Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Vivat Ribbons

(248 words)

Author(s): Gross, Gerhard P.
Vivat Ribbons Dedicatory and commemorative ribbons, imprinted with verses, that were distributed on special informal, court, business, or military occasions. Vivat Ribbons were usually narrow cloth ribbons from 30 cm to as much as 3 m long, and about 3–12 cm wide. First appearing in 18th century Prussia, they eventually spread to the rest of Germany as well as Austria-Hungary. Vivat Ribbons commemorating the First World War tended to measure about 40 cm × 6.5 cm. They were typically printed on the shiny side with Vivat followed by the date, and then the occasion. To this would be…

Steel Helmet

(503 words)

Author(s): Gross, Gerhard P.
Steel Helmet Metal head covering worn by soldiers as a protection against blows, shrapnel, and small-caliber bullets. From 1915 onward, the high proportion of head injuries in positional warfare led the European armies to develop the steel helmet. In 1915, the French Army equipped its soldiers with a steel helmet made of light sheet steel, the so-called Adrian, which afforded only a little protection. The British Army followed suit shortly thereafter with the Mark I helmet. The typical flat design…

Assault Battalions

(304 words)

Author(s): Gross, Gerhard P.
Assault Battalions Army formations that were raised specifically to be used in trench warfare and as training units. Beginning in 1916, the Germans deployed assault battalions primarily on the Western Front. France, Russia, and Austria-Hungary also fielded assault troops from 1917. The first German unit of this type, “Assault Battalion Rohr,” was organized in 1915 and initially comprised two pioneer companies. Its success led to the creation of 16 more assault battalions of this type, with infantry and pioneers p…