Original German WWII Army Heer M42 Single Decal Chicken Wire Steel Helmet - marked ET64
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice all original example of a German WWII M42 helmet, issued to the Heer (Army), with a single Wehrmacht decal and lovely original Chicken Wire Cover. The wire is attached "Basket" style, attached to thick steel wire hooked around the rim of the helmet. The wire was used to easily attach foliage and other camouflage items from the area, and could easily be redecorated for a new season. The wire is totally period correct, and has also deteriorated somewhat over the years.
This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains much of its original paint, but there is also a lot of rust specking, and areas where the paint is completely missing. You can see how the chicken wire has worn the paint itself, showing that the wire has been on the helmet for a long period of use. This is a service worn helmet that saw extensive use during the war. The original decal is about 35% intact, and suffered a lot of scratching long ago, probably from the wire, and oxidized a lot since then.
The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is serial number stamped 2588 and the interior, left side, apron has the stamped manufacturer's code and size, ET64 indicating that it was manufactured by Eisenhuttenwerk AG of Thale, located in the Harz district in Saxony, Germany. Size 64 is a nice smaller 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, and still have some of the original paint. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner installed, with all 8 fingers fully intact, though the top tie is missing. The leather itself is somewhat stiff, and has aged to a dark red brown color due to use and exposure to the elements. The side of the galvanized steel liner band is marked 64 n.A. / 57, indicating that this is a size 57 liner for a size 64 shell. The other side has the manufacturer and date, part of which is faintly stamped:
SCHUBERTH - WERK K.-G.
The chin strap is unfortunately completely missing except for the left side, which is present but quite deteriorated. Given the condition of the leather in the liner, that is no surprise. The rest most likely deteriorated and fell off long ago.
Overall a very nice 100% genuine M42 Heer Army helmet with a single decal and original chicken wire! M42 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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