Object Title

German machine gunner body armour (incomplete)

German machine gunner body armour (incomplete)



Object Number



Bowyer Tower, Armour Bay 4 (1992).

Physical Description

It is formed of three plates of silicon-nickel steel, protecting the trunk from the tops of the shoulders to just above the waist. The main plate protects and is shaped to the chest. It has rounded lower corners and a large, upward-flanged cut-out at the neck. Attached by three large, round-headed rivets within each of the upper corners of the main plate, is a broad, slightly tapering shoulder-plate which curves down the back and serves to hook the armour over the body. Each of the shoulder-plates has an obtusely pointed proximal end, and a straight distal end with rounded corners. Attached by a single, large round-headed rivet within each side of the main plate, a little over half way down it, is a stepped triangular plate with a rounded upper end, and a transversely slotted lower end.
Formerly looped through each slot, and secured to it by stitching, was a webbing strap which served to suspend three downward-overlapping abdominal plates which are now all missing.
Painted black.


Dimensions: Height: 38.0 cm (15.0 in), Width: 39.6 cm (15.6 in), Depth: 27.0 cm (10.7 in) Weight: Kg ( lb oz)

Inscriptions and Marks



Places Germany


Bashford Dean, 'Helmets and Body Armour in Modern Warfare', New Haven, London and Oxford, 1920, pp. 142-6 and figs 98-100, discusses and illustrates this type of armour in some detail. He records that german troops were first recorded wearing it in 1916-17, and that an improved version of it was introduced in 1917.