Original German WWII M42 Army Heer Single Decal Camouflage Helmet with Liner & Chinstrap - hkp66

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is an incredible original example of a late war issue German Model 42 Steel helmet, with a single decal and great "Fall Pattern" camouflage paint job. It is a mixture of mostly reds and browns, with some green and beige mixed in. It still retains most of the paint on the exterior, though there is some wear through to the original field gray paint. The interior was not repainted, so it is all field gray, with some loss from oxidation. There is a crack on the top left side of the helmet, but this appears to be a stress crack, as the helmets are stamped from flat steel. Even with the heat treatment they still have a lot of stress stored inside, and do crack.

The left side of the helmet still features an excellent Heer eagle decal, which is mostly complete, with some areas flaked off. It was painted over, but paint has worn, or was not applied heavily, as it still can clearly be seen.

The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is lot number stamped, 13794 and the interior, left side, apron has a faintly stamped manufacturer's code and size, hkp66 indicating that Sächsische Emaillier und Stanzwerke A.G. of Lauter, in Saxony, Germany manufactured it in size 66. 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 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 camouflage paint on the ends. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner with all eight fingers, with the original securing string. The leather is mostly soft and supple, though it has darkened over the years. 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. The right side displays the full manufacture information, as well as a date:

B. & C.

This liner was made by Biedermann & Czarnikow, a German company who moved operations to Łódź in occupied Poland to take advantage of the slave labor in the ghetto located there. NSDAP authorities renamed Łódź to Litzmannstadt in honor of the German General Karl Litzmann who had captured the city in the previous World War.

The helmet also has a complete original chin strap, which is in very good condition for its age. There is some discoloration, but it is fully intact, and supple, without any cracking or splits.

Overall a great large size M42 Single Decal Heer Army helmet with a great camouflage paint job! M42 helmets of this quality and size are nearly impossible 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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