Original German WWII M42 Single Decal Army Heer Helmet with Size 56 Liner - ET64

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 use in service. The left side of the helmet features a very nice  Heer eagle decal. The decal is retained 90%, with some areas chipped out with the paint, however the silver color is still very vibrant. This is a very nice example of the M42 helmet, with great looking decal. It was lacquered at some point to preserve it, and it really looks great.

Above the left ear interior of the apron has a stamped manufacturer's code and size ET64 indicating it was manufactured by Eisenhuttenwerk AG, in Thale, Harz. Size 64 is a medium size shell, which can accommodate size 56-67 liners. The larger size makes these harder to find and more desirable to a collector. It is also marked with lot number 2534 on the underside of the rear skirt.

All three liner retaining pins are intact, with exterior paint retained to a varying degree. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner, which is in good condition, showing moderate to heavy use. All 8 fingers are intact, though the original top tie is unfortunately missing.. 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 56 faintly stamped on one of the fingers. The right side displays the full manufacture information, as well as a date:

Metall-Lederverarbeitung W.Z.
Bln. Ch'burg 5.

The chin strap is partly intact, with a few inches missing from the longer strap side. It is broken off at one of the buckle pin holes, so it probably snapped off. The leather is intact but shows wear and cracking. It has the correct late ware steel buckles, so it is most likely original to the helmet.

Overall an very nice M42 Single Decal Heer Army helmet, complete with a liner and partial chin strap! 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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