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Original Imperial German WWI M16 Stahlhelm Helmet Shell Decorated for Motorcycle Club Post War - marked ET64

Regular price $595.00

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a totally original WWI German M16 Helmet, brought home after WWI or possibly WWII, and then decorated on the outside by a Motorcycle Club or similar enthusiast. Imperial German helmets were very popular with early clubs and other groups, and remain so to this day, with many modern helmets styled after the classic imperial German look.

In spite of this, the helmet still makes a very good WWI USGI bring back collectible, as the shell is solid and well marked on the interior. The helmet also still has both the dome headed chinstrap retaining rivets, which hold the interior pickelhaube style chin strap lugs in place with only one chinstrap attachment. It also retains both of the extended ventilation side lugs, which are the correct longer type with a small step for the medium size 64 shell. This would ensure proper installation of a Stirnpanzer brow plate regardless of shell size. Two of the three liner split pins, excluding the correct larger rear pin, are present, holding an early leather liner band in place, which has unfortunately lost the rest of the liner.

The shell is stamped E.T. 64. indicating that Eisenhüttenwerke Thale A.G., in Thale /Harz manufactured it. This company made shells in sizes 60 - 68 for the war effort. Size 64 is a nice medium large size that can accommodate liners from 56cm to 57cm or US 7 to 7 1/8. Size 64 shells are harder to find and are therefore more valuable to a collector. The top of she shell has a rolling mill mark of B W 2 7 1, indicating it the steel was made by Stahlwerk Becker, Kiefeld.

A lovely USGI bring back Imperial German Helmet Shell, later decorated by a Motorcycle club. Ready to research and display!

History of the M16 Helmet
The Stahlhelm was introduced into regular service during the Verdun campaign in early 1916.

The M1916 design had side-mounted horn-like ventilator lugs which were intended to be support for an additional steel brow plate or Stirnpanzer, which only ever saw limited use by snipers and trench raiding parties, as it was too heavy for general use.

The shell came in different sizes, from 60 to 68, with some size 70s reported. The suspension, or liner, consisted of a headband with three segmented leather pouches, each holding padding materials, and leather or fabric cords could be adjusted to provide a comfortable fit. The one-piece leather chinstrap was attached to the shell by M1891 chinstrap lugs, the same kind used in the Pickelhaube helmet.

The M1916 design provided excellent protection: Reserve Lieutenant Walter Schulze of 8th Company Reserve Infantry Regiment 76 described his combat introduction to the helmet on the Somme, 29 July 1916:

"... suddenly, with a great clanging thud, I was hit on the forehead and knocked flying onto the floor of the trench... a shrapnel bullet had hit my helmet with great violence, without piercing it, but sufficiently hard to dent it. If I had, as had been usual up until a few days previously, been wearing a cap, then the Regiment would have had one more man killed."

But the helmet was not without its flaws. The ventilator horns often let cold air in during the winter, requiring the wearer to block the vents with mud or fabric. The large, flared skirt tended to make it difficult for soldiers to hear, distorting surrounding sounds and creating an echo when the wearer spoke.

Originally painted Feldgrau (field grey), the Stahlhelm was often camouflaged by troops in the field using mud, foliage, cloth covers, and paint. Official issue cloth covers in white and grey appeared in late 1916 and early 1917. Camouflage paint was not formally introduced until July 1918, when German Army Order II, No 91 366, signed by General Erich Ludendorff on 7 July 1918, outlined official standards for helmet camouflage. The order stipulated that helmets should be painted in several colors, separated by a finger-wide black line. The colors should be relevant to the season, such as using green, brown and ocher in summer.

After the effectiveness of the M1916 design was validated during the 1916 campaigns, incremental improvements were subsequently made.

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