Original German WWII Luftwaffe M40 Single Decal Helmet with 56cm Liner & Damaged Chinstrap - ET64
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a great original example 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 Fliegerblau (Flyer's Blue) Blue-Gray paint, and really has a great look! The decal is unfortunately a bit worse off, looking like it did not adhere well to to paint, and is retained at probably about 35%, though it is still undeniably a Luftwaffe decal.
The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is heat lot number stamped 914 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 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 intact, however they look to be plated steel, which paint does not adhere well to, so most of the paint is missing. There is also some plating loss and oxidation to the tops of the pins. The interior of the helmet still has an original M31 leather liner with all eight fingers still present, showing overall wear from service. The leather is somewhat dry, with some wear around the edge. The top tie strap is still intact, threaded through all eight fingers. The outer side of the galvanized steel liner band over the left ear is marked 64 n.A / 56, indicating that this is a size 56 liner for a size 64 shell. There is a faint maker marking on the other side of the band, but we cannot make out enough of it for a definitive identification.
The chin strap is still present, however it has become stiff over time, and broke through completely about 4 inches from the left side loop. There is also a previous repair with string wrapped and glued around the leather just next to the loop.
Overall a very nice condition genuine M40 Single Decal Luftwaffe helmet! 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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