Original German WWII Army Heer M40 Helmet with Liner and Chinstrap - Marked hkp66
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice all original example of a German Heer (Army) M40 Steel helmet, which saw extensive service during the war. This stamped sheet steel construction shell helmet retains probably under 40% of its original "feldgrau" paint, which is quite worn. The left side of the helmet at one time featured a Heer eagle decal, however now only traces remain, probably about 30%, with the silver undercoat visible.
All three liner retaining pins are intact, and retain some of their original paint. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner with all eight of its fingers intact. The leather liner is in good condition with signs of age and dryness. There is a top tie string, however it has snapped in one place. The aluminum liner band is marked on the side with 66 nA / 58, indicating a size of 58cm. The chin strap is still in good shape, with the expected wear of age.
The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is lot number stamped, 0091 and the interior, left side, apron has a stamped manufacturer's code and size, hkp66 indicating that Sächsische Emaillier und Stanzwerke A.G. of Lauter, in Saxony, Germany manufactured it in size 66. Size 66 is a nice large size that can accommodate liners from 58cm to 59cm or US 7 1/4 to 7 3/8. Size 66 shells are harder to find and are therefore more valuable to a collector.
Overall a very nice 100% genuine Service-worn M40 Single Decal Heer Army helmet! A great item, with lots of history and a great patina! 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.
The M1935 design was slightly modified in 1940 to simplify its construction, the manufacturing process now incorporating more automated stamping methods. The principal change was to stamp the ventilator hole mounts directly onto the shell, rather than utilizing separate fittings. In other respects, the M1940 helmet was identical to the M1935. The Germans still referred to the M1940 as the M1935, while the M1940 designation were given by collectors.
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