Original German WWII "Attic Find" M40 Single Decal Army Heer Helmet with 56cm Liner & Chinstrap - ET64
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a great all original example of a German Model 40 Steel helmet, as issued to the Wehrmacht Heer (army), straight out of an attic where it lay untouched for decades! It shows lovely period service wear in the form of chipped paint and oxidation on the shell of the helmet. There also is some flaking, probably due long term attic storage. However it still retains over 90% of it's original lightly textured panzergrau (armor gray) finish, with a bit of a whitish tinge from dust and attic exposure. The left side of the helmet features a worn Heer eagle decal, which is retained about 40%. This is a very nice example of the M40 helmet, with a great lightly worn look that is impossible to duplicate.
The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is heat lot number stamped 4984 and the interior, left side, apron has the stamped manufacturer's code and size, ET64 indicating that it was manufactured by Eisenhüttenwerk AG of Thale, located in the Harz district in Saxony, Germany. 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.
All three original liner retaining pins are present, with two out of three retaining virtually all of the lightly textured paint, while the the front left pin is missing about 50%. The interior of the helmet still has an original M31 leather liner with all eight fingers still present and fully intact, as well as an original top tie. The leather is supple, however it has a whitish tinge from years of attic storage. The liner band is aluminum, with square aluminum chin strap loops attached to reinforced sides. This is the last pattern before the move to galvanized steel bands. The left exterior of the 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:
Bln.- Ch'burg 5
This indicates production by the metal and leather working company Werner Zahn, based in Berlin - Charlottenburg, in the year 1940, which fits right into the early war period. The chinstrap is fully intact, though a bit stiff, and has an early pattern aluminum buckle, while the securing studs are galvanized steel, correct for the transitional period. The leather is also has a bit of white appearance due to dust and exposure.
Overall a very nice "Attic Find" M40 Single Decal Heer Army helmet, with loads of patina, untouched for decades! 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.
The last wartime upgrade to the standard helmet took place on 6 July 1942 at the request of the Army High Command. The rolled edge found on M1935 and M1940 helmets was discontinued as a measure of economy. On 1 August 1942 the first M1942 helmets were placed into production, and this was the model produced until late in the war, when most factories were captured or stood idle due to material shortages.
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