Original German WWII Army Heer M40 Single Decal Steel Helmet with Liner and Chinstrap - ET64
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice all original example of a German WWII M40 helmet, issued to the Heer (Army). This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains much of its original paint but does show wear and use. The left side of the helmet features an original Heer eagle decal, which is retained about 80%, with damage from wear. The left side has a national colors decal, however this was added at some time post war, to add to the authenticity, and is not original to the helmet. At this time protective varnish was also lightly applied over the shell.
The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is batch number stamped 1158, and the interior, left side, apron has a stamped manufacturer's code and size, ET64 indicating that indicating it was manufactured by Eisenhuttenwerk AG, Thale Harz, Germany in size 64. Size 64 is a nice medium 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.
All three liner retaining pins are intact, though there is some paint loss on the front pins. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner with all eight of it's fingers intact. The liner is ink stamped with a size, but it is not legible, with the original size adjustment string. The band is dated 1944 on the side. The liner is in solid condition with signs of age, however the leather is still soft and pliable. The chinstrap is unfortunately completely missing. It is also stamped with R. B. Nr. 0/1001/0038 on one side, which is for Lederfabrik Fr. Vogl, located in the Vienna (Wien) area. Due to the date and RB number, most likely this liner is a late war replacement, after the original had degraded.
German RBN Numbers, or Reichsbetriebsnummer, also known as the National Business Number, were an alternative to the 3 letter codes in use late in the war. Unfortunately there is no complete listing of these numbers, which only really indicate the region and type of contract it was. The first digit would indicate type of business, with 0 for industry, and the second was region, with 1001 being one of many numbers assigned to the Vienna area. Fr. Vogl was contractor 0038 in that region.
Overall a very nice M40 Single Decal Heer Army helmet, with a "National Colors" decal added for flair. 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 to reduce production time. This mainly included having the vent hole being stamped directly into the shell, as opposed to being riveted on later.
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