Original German WWII Army Heer M40 Single Decal Camouflage Helmet with Size 55 Liner - Marked NS64

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice all original example of a German Heer (Army) M40 Steel helmet, which was field repainted with a green camouflage paint scheme. In the field, they had to make do with parts on hand, so a smaller than normal size 55 liner was fitted in this helmet after it was camouflage painted. The design of the German "split-pin" attachment system makes this possible, and while a bit loose, it was still acceptable in the field.

This stamped sheet steel construction shell helmet retains about 50% of the camouflage, while the rest has worn off, showing the original blue/gray "Feldgrau" color. This is definitely a helmet that saw service and exposure to the elements, and has a great look. The left side of the helmet features a Heer eagle decal, which is about 80% complete, with wear and some parts obscured due to the camouflage.

All three liner retaining pins are intact, though the original paint has worn off. 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 light staining, and there is a faint 55 stamped on one finger, indicating the size. The side of the liner band over the left ear is stamped faintly 62 n.A./ 55, indicating a size 55 liner that would normally be installed in a size 62 shell. The top tie string is present, but it looks to be a field replacement made from a brown shoe-string. The chin strap is present, however it is somewhat delicate, as the leather has dried out and it has a crack near the right ear.

The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is serial number stamped, D129 and the interior, left side, apron has a stamped manufacturer's code and size, NS64 indicating that Vereinigte Deutsche Nikelwerke, of Schwerte, Germany manufactured it in size 64. Size 64 is a nice size that can usually accommodate liners from 56cm to 57cm or US 7 1/4 to 7 3/8. Size 64 shells are harder to find and are therefore more valuable to a collector. 

Overall a very nice 100% genuine M40 Named Single Decal Heer Army helmet! M40 helmets of this quality are always the hardest 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.

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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