Original German WWII Named Army Heer M40 Single Decal Steel Helmet with Size 59 Liner - SE66
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice all original example of a German WWII M40 helmet, issued to the Heer (Army). Unlike most we receive, this one is named to a soldier on the liner. In these places multiple initials as well as a possible name is written, but we cannot read it. is written in black ink or pencil, which over the years has faded and almost blended into the aged leather liner.
This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains much of its original field gray paint but does show some chipping, scratches, and rust, typical of a helmet that was used in the field. However, it still retains more than 80% of the paint, with some dirt and staining. The left side of the helmet features a Heer eagle decal, which is retained about 40%, with damage from wear and use, as it did not adhere well to the paint or an attempt was made to remove the decal post war.
The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is batch number stamped 7730, and the interior, left side, apron has a stamped manufacturer's code and size, SE66. This indicates it was manufactured by Sächsische Emaillier und Stanzwerke A.G. of Lauter, Germany in size 66. This is a nice large size that can accommodate size 58cm and 59cm liners, or 7 1/4 - 7 3/8 US. Shells of this large size are harder to find, and more valuable to a collector.
All three liner retaining pins are intact, and still have most of the original paint. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner with all eight of its fingers intact. The galvanized steel liner band is marked 66 n.A / 59, indicating a size 59 liner for a 66 shell, and does not have the top adjustment string. The liner leather itself is also marked with size 59 in a circle. We checked the other side of the band, but were not able to see a maker or date due to oxidation and dust.
The liner is in good condition with signs of age, however the leather is still soft and pliable. It does have some dirt and surface dry rot, but it is minor. The chinstrap is completely missing.
Overall a very nice 100% genuine M40 Single Decal Heer Army helmet, named to a German soldier! M40 helmets of this quality are always 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.
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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