Original German WWII Army Heer M40 Service Worn Single Decal Steel Helmet with 55cm Liner - hkp62
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice all original service worn example of a German WWII M40 helmet, issued to the Heer (Army). This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains much of its original lightly textured field gray paint but does show paint loss and other wear, typical of a helmet that was used in the field. The entire inside of the shell has lightly textured paint as well, so it does not look like a field repaint. The left side of the helmet features a Heer eagle decal, which is retained about 35%, with damage from wear and use. Loads of history and a lovely patina on this helmet!
Above the left ear interior of the apron has a stamped manufacturer's code and size hkp62 indicating it was manufactured by Sächsische Emaillier und Stanzwerke A.G., Germany. Towards the end of the war, the SE marking was discontinued in favor of three letter code hkp, and later this was moved to the rear skirt. Size 62 is a smaller size shell, which can accommodate size 54-55 liners. It is also marked with lot number 897 on the underside of the rear skirt.
All three liner retaining pins are intact, and still have almost all of their original paint. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner with all ;seven of its fingers intact. Seven finger liners are only seen on the smaller sizes 54 and 55. The leather is still a light tan, with wear mostly around the rim. The liner has a later war galvanized steel liner band, which is very tight to the shell, so we are not able to read the markings on the size. However there is a faint 55 stamped on one of the fingers.
The helmet comes complete with an early war chin strap with aluminum fittings. It is in service worn condition, but is still intact, without any major cracks or tears. It is somewhat stiff due to age and sweat damage.
Overall a very nice 100% genuine M40 Single Decal Heer Army helmet, with a great service worn look! M40 helmets of this quality are always the hard to find on the market. 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, replacing the multi-piece riveted vent with one stamped directly into the steel. Later, in 1942 the rolled steel rim was removed from the pattern to further expedite production.
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