Original German WWII M40 Russian Front Battlefield Pickup Helmet Shell - marked Q66
Original Item: Only One Available. This is definitely a German helmet that has some stories to tell! It is offered in "battlefield pickup" condition, with significant rust damage, having been recovered from the Russian front area some years after the war. The interior of the helmet is missing all of the liner, except for the original early war issue aluminum liner band, still held in place with original split pins.. There is quite a bit of rust in the interior, and in several places there are holes in the shell, where the scaling has degraded the integrity enough for chunks to fall out.
The exterior however is in better condition, and has a quite interesting paint job. It is a nice "feldgrau" (Field gray) color, the typical later war Blue-Black type. However, in many cases this has been worn off, revealing a textured white camouflage layer. This winter style camouflage is typical of the Russian Front, and is exactly what would be expected given where it was retrieved. After the winter was over, it made much more sense to repaint the helmet again, to avoid attractive undue attention. There is also a lot of flaking and rust on the exterior, but that only adds to the charm.
Additionally, the left apron still has the stamped manufacturer's code and size, Q66 indicating that it was manufactured by Quist in the German city of Esslingen. Size 66 is a nice larger size that can accommodate liners from 58cm to 59cm or US 7 1/4 to 7 3/8. Size 66 shells are harder to find and are therefore more valuable to a collector.
Overall a very interesting genuine "Battlefield Pickup" M40 Russian Front helmet Shell! 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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