German prisoner wearing body armour – September, 1917

Photograph Information

Title: Captured German prisoner wearing latest body armour – September, 1917
Source: Library Archives Canada
Source Link: Mikan #:3403143
Photographer: Unknown
Date: 1917

Colourization Notes

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Body Armour

The soldier is wearing body armour initially issued to front line troops in 1916. The equipment weighed between 20lbs and 24lbs (9kg and 11kg), reflecting the two variant sizes produced; 500,000 sets were issued to men on the Western Front. Capable of stopping low velocity fragments and shrapnel, the Sappenpanzer (trench armour) was, due to its weight, only practical for troops on sentry duty and machine gunners operating in static positions and was designed to be used together with the armoured brow plate (Stirnpanzer) that hooked on to the steel helmet.

The armour consisted of a steel breast plate with three additional interlinking abdominal and groin plates, all connected by two canvas straps, and suspended from the wearer’s shoulders via fitted curved panels. Each plate had additional rectangular-shaped blocks of thick felt added to deaden contact noise between the plates.