Original German WWII M35 Single Decal Luftwaffe Panzer Camouflage Helmet with Liner & Chinstrap - ET66
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice all original example Model 1935 German WWII helmet with a single Luftwaffe Eagle decal. This stamped sheet steel shell construction helmet was field overpainted during the war with a lightly textured dark gray "Panzer" style camouflage, and then saw long use afterwards. This has worn away a good amount of the camouflage, and the original smooth Luftwaffe Blue Gray paint is now visible on the crown and other areas. The interior still shows only the original Luftwaffe paint, as is standard on a field repaint. Overall the exterior has a great worn patina and look that is simply impossible to duplicate!
The decal is still present and retained at over 90%, with a lovely ivory color due to age and discoloration of the lacquer portion of the decal. Just a bit of the edges were painted over when the camouflage was applied. Really a nice looking helmet here!
The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is heat lot number stamped 4753 and the interior, left side, apron has the stamped manufacturer's code and size, ET66 indicating that it was manufactured by Eisenhuttenwerk AG of Thale, located in the Harz district in Saxony, Germany. Size 66 is a nice larger size that can accommodate liners from 58cm to 59cm or US 7 1/4 to 7 5/8. Size 66 shells are harder to find and are therefore more valuable to a collector.
All three liner retaining pins are intact, though they are nickel plated, so the paint did not adhere well and is partly missing on all three. They show some of the camouflage paint on top of the original smooth blue Luftwaffe paint, so they were on the helmet when the camouflage was applied. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner, with all 8 fingers present and mostly intact, with the original top tie string. The leather is now dark and somewhat stiff from wear, and there is a bit of cracking around the edge. There is also a hole in the back of the liner, which looks to have been cut out for some reason. The liner band is aluminum, with square aluminum chin strap loops attached to reinforced sides. This is the last pattern before the move to galvanized steel bands. The left exterior of the liner band is marked 66 n. A. / 58, indicating that it is a size 58 liner for a size 66 shell. The right side has the full maker information clearly stamped:
Bln.- Ch'burg 5
This indicates production by the metal and leather working company Werner Zahn, based in Berlin - Charlottenburg, in the year 1940, which fits right into the early war period.
The chinstrap is completely intact, though it is definitely stiff from age and wear. It has aluminum attachment studs, but the buckle is plated steel, correct for the changeover period. It is maker marked and dated with RAHM & KAMPMANN / WUPPERTAL 1941, so it is definitely in period.
Overall a very nice condition genuine M35 Single Decal Luftwaffe helmet, repainted during the war with "Panzer Camouflage" and showing a lovely service 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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