Electorate of Hessen-Kassel
Infantry Pickelhaube M1846

Military History Museum, Rastatt

  Hessen-Kassel Line Infantry Officers Pickelhaube M1846

The Electorate of Hessen-Kassel introduced a Pickelhaube for their army in 1846.

The version worn by the line infantry regiments 1-3 was similar to that of Hessen-Darmstadt in that it had yellow metal fittings, a hessian white/red/white cockade under the right side chinstrap boss and the crowned Hessian Lion rampant with a sword in its right hand as the front plate.

Every other detail was different. The Lion had a single tail and no laurel or oak leaves surrounding it. The spike was plain, the front peak squared. Officers as in most other contingents wore a pearl ring and stars rather than plain buttons on the spike base.

This example is on display at the Military History Museum in Rastatt. It weighs 730g and is 305mm tall.

The elite Leib-Garde Regiment wore a similar helmet but with white metal fittings (yet yellow metal chin scales). Their front plate was a white metal eight pointed star with the Electoral Order of the Golden Lion in the centre. The order was enamelled for officers. On parade the regiment wore a white horsehair plume.

General staff wore the same helmet as the Leib-Garde Infantry but with a white and red feather plume on parade.

The artillery wore the same helmet as the line infantry but with a ball top rather than a spike. The pioneers were the same helmet as the line infantry but with white metal fittings.

The Garde du Corps cavalry wore a Prussian cuirassier style polished yellow metal helmet with a fluted spike and the star of the Order of the Golden Lion in white metal on the front. They also wore a white horsehair plume on parade.

Hessen-Kassel sided with Austria in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. As they marched away to join the Federal VIII Army Corps, Prussia occupied the Electorate and captured the Elector.

Largely because of mixed loyalties among their officers, Prince Alexander of Hessen commander of the Federal VIII Army Corps then deemed the contingent unfit for active duty (except for the Hussars) and sent them to garrison the fortress of Mainz for the duration of the war, where they saw no action.


Detail of the Hessen-Kassel Lion


Illustration by Richard Knötel from 'Uniformkunde'