The Spoils of War: Relics from the Front

Springfield Republican – January 1, 1930 – “TAGGING ARMORY MUSEUM RELICS REVIVES HORROR AND ROMANCE – …One of the grimmest curios is a German helmet, picked up in the Argonne forest by Miss Minnie L Campbell of Springfield Hospital then an army nurse at base hospital 57. It was worn by one of 10 Germans all found dead close together and shot down by machine guns. It has much the appearance of a jagged sieve, and still shows the blood clots on the inside. The helmets weighed two pounds and 10 ounces each, with an adjustable front piece for war in the front lines weighing 5 1/2 pounds more.”  According to Army records, “Condition of helmet compared well with everything in the immediate vicinity where found.”   Miss Campbell donated the helmet to the museum on 29 June 1934. 

This exhibit was opened in 2018 to commemorate the end of the Great War.  After the largest war in the world’s history, allied armies moved to occupy German territory, clean up, and heal. The war left Europe deeply scarred and littered with the tools of a massive industrial war. As occupying armies sifted through the material, US Army Ordnance Department’s Historical Section looked for artifacts specifically for the museum at Springfield Armory.

The museum at Springfield Armory, already 50 years old by World War I, had become a renowned technical collection of military firearms, and all sorts of pieces were selected – less as historical value or trophies (though there are some), and more as technically intriguing to engineers, machinists, and firearm designers who used the museum as part of their normal Armory jobs. This exhibit displays Each object includes the original description as written by the leader of this effort, Captain Aney, highlighting why they selected this item and, in certain cases, where it came from.