infantry and Grenadier Regiments 1-12, which kept the metal trims.
  • The eagle plate of the helmet M87 was reduced to 11-11,5 cm, if the budget allowed it. If it was not possible to equip a whole battalion with it at the same time, the old heraldic eagle continued to be used there.
  • Introduction of the simple leather chinstrap with thorn buckle and hook on the helmet for enlisted men. The Guard Infantry and Grenadier Regiments 1-12 were again an exception, which retained the chin scales and were only to be replaced by the leather chinstraps in the event of war.
  • Small, off-center holes had to be made in the cockade to attach the hook to the helmet, otherwise the hook would rotate.
  • The spike of the helmet was made slightly smaller (9 to 10 cm) and was given 5 ventilation holes, instead of the previous 2.
  • The perl decoration on the spike neck (perl ring) was replaced by a bead running all around for enlisted men.
Source: Armee-Verordnungsblatt, vol 21 (1887), page 82 (
Source: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde - Heft Nr. 424 (2007), p. 69 - Simons, Volker: Der preußische Mannschaftshelm Modell 1887


Source: Jahresberichte über die Veränderungen und Fortschritte im Militärwesen, vol. 14 (1887), page 20 (
Source: Beschreibung der Infanterie-Ausrüstung M/87, page 9 (

Pickelhaube M1887 (Courtesy of Volker Simons - Berlin)



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