Original Imperial German WWI Prussian M1915 Jäger Enlisted Shako - Dated 1915

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is an excellent original condition Imperial Prussian Jäger enlisted man's Mannschaften (other ranks or EM / NCO) Tschako (Shako). The M1915 was the last model of Tschako issued prior to the move to steel helmets, and replaced the earlier M1895 and M1897 patterns. In accordance with the 1915 regulations, these helmets would no longer use brass, silver, or Tombak as earlier versions did. All issued leather helmets would now use gray oxidized steel fittings for all Regiments. As with previous versions, the body was constructed from boiled leather, which was shaped and lacquered black.

This is an excellent textbook example, and features an oxide finished Prussian wappen (front plate), which features the state eagle clutching a scepter and crown, over the King's motto, MIT GOTT FÜR KOENIG UND VATERLAND (With God for King and Country, i.e. Prussia). It is held in place by the standard leather wedges on the inside of the shell.
Both M1891 pattern side lugs are present, and the right side has a very nice German National Colors (red white and black) Kokarde (cockade) around the lug with a solid chinstrap still attached.

In 1897 the new Reichs-Kokarde in Red-White-Black was introduced for all ranks to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kaiser Wilhelm 1st. The Reichs-Kokarde was to be worn on the right side of the helmet. As Tschako helmets feature a front cockade, there is no cockade on the left chin strap lug. This helmet still has its correct Prussian (Black & White) removable felt covered cockade at top front.
The interior features a nice original leather liner, which shows signs of original use, and age which accumulated over decades in storage. All fingers are intact, and still have intact securing strap holes. The size of the shako is stamped as 55 next to a depot stamp that is hard to read but has a dated of 1915 on it.

The exterior of the helmet shell is in good condition. Showing some signs of shrinkage (likely from languishing in a hot attic for decades) with lovely age checking/cracking, but no real damage of flaking. The front and rear visors are still attached with intact stitching, another rarity, though they are a bit loose as the leather has shrunk. The Tschako also has the correct 7 hole metal ventilation fittings on each side.

This is overall a great condition Prussian M1915 Tschako, which would make a great addition to any collection!

History of the Shako-
The word shako originated from the Hungarian name csákós süveg ("peaked cap"), which was a part of the uniform of the Hungarian hussar of the 18th century. Other spellings include chako, czako, schako and tschako.

From 1800 on the shako became a common military headdress, worn by the majority of regiments in the armies of Europe and the Americas. Replacing in most instances the light bicorne, the shako was initially considered an improvement. Made of heavy felt and leather, it retained its shape and provided some protection for the soldier's skull, while its visor shaded his eyes. The shako retained this pre-eminence until the mid-19th century, when spiked helmets began to appear in the armies of the various German States, and the more practical kepi replaced it for all but parade wear in the French Army. The Imperial Russian Army substituted a spiked helmet for the shako in 1844-45 but returned to the latter headdress in 1855, before adopting a form of kepi in 1864. Following the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, military fashions changed and cloth or leather helmets based on the German headdress began to supersede the shako in many armies.

Although the mid-nineteenth century shako was impressive in appearance and added to the height of the wearer, it was also heavy and by itself provided little protection against bad weather as most models were made of cloth or felt material over a leather body and peak. Many armies countered this by utilizing specially designed oilskin covers to protect the shako and the wearer from heavy rain while on campaign. The shako provided little protection from enemy action as the most it could offer was in giving partial shielding of the skull from enemy cavalry sabers.

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