Original German WWII M42 Army Heer Helmet with Foliage Rubber Band and 57cm Liner - hkp64
Original Item: Only One Available. This is an excellent all original example of a late war German Model 42 Steel helmet, complete with a nice foliage rubber band. As the name implies, these rubber bands were put around the helmet in order to attach foliage and other items for camouflage. This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains about 75% of its original lightly textured feldgrau (Field Gray) paint, with some wear and chipping from service. It may have been field repainted, and does not look to have had decals applied. It does have two lighter green stripes, probably for camouflage. This is a very nice example of the M42 helmet, with a hard to find foliage rubber band. There is unfortunately no way to know how old the rubber band is, but it definitely shows age related deterioration, so it may be original WW period.
The shell is stamped with hkp 64 on the rear skirt above heat lot 3541, indicating that Sächsische Emaillier und Stanzwerke A.G. of Lauter, Germany manufactured it. Towards the end of the war, the SE marking was discontinued in favor of the three letter code hkp. Size 64 is a nice medium large size that can accommodate liners from 56cm to 57cm or US 7 to 7 1/8 . Size 64 shells are much harder to find and are therefore more valuable to a collector.
All three original liner retaining pins are intact and have most of the original paint on the ends. The interior of the helmet still has an original good M31 leather liner with all eight fingers, though the securing string is midding. The leather is relatively soft, with the expected wear from age, and one of the fingers is torn through at the tip. The side of the galvanized steel liner band is marked 64 n.A. / 57, indicating that this is a size 57 liner for a size 64 shell. The other side has the manufacturer marking and date, though it is not completely legible, though the 1943 date definitely is.
The helmet also has an original chin strap, however it is partly missing and deteriorated, as shown in the pictures.
Overall a very nice late-war M42 Heer Army Helmet, completely correct! 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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