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M16 Stahlhelm - Regiment zu... Puss?
Old 09-08-2017, 01:02 AM   #1
McJagger
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Default M16 Stahlhelm - Regiment zu... Puss?

Gentlemen:

This is a recent acquisition of mine that I have some questions about that perhaps a few of you who are knowledgeable in this regard may be able to answer. From a poorly-described and extremely poorly-photographed e-Bay auction: a somewhat below-average condition M16 (Q66) with a complete, albeit very rough 1st-pattern liner and an original chinstrap that looked to be from an M15 pickelhaube, rather than a stahlhelm:



The feldgrau had almost entirely been lost, with the helmet now a vaguely gunmetal green/brown color. However, something in this profile caught my eye -and you guys probably know what I'm talking about. The price was quite reasonable (the seller was an antiques dealer who really knew nothing about militaria), so I jumped on it. Here's what I got:

A large, black, and rather elegantly-painted number "5" is on the back:



So far, so good. The inside rear skirt has a lot to say, but this is where I have some questions:



It appears to read: "G (or German capital L?) fr. / 4c. GRUBER



3 GARDE RzP.



S__eRS" (?)



I'm not terribly familiar with German army nomenclature... Can anyone give me their opinion on what this could mean? I was expecting maybe an "RzF", for Regiment zu Fuss -but a "P"? Also, I was of the understanding that only the 1st Regiment painted their company numbers and the Hohenzollern crest; this clearly reads "3 Garde". Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 09-08-2017, 10:22 PM   #2
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I've taken a recent interest in these after seeing some bogus ones. The First Garde ~Division~ used the paint scheme. Others can chime in better, but you have a better shot with this being good than a number of the ones I have seen.
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Old 09-09-2017, 12:50 AM   #3
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You're absolutely right; fakes abound of this famous regiment. But whatever this is, I have no doubt of its authenticity. It seems to have been together in its current form for a very, very long time...
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Old 09-09-2017, 03:01 AM   #4
C. Roelens
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Please post a picture of the liner system and chinstrap. It has potential. There appears to have been something applied on the left side, maybe an authentic painted Garde's Shield? Whatever it was it's long gone now. The black painted numerals were used on the early Garde helmets. Very rare. Later on white painted numerals. Also very rare. Attached below are a couple pictures of my 10th Company Garde helmet.

Chuck
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File Type: jpg IMG_3110.jpg (133.9 KB, 190 views)
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Old 09-09-2017, 05:25 PM   #5
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Now that's the way a Garde helmet should look! Beautiful. Great to hear that the black painted numbers are the earlier style, as the liner in my helmet is of the 1st-pattern (single-seam) leather type. Unfortunately, it hasn't fared much better than the exterior... which, I suppose, is what you'd expect to see. I think this helmet's greatest enemy over the past 99 years has been poor storage. The black leather chinstrap looks to be from an M15 pickelhaube. It's thin and cracking, but not brittle.

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Old 09-09-2017, 06:43 PM   #6
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The chinstrap is likely not original to the helmet, but it looks good. Probably from a Pickelhaube as you suggest.

Chuck, don't forget about the red Company numbers. I think red was the intermediary color used, between black and white. There's so much left to discover and learn about this subject.
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File Type: jpg 000_0011_edited-1.jpg (125.9 KB, 175 views)
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Old 09-09-2017, 09:26 PM   #7
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I did forget... thanks Hans. A 10th Garde Company in red.

Chuck
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:58 PM   #8
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The painted-in unit mark appears to be "3.Garde RzP", which I would take to mean "3. Guarde Regiment zu Pferde", which is an unusual unit nomenclature. Rarely, a phrase "zu Fuß" or "zu Pferde" was added to a unit description if there was a similar unit and the person wanted to make sure the reader knew the difference.

For instance, I have a German dogtag marked to a Jäger Rgt. "z.F." (zu Fuß) so as to differentiate it from the same numbered Jäger Regiment zu Pferde. The "z.F" was normally not in the name of the light infantry Jäger unit, but was added in this case by the person making out the disc and felt some clarification was needed.

The interesting thing is that even if that letter is a small "f" instead of a "P", the 3.Garde Regiment zu Fuß was not in the 1.Garde Division after 1915 (according to the "Histories of 251 Divisions of the German Army").

Regarding the color of the numbers, I think red and black were both used to paint the company numbers on the helmets. Which came first and the reason for the change is anybody's guess. I don't recall ever seeing an original helmet with a white (first application) number. Two of my three Garde helmets have white painted over original red numbers. The third one still has the original red numbers.

Chip
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Old 09-12-2017, 09:13 PM   #9
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Thanks, Chip- This was helpful information! Any guess on what the LFr./4c. might signify?
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Old 09-16-2017, 11:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McJagger View Post
Thanks, Chip- This was helpful information! Any guess on what the LFr./4c. might signify?
It signifies name and rank:

Gefreiter Victor Gruber
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