Original Cold War East German M56 Mod 2 VOPO Steel Combat Helmet - dated 1960
Original Item: Only One Available. We just received this very nice helmet out of a large helmet collection. Officially known as the German Model 1956 Steel Helmet, the design of this helmet is actually a WWII German creation initially laid down in 1942, although it is associated with the post-WWII German Democratic Republic (DDR).
This example is in very good condition, and is marked I / 11. / 60 over the left ear, indicating 1960 manufacture, and that it is a smaller size helmet. This helmet is in the I/57 or Mod 2 configuration, which changed the liner attachment system, as well as added a 4 point chin strap. The original Mod1 M56 helmets had a liner and chin strap essentially identical to the WWII Issue.
This example is very nice, showing light service wear, but no real damage. This gives it a lovely broken in look. It also looks to have the name Kuhn written on one of the four rubber liner pads.
A very nice East German Cold War era helmet, ready to display!
More on the M56 Helmet
A search for a better helmet than the M35 began as soon as the results of the Polish campaign came in at the end of 1939. Eventually, extensive tests showed that the Experimental Helmet B/II, which became the M56, provided much better protection to the wearer, was more comfortable, and had a number of other significant advantages over the M35-M42 style. It also offered significant production advantages over the M35-M42 family. Hitler's preference for the earlier design and the end of the war prevented its adoption. After the War, East Germany was required by the Soviets to dispense with the old helmet design for political reasons, so the B/II was revived and adopted as the M56.
It came to called the "Vopo helmet" largely by circumstance: Most photographs seen in the West of armed East German personnel were of the border guards, a division of the People's Police (Volks Polizei). Because the Vopos were tasked with preventing the escape of East Germans to the West, and ended up shooting a good number of escapees, photojournalists took countless pictures of them during the cold war, and their most distinguishing mark was the B/II M56 helmet.
With the collapse of East Germay (DDR) in the early 1990s these very recognizable helmets were obsolete overnight. Most were destroyed or sold off to third world countries with the result that they are not often encountered today almost 20 years later.
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