Original German WWII M17 Transitional Army Single Decal Helmet - Size 66
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a super clean excellent example of a WWI M17 helmet that was converted for use by the Third Reich in the 1930 before the issue of the M1935 helmet. It features a correct M31 eight finger leather liner, WWII issue brown chinstrap and a wonderful mint single Heer (army) decal over the left ear. The shell is stamped 66 inside of the skirt. Helmet retains about 98% of its rough textured field-grey over-paint. The two forward liner retaining rivets, both of the extended ventilation side lugs and both of the early chinstrap retaining rivets are intact. Shows the expected age, but overall excellent condition.
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, in the spring of 1916. These first modern M16 helmets evolved into the M18 helmets by the end of WWI. At the end of WWI it is estimated that Germany had produced about 8,500,000 steel helmets. As a result of the restrictions placed on the German’s by the Treaty of Versailles, which dictated a standing army of only 100,000 personnel, there was an abundant surplus of these helmets, and though they saw widespread use by Freikorps personnel, there was still a stockpile controlled by the Reichswehr.
These excess helmets underwent minor modifications in 1923 with the addition of provincial identifying shield decals and in 1931 with the development of a new chinstrap and liner system. Although helmet development was ongoing when Hitler came to power in 1933, the M16 and M18 helmets were still the main headgear worn by the Reichswehr. The helmets remained the same until March 1933 when the provincial shields were discontinued in favour of the national tri-color shield. In 1934 the national eagle shield was introduced, and both the tri-color and eagle shields were applied to the helmets. After the development of the new M35 helmet, the WWI helmets were still issued to second line and training troops well into WWII. The Austrian M16 was almost identical to the German version with the positioning of the chinstrap liner rivets being the most readily identifiable difference.
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