Imperial German Army Detachment Gaede Steel Helmet, WWI
This is a German steel helmet developed by the Army Detachment Gaede, named for its commander General Hans Gaede, in 1915. It is thought to be the first steel helmet developed by German forces in World War I (1914-1918). The uniquely shaped helmet features a heavy steel plate, with a thickness between 5 to 7 millimeters and a weight around 4.5 pounds, attached by a set of four rivets to a leather lined cap.1 The steel plate covers most of the wearer's forehead and extends over the nose. On either side of the plate are two slots used to attach a leather chinstrap. On the interior of the leather cap is an eight tongue leather liner that tightened in the middle by string, though the string of this helmet is missing. The back of the helmet is cut to allow the wearer to adjust the size by a leather strap with buckle. Visibly, the helmet provided no rear protection.
The Army Detachment Gaede and the "Gaede" Helmet
The Imperial German Army Group Gaede was formed on September 19, 1914, from portions of the German 7th Army. Five days later it was redesignated the Army Detachment Gaede (later designated Army Detachment B in September 1916). Its first commanding officer, General Hans Gaede (1852-1916), began the war as deputy commander of the 7th Army's XIV Corps.2 The Detachment served on the Vosges Front through 1915, which was an incredibly rocky region. Many soldiers suffered head wounds, mostly from small rock fragments during artillery bombardment. After not receiving a replacement for the leather pickelhaube from the Prussian War Ministry, the Detachment decided to develop their own helmet.
Several helmet designs were considered, but ultimately the Detachment chose the helmet featured here. The helmet was produced at the Army Detachment's artillery plant in Mühlhausen. Lieutenant-Colonel Hesse, who was Chief of Staff of Army Detachment Gaede, pushed for the production of the helmet and even at one point offered to pay for it out of his personnel finances. At the end of development, 1,500 helmets were produced and issued. After Germany began issuing the new Model 1916 steel helmet in mass quantities, however, the "Gaede" helmets were replaced and melted down.3
A soldier of the Army Detachment Gaede wearing the "Gaede" Helmet on the Vosges Front, 1915. (Ludwig Baer, History of the German Steel Helmet, 1916-1945 (San Jose, CA: R. James Bender Publishing, 1985), 8.)
|Germany||World War I|