Original German WWII M40 Single Decal Luftwaffe Helmet with Size 54cm Liner - stamped SE62
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice all original example Model 1940 German WWII helmet with a single Luftwaffe Eagle decal. This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains almost all of the original lightly textured Luftwaffe Blue-Gray paint, with the expected light wear from moderate service. It has a great lightly worn patina and look. The decal is still present though it has degraded quite a bit, probably only retained at around 40%, with the remaining parts a bit stained and discolored due to wear.
The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is serial number stamped 4904 and the interior, left side, apron has the faint stamped manufacturer's code and size, SE62 indicating that it was manufactured by Sächsische Emaillier und Stanzwerke A.G. of Lauter, Germany. Size 62 is a nice smaller size that can accommodate liners from 54cm to 55cm or US 6 3/4 to 6 5/8.
All three liner retaining pins are intact, with exterior paint retained well on all three. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner with all eight of its fingers intact, though the top tie is missing. The liner leather is in very good shape, with no tearing, and a lovely chestnut brown color. It also looks to have the name Michaelis L89705, possibly the name and number of the soldier that captured it. The side of the galvanized steel liner band is marked 62 n.A. / 54, indicating that this is a size 56 liner for a size 64 shell, and there is still 56 in a circle stamped on one of the fingers. The right side displays the full manufacture information, as well as a date:
D. R. P.
There is unfortunately no chinstrap installed on the liner.
Overall a lovely condition genuine M40 Single Decal Luftwaffe helmet, with very good condition original liner and some great research potential. 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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