Original German WWII Army Heer M40 Single Decal Helmet in Named USN Seabee Bring-Back Box - Q64
Original Item: Only of a Kind. This is a very nice all original example of a German WWII M40 helmet, issued to the Heer (Army), which was mailed back home in a box by a member of the U.S. 97th Naval Construction Battalion, part of the Legendary "Seabees" of WWII Fame. The wooden box is definitely well made, and managed to protect the helmet on its trip back to the United States. It Measures approximately 15" x 10 1/4" 8 1/2". The sender's name is clearly marked in paint on the lid:
J.R. Newhouse Ptr 2/C
97th N.C. Batt. Se. 1 Co. D-6
c/o Fleet Post Office
New York City, N.Y.
J.R. Newhouse was a Petty Officer 2nd Class in the 97th Seabees, and sent it back to a relative in Brecksville, Ohio, probably his wife or mother. Definitely some further research may shed light on this. Also included with the helmet and box is a very nice pamphlet on the history of the 97th Naval Construction Battalion.
The helmet is also a very nice example, one of the better ones that we have seen. Of the usual stamped sheet steel construction, it retains most of its original lightly textured field gray paint, with some wear and white marks on the top. The paint rates at over 90%, with just light service wear, and a few areas of missing paint. The left side of the helmet features a Heer eagle decal, which is retained about 75%, which was "sanitized" by having the swastika buffed or ground off.
The interior, neck guard apron is also batch number stamped, 699 and the interior, left side, apron has a stamped manufacturer's code and size, Q64 indicating that indicating it was manufactured by Quist in Esslingen, Germany in size 64. Size 64 is a nice large size that can accommodate liners from 56cm to 57cm or US 7 to 7 1/4. Size 64 shells are harder to find and are therefore more valuable to a collector.
All three liner retaining pins are intact, and still have almost all of their original paint. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner with all eight of its fingers intact. The galvanized steel liner band is marked 64 n.A / 58, indicating a size 56 liner for a 64 shell, and it also has an ink stamped 56 on the leather itself. It is also maker marked on the other side, but it was very lightly stamped, so it cannot be read.
The liner is in very good condition, with little wear or age. The leather is still a nice light tan color, though there is some dirt in areas. The top adjustment string still present, and in good shape. The chinstrap is complete, and in very nice shape, with the expected wear and light staining.
Overall a very nice 100% genuine M40 Single Decal Heer Army helmet, with a great Seabee named bring back box and information! M40 helmets of this quality are always the hard to find on the market. This is an item that will only continue to appreciate in value over time.
The first "modern" steel helmets were introduced by the French army in early 1915 and were shortly followed by the British army later that year. With plans on the drawing board, experimental helmets in the field, ("Gaede" helmet), and some captured French and British helmets the German army began tests for their own steel helmet at the Kummersdorf Proving Grounds in November, and in the field in December 1915. An acceptable pattern was developed and approved and production began at Eisen-und Hüttenwerke, AG Thale/Harz, (Iron and Foundry Works), in the spring of 1916.
These first modern M16 helmets evolved into the M18 helmets by the end of WWI. The M16 and M18 helmets remained in usage through-out the Weimar Reichswehr, (National Defence Force, Circa 1919-1933), era and on into the early years of the Third Reich until the development of the smaller, lighter M35 style helmet in June 1935.
In 1934 tests began on an improved Stahlhelm, whose design was a development of World War I models. The Eisenhüttenwerke company of Thale carried out prototype design and testing, with Dr. Friedrich Schwerd once again taking a hand.
The new helmet was pressed from sheets of molybdenum steel in several stages. The size of the flared visor and skirt was reduced, and the large projecting lugs for the obsolete armor shield were eliminated. The ventilator holes were retained, but were set in smaller hollow rivets mounted to the helmet's shell. The edges of the shell were rolled over, creating a smooth edge along the helmet. Finally, a completely new leather suspension, or liner, was incorporated that greatly improved the helmet's safety, adjustability, and comfort for each wearer. These improvements made the new M1935 helmet lighter, more compact, and more comfortable to wear than the previous designs.
The Army's Supreme Command officially accepted the new helmet on June 25, 1935 and it was intended to replace all other helmets in service.
More than 1 million M1935 helmets were manufactured in the first two years after its introduction, and millions more were produced until 1940 when the basic design and production methods were changed, replacing the multi-piece riveted vent with one stamped directly into the steel. Later, in 1942 the rolled steel rim was removed from the pattern to further expedite production.
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