Original German WWII Luftwaffe M40 Single Decal Helmet - ET64
Original Item: Only One Available. 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 an effort to reduced construction time and labor costs minor modifications were introduced in March 1940 resulting in the M40 helmet. This model features stamped-in vent holes, without an extra rivet inserted.
This example of a Luftwaffe M40 helmet retains much original paint, though there is a spot on the crown where it suffered a dent, and now is rusted where the paint is missing. The left side of the helmet has a second pattern, (Circa 1936/1937-1945), black detailed, silvery/white, Luftwaffe eagle decal, clutching a canted swastika in one talon. The decal is retained 70%, and has definitely suffered some damage from contact. All three liner retaining pins are intact. The interior of the helmet still has an aged Luftwaffe blue/grey painted finish, and does not appear to have been repainted.
The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is serial number stamped, though the number is unclear, and the interior, left side, apron has a clear, stamped manufacturer's code and size, ET64 indicating it was manufactured by Eisenhuttenwerk AG, Thale Harz. Size 64 is a nice large size that can accommodate liners from 56cm to 58cm or US 7 to 7 1/4. Size 64 shells are harder to find and are therefore more valuable to a collector.
The helmet still has its correct M31 liner with all 8 of its fingers intact. The liner still has its original size adjustment string, and while somewhat dry, does not have any large tears or other damage. It has a nice chestnut brown aged color, and has an ink stamp 56 indicating size. The chinstrap is unfortunately missing.
Overall a very nice totally correct 100% genuine Luftwaffe helmet!
The Luftwaffe pattern national eagle was originally introduced for wear by Fliegerschaft, (Pilot Base), personnel of the DLV, Deutscher Luftsportsverband, (German Air Sports Association), the clandestine, civilian, forerunner of the Luftwaffe on August 18TH 1934, and adopted for wear by the Luftwaffe on March 1ST 1935 along with the national tri-color shield for wear on the helmet.
The first pattern national eagle was utilized until a modified second pattern eagle was introduced in late 1936 or early 1937. Regulations of June 12TH 1940 discontinued the use of the national tri-color decal and further regulations of August 28TH 1943 abolished the national eagle decal and dictated that it was also to be removed from all helmets although the directives were not completely adhered to.
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