Original German WWII Extra Large M40 Single Decal Luftwaffe Helmet with 61cm Liner & Chinstrap - SE68

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a great all original example of an Extra Large size Model 1940 German WWII helmet with a single Luftwaffe Eagle decal. This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains over 90% of the original lightly textured Luftwaffe Blue-Gray paint overcoat, and shows only light wear and minor oxidation. The interior paint is retained beautifully, making this a prime example. The decal is still present and retained at about 90%, with just a few areas scuffed off. If you were looking for a fantastic helmet for your collection, this is it!

The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is serial number stamped 4868 and the interior, left side, apron has the stamped manufacturer's code and size, SE68 indicating that it was manufactured by Sächsische Emaillier und Stanzwerke A.G. of Lauter, Germany. 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 original liner retaining pins are intact and still retain virtually all of the original lightly textured paint. The interior of the helmet still has an original M31 leather liner, however two of the 8 fingers are damaged, with the end of one torn completely off. Overall the leather is in delicate condition, with tearing and some cracking, and there definitely is flaking and wear around the edges. The original top tie string is still present and fully intact. The outer side of the galvanized steel liner band over the left ear is marked 68 n.A / 61, indicating that this is a size 61 liner for a size 68 shell.

The right side displays the full manufacture information, as well as a date:

B. & C.

This liner was made by Biedermann & Czarnikow, a German company who 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 helmet has a very nice chinstrap installed, which is maker marked on the end R. EHRHARDT POESSNECK / 1941, a known leather goods manufacturer during the war. The chin strap is in great shape, and looks to possibly be an unissued replacement.

Overall a fantastic extra large genuine M40 Single Decal Luftwaffe helmet, with a lovely lightly worn look! 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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