Original German WWII M40 Battle Damaged Heer Army Helmet with Size 56cm Liner - ET64
Original Item: Only One Available. Now this is definitely a helmet with history! This is a very nice all original battle damaged example of a German WWII M40 helmet, issued to the German Armed Forces (Wehrmacht). The color is the standard one used by the Heer (Army), but could also be for Coastal Artillery, or any number of uses. Without any decals, the specific use is unfortunately impossible to determine, but in the present condition, that is hardly important.
This helmet has definitely been through quite a bit, and the first thing one notices would be the two holes in the top of the helmet, as well as the dent behind them. These look to be caused by shrapnel or gun fire, though the hole on the top almost looks like it might have been hit by a pick mattock. The shell is also more "oval" shaped than it should be. This helmet looks to have been crushed from the sides, and has a nice long vertical crack in the back due to this. This could have been caused by the same force that led to the holes, or maybe it was run over by a vehicle. There are countless scenarios one could imagine, and we leave that to the purchaser to decide.
The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is batch number stamped, 579 and the interior, left side, apron has a stamped manufacturer's code and size, ET64 indicating that indicating it was manufactured by Eisenhuttenwerk AG, Thale Harz, Germany in size 64. 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 but the paint on the ends is all but gone. The interior of the helmet still has an original good M31 leather liner with all eight fingers, with the original securing string. The leather is somewhat soft, but shows heavy use, as shown. The side of the aluminum liner band is marked 64 n.A. / 56, indicating that this is a size 56 liner for a size 64 shell. The other side has the manufacturer and date, part of which is faintly stamped:
Bln. Ch'burg 5.
This liner has an additional aluminum layer around the chin strap bales for reinforcement. Soon afterwards, the liners were changed to the stronger galvanized steel, which eliminated the need.
Overall a nice condition genuine Battle Damaged M40 Wehrmacht helmet! This is an item that will only continue to appreciate in value over time. Ready to research and 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, (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.
The last wartime upgrade to the standard helmet took place on 6 July 1942 at the request of the Army High Command. The rolled edge found on M1935 and M1940 helmets was discontinued as a measure of economy. On 1 August 1942 the first M1942 helmets were placed into production, and this was the model produced until late in the war, when most factories were captured or stood idle due to material shortages.
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