Original German WWII Messerschmitt Factory Guard Converted Czech Vz32/M32 Helmet with ID Tag
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a rare Messerschmitt Factory Guard helmet that was converted from a Czech Vz32. The front bears an original painted Messerschmitt logo. Also included is an original Messerschmitt factory Identification tag.
Messerschmitt During World War Two:
During the war Messerschmitt became a major design supplier, their Bf 109 and Bf 110 forming the vast majority of fighter strength for the first half of the war. Several other designs were also ordered, including the enormous Me 321 Gigant transport glider, and its six-engined follow on, the Me 323. However, for the second half of the war, Messerschmitt turned almost entirely to jet-powered designs, producing the world's first operational jet fighter, the Me 262 Schwalbe ("Swallow"). They also produced the DFS-designed Me 163 Komet, the first rocket-powered design to enter service. Messerschmitt relied heavily on slave labour to produce much of the parts needed for these aircraft during the second half of World War II; these parts were assembled in an enormous underground tunnel system in Sankt Georgen an der Gusen, Austria. Slave labour was provided by inmates of the brutal KZ Gusen I and Gusen II camps, and by inmates from nearby Mauthausen concentration camp, all located near the St. Gorgen quarries. 40,000 inmates from Spain, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, France, Russia, Hungarian Jews and twenty other nationalities were murdered during the production of these aircraft at KZ Gusen. Messerschmitt officials maintained barracks at the concentration camp to oversee the work being done by the inmates. Messerschmitt, and its executive Willy Messerschmitt also occupied the famed Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic, designed by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich in the 1920s; the Messerschmitt aircraft factory office and the Gestapo occupied the property during the war.
Messerschmitt had its share of poor designs as well; the Me 210, designed as a follow-on to the 110, was an aerodynamic disaster that almost led to the forced dissolution of the company. The design problems were eventually addressed in the Me 410 Hornisse, but only small numbers were built before all attention turned to the 262. Later in the war, in competition with the Junkers Ju 390 and the unbuilt, February 1943-initiated Heinkel He 277, Messerschmitt also worked on a heavy Amerika Bomber design, the Me 264, which flew in prototype form — with three prototype airframes built, the first of which flew in December 1942 — but was too late to see combat.
This is a very rare Pre-WWII Czechoslovakian Vz32 Steel helmet, sometimes known as the M32, M34, Vz32/34, and other designations. The Vz32 was the last of many Czech helmet designs, and were issued in the 1930's and saw service right through to the German Invasion. These helmets would be continued to be worn well after with the German Luftschutz and the German Allied Slovak Army on the Eastern Front. After the war these helmets would be adopted by the Civil Defense and Fire Brigade units.
The Vz32 shell is "egg-shell" shaped, unlike many helmets of the day, which had pronounced contouring, front brims, etc. It has a unique 5 pad liner system, which utilizes 5 discrete pads that are riveted to the shell, along with a standard heavy leather split chinstrap attached on bales that are riveted directly to the shell.
This helmet is still in the original Pre-War configuration, with olive paint and the original liner. It has ink stamp markings on part of the liner, and also has markings on the inside of the shell: S-D-H, which denotes manufacture by "Sandrik in Dolné Hámre" which is in Slovakia. Below that is the insignia of a Lion and is the acceptance stamp of the Army. The two digit number to the right is the date of issue, in this case 1936.
Most Vz32 helmets were refurbished post war, making this a rare find. The exterior shell retains almost all of the original paint, with a nice patina of age. The chin strap and liner are also in very good condition, with just a bit of staining from age on both. The leather is a bit dry after years of storage.
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