Original German WWII M42 Army Heer Helmet with Dome Stamp, 58cm Liner & Chinstrap - marked NS66
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a great condition lightly used all original example of a German Model 42 Steel helmet, as issued to the all branches of the German Wehrmacht Heer. This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains over 95% of its original phosphate grey/green paint, with light overall wear consistent with short service and then long storage. There is some paint loss on the top front area, with the rest still in great shape. There was never a decal applied to this helmet, which is not uncommon for later war helmets such as these.
The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is lot number stamped D434 and above this is a faintly stamped manufacturer's code and size NS66, indicating that it was manufactured by Vereinigte Deutsche Nikelwerke, of Schwerte, Germany. Size 66 is a nice large size that can accommodate liners from 58cm to 59cm or US 7 1/4 to 7 3/8. Size 66 shells are much harder to find and are therefore more valuable to a collector. There is also a "Dome stamp" on the top inside of the helmet, though unfortunately it is not legible. These are something we rarely see, even on the best condition helmets.
All three original liner retaining pins are intact and retain the tan paint well, with the original texture still present as well. The interior of the helmet still has an original good M31 leather liner with all eight fingers intact and supple, and a lovely lightly worn look. The top tie string has torn, and is still present under the liner. The side of the galvanized steel liner band is marked 66 n.A. / 58, indicating that this is a size 58 liner for a size 66 shell. There is also a faint 58 stamped on one of the fingers of the liner. The right side has a date of 1943 over a German RBNr. marking, which we unfortunately cannot identify. The chin strap is still intact and in great shape. It is RBNr. marked like the liner band.
Overall, a very nice and untouched M42 Heer Army helmet made without a decal in very good condition showing only light wear! M42 helmets of this quality are always the hardest to find on the market. 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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