Original German WWII M42 Service Worn Single Decal Army Heer Helmet with 56cm Liner - hkp64

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice all original service worn example of a German Model 42 Steel helmet, as issued to the Wehrmacht Heer (army). This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains 75% of its original paint, with scratches and chips consistent with long use in service. The left side of the helmet features a very nice Heer eagle decal. The decal is retained about 50%, with with significant wear. It looks like this helmet was field repainted, and then the paint cleaned off the decal, which resulted in the worn look. This is a very nice example of the M42 helmet, with great looking decal, and a great look!

The shell is stamped with hkp 64 on the rear skirt above heat lot 2462indicating 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 liner retaining pins are intact, with the exterior paint retained very well, though this may be from the repaint. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner, which is in very good condition. The leather is a nice light brown color, and all fingers are fully intact, with an original top tie still attached. There is some deterioration around the rim, which is common. The late war issue galvanized steel liner band is marked on the left outer side with 64 nA / 56, indicating that the liner is a size 56, intended for a 64 shell. There is also a faint 56 in a circle stamped on one of the fingers. The right side does have a manufacturer stamp, but it is only partly clear, with D.R.P / 1940 visible. We believe that this helmet was restored in the field during the war, so an earlier available liner was installed.

The chin strap is present and in good condition, with the expected wear and deterioration from age. The finish is somewhat cracked, and one of the end securing studs has been replaced with a leather tie. It has an aluminum buckle, so it may have been from an earlier helmet.

Overall an very nice Service Worn M42 Single Decal Heer Army helmet, with loads of patina! 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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