I don’t know much about these, but always thought the brass chinstraps were for officers and leather was for enlisted and NCOs. Can you educate me on this?
Here is my answer to a similar question about a Reichsgendarmerie Pickelhaube that I posted earlier...
Proud Kraut, on 10 Nov 2018 - 01:31 AM, said:
Sarge, could you please tell me the difference between an Officer's and Senior NCO's Pickelhaube, thanks!
The differences are subtle but can be seen when you look for them. In the German service the most senior Sergeants (Unteroffizier mit Portepee) could wear an Officer knot on their edged weapons (i.e. a NCO with Officer knot). These professional NCOs also had the right to wear other Officer trappings such as, during WWII, they could wear Officer chin cords on their caps. During WWI this translated to the right to wear metal scales on their spike helmets just like a commissioned Officer. So, just because a spike helmet has a metal chin strap does not always mean it was worn by an Officer. Unteroffizier mit Portepee could elect to simply wear a scaled chin strap on their issue helmet or they could purchase an Officer quality helmet to wear. Remember, Enlisted men were issued their clothing at no cost while Officers had to purchase their uniforms, just like most military establishments. So, quality depended upon the size of one's purse. If the Unteroffizier mit Portepee chose to purchase an Officer helmet there would be no way to know now if it was worn by a Senior NCO or an Officer without the Sergeant's name and rank written inside.
Part of the detective work on the Reichsgendarmerie helmet above is that in the German Police service the highest NCO rank was typically either a Meister (Senior Sergeant) or a Kriegsoffizier (wartime Officer) which was actually a temporary bump in rank similar to a Brevet-Officer or a Warrant Officer. Policemen were also often classified as Officials (Beamte) with lifetime appointments. These Officials also wore Officer uniforms but their spike helmets were slightly different and not germane here. So, we look at this helmet.
First, the helmet is an item of issue style helmet with a simple fingered leather liner and body as seen on most Enlisted spiked helmets. It is not Officer quality with a fully lined interior liner made of of leather and cloth, generally with a retailer name inside. Second, this helmet is property marked to the Reichsgendarmerie as an item of issue. Third, the brass trim is not gilt but is plain polished brass and the fittings are consistent with an issue helmet. Fourth, The chin scales are flat, instead of being scalloped and/or "fancy" in any way. Fifth, The chin strap is attached to the standard lugs on the helmet in the same manner as the leather chin strap is attached for an Enlisted man. Officer chin scales are typically attached differently with a cover disc on the swivel attachment that makes the scales look flatter and more attractive.
I hope this is helpful.
Edited by SARGE, 14 April 2019 - 11:58 AM.