Original Austrian WWI M17 Helmet Converted WWII German SS with Double Paper Decals - Size 66

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very interesting Genuine WWI Austro-Hungarian Model 1917 helmet, which after WWI was over, was kept in service, and then reissued for use in WWII for the German Schutzstaffel (SS). We speculate that this is a helmet used after the occupation of Holland by German forces and probably quiet late in the game when helmets such as this were reissued to reserve and home defense forces out of stocks. Perhaps this was for a Dutch NSB member, perhaps one of the small local Dutch home volunteers under the SS, difficult to know for sure.

The shell is an example of the rare variant which had pack strap mounting loops attached at the sides. The original "Isonzo braun" paint was removed, and then WWII "Feldgrau" lightly textured paint was applied. Over this, some decals were applied, which were field made from paper and the original print can still be seen and appears to be in DUTCH. The insignias appear to be hand rendered on shield shaped paper which was cut from a Dutch language text. The insignias are glued onto the helmet with a coating of protective lacquer applied roughly over them. It was then fitted with a German M-31 steel liner dated 1940 and attached chin strap. This helmet was originally purchased from the children of a Dutch immigrant who came to the US in 1949 and brought this helmet with him. It is completely period done and is 100% original.

There are unfortunately no markings stamped into the steel that we can see, which would help further identify the helmet. This however is not abnormal for Austro-Hungarian M17 helmets, as many of the makers used only ink stamps, and the heat lot code was on the outside of the crown, easily painted over. We measured the outside of this helmet, and we are fairly certain that it is in size 66cm. This is a nice large size that would usually accommodate size 56 to 58 hat sizes, which is 7 to 7 1/4 in U.S. sizes. The helmet still has the correct short vent hole lugs without steps, for attachment of a "stirnpanzer" helmet plate. Smaller sized helmets would have a step, but this does not, confirming its larger size. The shell also is an example of the rare variant which had pack strap mounting loops attached at the sides. There has been some discussion regarding this exact helmet, as it has been owned by various serious collectors over the years. It is definitely legitimate SS, and a helmet full of research potential.

All three liner retaining pins are intact, and they are WWII German style, not the original Austrian style. These retain most of their original lightly textured paint. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner with all eight of it's fingers intact. The liner does show some use, but not major use, so it is still in very good condition, with some minor discoloration. The original top tie strap has been replaced with twine. The galvanized steel liner band is marked 64 n.A. / 56, indicating that it is a size 56 liner for a size 64 shell, and there is a faint "56" in a circle ink stamped on one of the fingers. Most likely without the shell markings, they guessed it was a 64, and installed that size liner in it. It's a bit loose, showing that it is not quite the right size. The other side of the liner band has a clear manufacturer's mark and date:



Attached to the liner is a very nice condition mid-war produced chin strap, with the galvanized steel buckle. There is no major damage to the chin strap, just the usual wear, and it is a very nice example.

This is a very nice example of a very rare and interesting helmet, one of the first that we have been able to offer. Ready to fill a spot in your helmet collection!

History of the SS

The Allgemeine-SS, (General-SS), was originally formed in May 1923 under the auspices of the SA, Sturmabteilung, (Storm/Assault Detachment), as the Stosstrupp Adolf AH (Shock Troops). It was then redesignated Schutzstaffel, (Protection Squad), in April 1925, with the official acceptance of the name verified on the second anniversary of the failed Munich "Beer-Hall" Putsch on November 9th 1925.

As a subordinate unit to the SA, early SS personnel wore the standard SA style box belt buckle. It is believed that Adolf AH personally designed a new pattern box belt buckle specifically for wear by SS EM/NCO personnel with the manufacturing patent being originally granted to the Overhoff & Cie. firm in Lüdenscheid. This new style buckle was adopted for wear by EM/NCO personnel in late 1931 or early 1932. Generally the early buckles were produced in solid nickel/silver until sometime in 1936 when aluminum alloys replaced the nickel/silver versions. In 1940 the EM/NCO's belt buckles began to be manufactured in steel replacing the aluminum alloy buckles.  The steel buckles were zinc coated than painted grey.

Austro-Hungarian Helmets

The Central Powers of Austria-Hungary used, manufactured and commissioned, variations of the World War One German Stahlhelm M16 design. The Austrian M1917 helmet was similar to the German M1916, but had a few variations including the chinstrap, chinstrap rivets located higher up on the steel shell and variations in locations of markings among others.

Early Austrian helmets were supplied by Germany, the first shells supplied as the chinstrap rivets were mounted in a lower position. The Austrians fitted their own chinstrap bales, chinstraps and liner and painted them in Austrian Isonzo braun. These modifications were carried out with German machinery at the"Adolf Westen di Cilli factory, which is now Celije, in Slovenia.

Later Austria-Hungary made their own helmets, and eventually developed a model similar to the German M18, but it did not see wide use before the end of the war, just as with German's M18. Both were an an important stepping stone towards the German helmets of WWII, which moved to chin straps attached to the liner, not the shell.

Austro-Hungarian WWI Helmets Makers-

There are only 9 known factories that produced helmets during WWI for the KUK. Unlike the Germans the Austrian pattern helmet are often found without factory stamps and heating lot codes. When the heating lot codes are present it is often on the outer top dome of the helmet instead of the inside. The following is a table of Manufactures codes of helmets produced by the Austrians. Several of these makers did not stamp the code into the shell of the helmet but rather marked them with an ink stamp. Therefore many Austrian shells will be encountered today that seem to have no maker mark as the ink stamp has worn off, but most will have rolling mill codes.

Maker Name Factory Location Maker code Sizes Model

A. Westen Cilli Celie, Slovenia AW 64 M17

Brüder Gottlieb u. Brauchbar Brunn BGB 66 M17

C. A. Scholtz,Mateocz Sloeakei CAS 66 M17

Berndorfer Metal-Warenfabrik Berndorf, Austria "Bear" logo 66,64

Bruder Lapp, Rottenman u. Warcholowsky Unknown ? M17

Nadrag,Transilvania Transylvania Unknown ? M17

Resicka, Transylvania Transylvania Unknown ? M17

Bleckmann & Poldihutte Klando Boemia Unknown x Stirnpanzer

Gebruder Bohler & Co., Kapfen Austria, Stiria GB "Star" 66 M17

Rolling Mills Marker Code

Ludwikow L

Bleckmann B

Poldi P

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