Original German WWII Named Army Heer M40 Chicken Wire Textured Paint Steel Helmet with 59cm Liner - Q66

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice all original example of a German WWII M40 helmet, issued to the Heer (Army), with a lovely original Chicken Wire Cover. The wire was used to easily attach foliage and other camouflage items from the area, and could easily be redecorated for a new season. This is the thinner style of wire used, and we have had several experts examine the wire and confirm that it is the correct type of wire used during WWII. Unfortunately, as with all "chicken wire" helmets, it is virtually impossible to verify when exactly it was added to the helmet. However with the rust and patination on the wire as well as the helmet, we are fairly certain it was added during wartime.

This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains much of its original textured feldgrau (field gray) paint but does show some chipping, scratches, and rust, typical of a helmet that was used in the field. You can see how the chicken wire has worn the paint itself, showing that the wire has been on the helmet for a long period of use.

The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is serial number stamped S3426 and above this is the faint stamped manufacturer's code and size, Q66 indicating that it was manufactured by F.W. Quist G.m.b.H. in the German city of Esslingen. Size 66 is a nice larger size that can accommodate liners from 58cm to 59cm or US 7 1/4 to 7 5/8. Size 66 shells are harder to find and are therefore more valuable to a collector. Quist is unique among the WWII makers in that they never really switched to the simplified M42 pattern. They did make some M42s, but continued to make the M40 until the end of the war. They also did move their maker code and size to the rear of the helmet heat lots with S followed by 4 numbers, and some beginning with T as well.

The helmet has the German surname Schmidt in white paint over this area, which unfortunately makes the stamped helmet markings difficult to read, as well as to photograph. We have closely examined the area with a 16X magnifier, and are confident of our reading.

All three liner split pins are still intact, and retain almost all of their paint, which matches the color and texture of the shell perfectly. The helmet still has its correct M31 liner with all of the 8 fingers present, however it definitely shows wear and damage from use. The leather is worn and split around the rim in areas, and the fingers show cracking and small tears. The top securing string is missing, and the leather is torn at the rear seam as well. The left exterior of the galvanized steel liner band is marked 66 n. A. / 59, indicating that it is a size 59 liner for a size 66 shell. The right side has the full maker information clearly stamped:

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

This indicates production by the metal and leather working company Werner Zahn, based in Berlin - Charlottenburg, in the year 1943, which fits right into the late war period. The buckle side of the chin strap is intact but worn, and the other portion is completely missing.

Overall a very nice 100% genuine M40 Heer Army helmet with original chicken wire! M40 helmets of this quality are always the hard 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.

More than 1 million M1935 helmets were manufactured in the first two years after its introduction, and millions more were produced until 1940 when the basic design and production methods were changed, replacing the multi-piece riveted vent with one stamped directly into the steel. Later, in 1942 the rolled steel rim was removed from the pattern to further expedite production.

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