Original Imperial German WWI Prussian Death's Head Hussars Light Cavalry Bearskin Busby c.1900-1918

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This really looks the business but we think has seen some restoration. Here we have a fantastic Imperial German Hussar's Busby or Pelzmütze (Fur Cap). Busby is of course the English name for the Hungarian prémes csákó ("fur shako") or kucsma, a military head-dress made of fur, originally worn by Hungarian hussars. In its original Hungarian form the busby was a cylindrical fur cap, having a bag of colored cloth hanging from the top. The end of this bag was attached to the right shoulder as a defense against sabre cuts.

After this the size and design were scaled down, and they became much more for looks than for actual protection. This example is very similar to the British Busby used by Hussars, but is definitely German. The tan/yellow leather lining looks to have had work done on the interior, with the liner sweatband most likely being a replacement. The exterior bearskin wrap shows it's 100+ year age and the helmet comes with its red slouch bag hanging over the right ear. On the front is a massive Death's Head (Totenkopf) helmet plate in white metal, with the Prussian Motto MIT GOTT FÜR KÖNIG UND VATERLAND (With God for King and Country, i.e. Prussia) in a banner above the skull. The busby also comes complete with its correct "German Silver" chin scales, possibly only used by Officers.

Use of the Totenkopf as a military emblem began under Frederick the Great, who formed a regiment of Hussar cavalry in the Prussian army commanded by Colonel von Ruesch, the Husaren-Regiment Nr. 5 (von Ruesch). It adopted a black uniform with a Totenkopf emblazoned on the front of its mirlitons and wore it on the field in the War of Austrian Succession and in the Seven Years' War. The Totenkopf remained a part of the uniform when the regiment was reformed into Leib-Husaren Regiments Nr.1 and Nr.2 in 1808. The skull continued to be used by the Prussian and Brunswick armed forces until 1918, and some of the stormtroopers that led the last German offensives on the Western Front in 1918 used skull badges. Luftstreitkräfte fighter pilots Georg von Hantelmann and Kurt Adolf Monnington are just two of a number of Central Powers military pilots who used the Totenkopf as their personal aircraft insignia.

Extraordinary that before 1914 Cavalrymen actually wore these into battle but by 1918 every soldier had been issued with a STEEL HELMET and horses were largely made redundant with the use of Motor Transport. Representing the very last of the "Pomp and Circumstance" of Military uniforms, this still conveys a sense of Romance. Ready to display!

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