Original German WWII M18 Transitional Heer Army Double Decal Helmet with Partial Liner & Chinstrap - Size 64 Shell
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice service worn example of a WWI M18 helmet, which was converted for use by the Third Reich in the 1930s before the widespread issue of the M1935 helmet. During this process it was fit with an M31 leather liner, WWII issue brown chinstrap and had a darker Feldgrau (field gray) paint job applied. It was then fitted with Heer "Double Decals", a Heer (army) eagle over the left ear, and the German Tri-color "National Colors" decal, over the right ear.
After that, this helmet saw significant use, and much of the overpainted WWII Finish has chipped away, showing the original WWI paint in places. This gives it the incredible look of a helmet that was really there, in service for decades. The decals themselves are relatively well retained , with the Heer Eagle at about 80%, with overall wear and some chipping, and the national colors at bout 60%, having been partly overpainted at one point. The use of the second decal was discontinued in 1940, and in 1943 it was ordered that helmets with the national colors have them removed, so finding a helmet with both still intact is a real treasure!
The shell size stamp can not be seen anymore, due to the repainting of the helmet when it was reissued. We did measure it, and the shell measures about 65cm on the outside, so it is a 64cm shell. There also looks to be a name written in paint on the inside skirt, but it is too faded to read. It retains both of the extended ventilation side lugs, which are the correct longer type with a small step for the medium size 64 shell. This would ensure proper installation of a Stirnpanzer brow plate regardless of shell size. As this is the later M18 variation, this helmet never had the chin strap installation lugs on the skirt of the helmet, as the chin strap was attached directly to the liner.
The original liner split pins were all replaced with the WWII style when the new liner was installed. The liner itself and chinstrap unfortunately have not fared well over the years, with the leather of the liner only about 25% retained, and what is left is in very delicate condition. The chin strap is only slightly better, now hard and cracked from age. The liner band is of the earliest non-reinforced aluminum pattern, and the remaining stud on the chin strap is the correct pre-war aluminum. It is marked on the left side with 64 a.A. / 54, indicating that it is a size 54 liner for a size 64 shell. "a.A" stands for "Alter Art" or "old model", meaning that this liner was made to fit the "old model' helmet shells such as the m18.
The liner band is also maker marked and dated on the other side:
SCHUBERTH - WERK
A beautiful, solid example of WWII Reissued M18 helmet with double decals, a type that is becoming increasingly difficult to find. Everything about this helmet is absolutely correct! Comes ready to display!
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 AH 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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