German M17

German Stormtroopers

General Information: The German Model 1917 is identical to the Model 1916 but for one thing; the liner band is metal rather than leather. These were authorized in May of 1917.[1] The chinstrap is the same M91 type used on the M16s and on pickelhaubes, but the chinstrap hardware is more frequently steel or zinc-like metal rather than the brass fittings that are more typical of the M16s. Like the M16s, the M17s had brown leather liner pads, but unlike the earlier helmets the later ones were also produced with white chrome tanned leather. Note that “Model 1917” is a collector term. During the World War One period it was not formally recognized as a model separate from the M16.

Displayed Example: This was an out-of-the-woodwork item that I bought from woman who said it had been in her family, but could not remember the rest of the history. It was made by the Eisenhuttenwerke firm in Thale and bears the manufacturer’s code “ET” alongside the size “66” embossed on the interior skirt section on the wearer’s left. As with all size 66 and 68 German First World War helmets, the side lugs have no step as found on the smaller sizes. This helmet is an example of a period, factory refurbished piece. This is apparent for several reasons. First, the black stenciled or stamped size markings – size 66 on this piece – were typical of refurbished helmets. The refurbished M17s also often had an “AK” black ink stamp. On these stamps the two letters are joined, with the right leg of the “A” also forming the left side of the “K.” “AK” stands for “Abnahmekommando” or “Acceptance Command” which was the military authority responsible for inspecting procurements. On this helmet there is a trace of the AK stamp on the rear skirt to the right of the size stamp. The final thing that marks this as a factory refurbished piece is the droopy feldgrau (field grey) paint that was sprayed on. Refurbished pieces often have this defect whereas it is less common with the original factory paint.

The greenish color on the leather pads is relatively rare variation of the chrome tanned leather pads which were more typically white. The liner string is original to the helmet – a little detail that I always like to see. When I got the helmet, it had no chinstrap, so I added a correct, original chinstrap.

Collector Notes: Along with the M16s, there were millions of these helmets made during the First World War and there are still a great number floating around in the market. They were very popular doughboy souvenirs and they are still surfacing from time-to-time from people’s attics. If you are not too particular about condition and completeness, they can be purchased for a relatively modest price. The liners and chinstraps on these helmets were fragile and not many have survived fully intact. Complete helmets, therefore, fetch premium prices. As with anything in collector markets, the ones in top condition can be expensive. Camouflaged pieces have grabbed collector attention and these have become very expensive. There is a huge amount of fakery in German WWI helmets. Commonly modern replacement liners and chinstraps are aged and presented as original. Fake camouflage pieces are also abundant and some of these are good enough to fool advanced collectors. Be careful! There are also reproduction shells, but these are not very convincing and seem to be made for the reenactor or theatrical markets rather than to fool collectors.  

[1] Lock. 2020

Published by maplecreekmilitaria

I am a collector of military headgear from 1915-1945

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: