Original German WWII Named Army Heer M40 Single Decal Chicken Wire Helmet with 56cm Liner - EF64
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice all original example of a German WWII M40 helmet, as issued for the German Heer (Army), with a lovely original Chicken Wire Cover. The wire was used to easily attach foliage and other camouflage items from the area, and could easily be redecorated for a new season. This is the thicker style of wire used with wider openings, and we have had several experts examine the wire and confirm that it is the correct type of wire used during WWII. Unfortunately, as with all "chicken wire" helmets, it is virtually impossible to verify when exactly it was added to the helmet. However with the rust and patination on the wire as well as the helmet, we are fairly certain it was added during wartime.
This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains much of its original Feldgrau paint but does show wear and use, probably has 60% remaining. It shows scuffing and light oxidation where the paint has been removed. There is also evidence that it was once white-washed for winter, which was later cleaned off. The left side of the helmet features an original Heer eagle decal, which is retained about 50%, showing overall wear, and some chipping in areas.
The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is batch number stamped 1429, and the interior, left side, apron has a stamped manufacturer's code and size, E.F.64 indicating that indicating it was manufactured by Emaillierwerke AG, of Fulda 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. The underside of the rear skirt is marked Fw. LENZ, most likely an abbreviation for "Feldwebel Lenz". This is an rank equivalent to a U.S. Army Technical Sergeant.
All three liner retaining pins are intact, and retain almost all of their original paint. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner, with all eight "fingers" still intact. It shows staining and wear consistent with period use, and there is now cracking to the finish, particularly around the rim, which is worn. The top tie string is still present, though it is not tied, and the reinforcement washers on the back of some fingers have come unattached. There are also scattered small tears and other issues as shown. The galvanized steel liner band is marked 64 n. A. / 56, indicating that it is a size 56 liner for a size 64 shell. The right side has the full maker information clearly stamped:
B. & C.
This liner was made by Biedermann & Czarnikow of Berlin in the year 1941, which fits right into the mid war period. This German company later moved operations to Łódź in occupied Poland to take advantage of the slave labor in the ghetto located there. NSDAP authorities renamed Łódź to Litzmannstadt in honor of the German General Karl Litzmann who had captured the city in the previous World War. The original chin strap is mostly missing, with just the areas that wrap around the hanger loops still present.
Overall a very nice service worn M40 Single Decal Heer Army helmet with a chicken wire covering and loads of 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.
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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