Original German WWII Extra Large M35 Single Decal Army Heer Helmet with 61cm Liner & Chinstrap - ET68

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice service worn condition all original example of an Extra Large Size German Model 35 Steel helmet, as issued to the Wehrmacht Heer (army). This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains bout 75% of its original "panzergrau" paint, with wear on the top of the crown and on the rim. The left side of the helmet features a very nice Heer eagle decal. The decal is retained about 65%, with some scrapes going through the decal almost to the bottom. However the silver color is still very vibrant, and has a lovely aged look. Helmets of this size are always hard to find on the market, especially in this good of a condition.

The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is batch number stamped, 4731 and the interior, left side, apron has a stamped manufacturer's code and size, ET68 indicating that indicating it was manufactured by Eisenhüttenwerk AG, Thale Harz, Germany in size 68. Size 68 is a rare extra large size that can accommodate liners from 60cm to 61cm or US 7 1/2 to 7 5/8. Size 68 shells are the hardest to find and are therefore the most valuable to a collector.

All three liner retaining pins are intact, with most of the original paint still retained. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner with all eight of its fingers intact, though it is now a bit worn and stained from use. The original top tie is still present, and in good shape. 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 68 n.A / 61, indicating that it is a size 61 liner for a size 68 shell. It is also maker marked and dated on the other side:

Metall-Lederverarbeitung W.Z.
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 chin strap is present fully intact, with no tears or repairs to the leather. It has the correct steel fittings for mid war issue, and is in good service worn condition. It is still supple, and shows no signs of drying out at present.

Overall a very nice Extra Large Size M35 Single Decal Heer Army helmet, with loads of patina! M35 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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