Original German WWII M40 Heer Single Decal Italian Campaign Camouflage Helmet - marked NS64

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is what we all look for and can never find; an incredible 100% authentic WWII German Camouflage Helmet! This example is an M40 model, and has a single Wehrmacht Heer Silver Eagle decal on the left side. This stamped sheet steel construction helmet has a great olive green and brown camouflage scheme, which is retained very nicely. This particular pattern of panels and color is exactly what was used in the Mediterranean climate of the Italian campaign, with olive trees and a warmer climate. It is done quite well, typical for the early war period, before the big Allied push began up into Europe.

On the left interior side of the of the shell's neck guard apron, there is a stamped manufacturer's code and size, NS64 indicating it was manufactured by Vereinigte Deutsche Nikelwerke, of Schwerte, Germany. Size 64 is a nice medium size that can accommodate size 56cm and 57cm liners, or 7 1/4 - 7 3/8 US. Shells of this large size are harder to find, and more valuable to a collector. It also is marked with heat lot number DN77 under the maker mark.

All three original liner retaining pins are intact and have almost all of the original matching paint on the ends. The interior of the helmet still has an original M31 leather liner with all eight fingers, with the original securing string. The leather does show wear, particularly around the rim, where the leather bends over the inner band. It si still soft, but does have some degradation. The side of the galvanized steel liner band is marked 64 n.A. / 56, indicating that this is a size 59 liner for a size 64 shell. The right side maker's marks are not visible due to oxidation, but we did make out BRAUNSCHWEIG at the bottom.

The helmet also has a complete original chin strap, which is in good condition, with the expected wear from age, so it is somewhat delicate. There is already a repaired split, which was covered with medical tape decades ago. The end without the buckle has some faded maker marks, as well as an early pre-war date of 1937.

Overall an excellent condition genuine M40 Heer Single Decal Italian Campaign camouflage helmet complete with original liner and chinstrap! 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.

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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