Austro-Hungarian Tropical Helmets  

The Austro-Hungarian army issued tropical helmets to their troops on two occasions. Firstly in 1897-98 for their peacekeeping mission to Crete and secondly for their troops sent to assist the Ottoman Empire in Palestine from 1916-18. Privately purchased helmets were also worn by officers in Palestine and occasionally by officers in China and Skutari. Examples of issue and privately purchased helmets are shown below.


Tropical Helmet Crete c1897-98

This is one of the surviving helmets used by the Austro-Hungarian army in Crete 1897-98. The helmet was originally white but appears to have faded over the years. The helmet is covered in white cloth with leather hatband, brim edging and ventilation cap on the top. The helmets for the Crete expedition were made by PC Habig of Vienna and had no cockades or insignia.
Photos by C Dale from the Austrian Army Museum, Vienna

Tropical Helmet Palestine c1916

This is a standard issue officers and other ranks helmet. The Austro-Hungarian tropical helmet used in Palestine was lower and had a smaller brim than the German Bortfeldt helmet. Peter Jung describes some helmets as having a Hapsburg cockade in black/gold/black on the front, although the photographs on this page show helmets with an Imperial monogram badge. I have yet to see one with a cockade on it. This one has the monogram of Kaiser Franz Josef (reigned 1848-1916), showing "FJI" for "Franz Josef Imperator" (Latin for Emperor). Some Austro-Hungarian helmets were issued with a detachable neck shade.
Photos by C Dale from the Austrian Army Museum, Vienna

Tropical Helmet Palestine c1916-18

Another standard issue helmet for troops in Palestine. This one has the "K" badge, the monogram for Kaiser Karl (reigned 1916-18). Note the webbing chinstrap and the curiously folded pugaree. Also note the underside photo showing the helmet to be made from woven reeds.
Photos © Peter Suciu, author of Military Sun Helmets of the World

Tropical Helmet Palestine c1916-18

This khaki helmet is not of the standard shape issued to Austro-Hungarian troops in Palestine. It does not have a cockade or monogram badge, nor does it appear to have ever had one as there is no hole for the pins to attach one. It is quite probably a privately purchased helmet for use by an officer in Palestine.
Photos by C Dale from the Austrian Army Museum, Vienna


Austro-Hungarian Soldiers in Tropical Helmets, Jerusalem 1916
Photograph originally from the American Colony Photo Department / WikiCommons



Austro-Hungarian Feld-Gendarmerie Pith Helmet

Photo by C Dale from the Austrian Army Museum, Vienna


Photo from Pickelhaubes Forum

And finally a false friend, yes it is an Austro-Hungarian pith helmet but it is not a tropical helmet as such. This is the M1902 Feld-Gendarmerie pith helmet issued to the military police of the Austro-Hungarian army and still in use during the First World War. Like tropical pith helmets, it was green lined and covered with khaki cloth on the outside. It had the Imperial and Royal double headed eagle in brass on the front and a matching short fluted spike on a rounded base. Decorative brass chin scales were attached to brass cockades on either side in the style of the German Pickelhaube. It also had a more practical leather chinstarp.

While these Gendarme helmets are themselves very collectable, they have sometimes been mistaken for overseas helmets in online auctions. In the photograph of a Gendarme on the right, the brassard was in Imperial colours (yellow/black/yellow) usually with 'FELD-GENDARM' in yellow on the black middle section. Curiously, his rifle is a captured Russian Mosin-Nagant.

Recommended External Link
GŁnter Ofner article on the Austro-Hungarian Feld-Gendarmerie




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