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Friday, July 13, 2012

September Auction: Prussian Garde Du Corps Officer's Helmet

Prussian Garde Du Corps Officer's Helmet

Raised in Potsdam in 1740 at the request of Frederick the Great, the Prussian Garde de Corps was the personal guard of the king and after 1871, the Kaiser. The unit participated in a successful cavalry charge in the first land battle of the Seven Years’ War, the Battle of Lobositz. Actions taken by the Prussians resulted in the defeat of a 34,500 Austrian force on its way to relieve their Saxon allies held up in city of Pirna.  Two weeks after the Battle of Lobositz the Saxons at Pirna surrendered.  The combat record established during the Seven Years’ War gave the Guard and other Prussian cavalry units a reputation known throughout Europe which caused Napoleon Bonaparte to warn his men to stay away from Prussian cavalry in 1806.  The Guard would also participate in the Austro-Prussian War and would see action in the battles of Skalitz, Schweinschadel and Koniggratz. The King Wilhelm era helmet seen here is of a lobstertail design that would be copied by other nations of the period.  The helmet has a finely detailed Imperial Eagle parade top and an eight-pointed star plate.  The eagle was only worn during special occasions; otherwise the helmet had a spike.  

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