Original German WWII M42 Single Decal Army Heer Helmet with KIA Stained Liner - ET66
Original Item: Only One Available. This is an excellent all original example of a German Model 42 Steel helmet, with a heavily stained liner and interior, that leads us to believe the soldier who wore it was killed in action. This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains 80% of its original Feldgrau (Field Gray) paint. The left side of the helmet features a Heer eagle decal. The decal is retained 80%, with some areas chipped out with the paint. This is a very nice example of the M42 helmet, in a very desirable large size.
All three original liner retaining pins are intact and have a good amount of their original paint on the exterior. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner with all eight of its fingers, though it is degraded and stained, as is the chin strap. The inside bowl of the helmet also has significant discoloration. This pattern of degradation is typical when the leather is exposed to blood, such as seen with helmets on soldiers who were KIA or suffered significant head wounds. We unfortunately have no way of verifying how the staining occurred. The liner band is stamped 66 nA / 59 over the left ear, indicating that it is a size 59 liner.
Above the left ear interior of the apron has a faintly stamped manufacturer's code and size [E]T66 indicating it was manufactured by Eisenhuttenwerk AG, Thale Harz. This is a large size 66, which can accommodate liners from (liner size 58 - 59, US 7 1/4 - US 7 3/8 ). It is also marked with lot number 1921 on the underside of the rear skirt.
Overall a very nice large size 66 M42 Single Decal Heer Army helmet, with a battle stained liner! 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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