Did those pointy German helmets in WWI have any practical value?

For instance, did they ever train at it like one would do with a bayonet?

Have at you! Followed like a charge from a Bighorn Sheep.

Nope; ornamental only.

Take a look at Austrian calvary helmets…they have a big square projection up on top. You could use it as a table to write letters home upon!

Or how about the tradition of the pelisse, a half-jacket. What possible good is half a jacket?

These guys were really big on the fancy-pretty stuff. Practicality was secondary (if that.)

Well, like any other distinctive uniform piece, there was the practical value of ready recognition. Of course that cuts both ways. And as for many military headgear up until and into that war, there was the psychological value of making soldiers look bigger and more imposing.

Previous threads:

What was the point of a Picklehaube?

Pointy German helmets

So if not the Vikings, then who did wear helmets with horns? Anyone?

Google failed me, are you talking about some sort of actual half-a-jacket, or of the practice of wearing a complete fur-trimmed or -lined jacket as if it was a short cloak, hanging from one shoulder? I can’t find any images where it would truly be half a jacket.


Given that it originates from a culture whose hussars straight up wore feathered wings into battle, it all becomes perfectly understandable…

It was meant to (… now what is the word in English?*) a sword coming down at the soldier’s head.

It should protect your head from being cut in half, like a water melon.

Pointy things on top of helmets were a common thing, in the old days.

Actually, I am surprised this is not common knowledge…

  • (… now what is the word in English?) : like when a missile hits the angled side of a tank, and instead of going through the steel, it goes away to another direction



Probably because it’s rubbish. The spike evolved from a plume holder, it’s purely decorative.

Not entirely. There’s a long history of helmets with points at the top not descended from plume-holders that were evidently intended to deflect blows




For that matter, a plume itself would act as a deflector (if not , perhaps, as efficient), so just saying that it was “only a plume holder” doesn’t put the matter to rest.

Although I have no doubt that the spikes on the WWI helmets were meant almost entirely as ornamentation.

But useful for parking one’s packet of sandwiches perhaps. Or bills.

The bascinet doesn’t have a point (the way we’ve been discussing, it just is conical), this one’s a plume holder, and the second one definitely has a plume holder - did you check where the images were linked from?
I’m not denying a pointy shape will deflect swords, I’m saying a separate, loosely-attached metal bit makes no sense for that purpose.

Plumes are as likely to act as sword magnets as deflectors. Any pointed metal bit sticking out of your helmet is a spot where the sword doesn’t even have to hit you head in order to hurt you, by making your neck snap sideways.

It’s magic thinking to try and find a rational or tactical reason for everything warriors in the past did. Sometimes, they just stuck cool shit on their armour because it looked good. This is an ancient, venerable tradition

yes, it would actually increase the chance of an injury from a sword blow, by increasing the target: if the swordsman missed the head with a sideways stroke but hit the spike, at least part of the energy of that blow would be transmitted to the head.

Yes, but it would act to parry a downward blow. Win some, lose some.

Could you use it to spear a sausage and cook it over a fire? Not wearing it of course but in a pinch could it be used that way or weren’t they thin enough?

I would use it to stick the helmet into the ground and then use the helmet as a bowl or a cook pot. But then again, I’ve never been in the Kaiser’s army.

…onto your unhelmeted shoulders…

That’s the only way I’ve ever seen it described/pictured.

My thought exactly.