Original German WWII Named DAK Afrikakorps Tropical Camouflage Single Decal M35 Helmet - Stamped ET62
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a fantastic all original example Model 1940 German WWII DAK Afrikakorps Single decal camo helmet with a National Eagle decal (over painted) on the left. This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains about 50% of the original tropical Afrika campaign Dunkelgelb (Dark Yellow) camouflage paint. The rest has worn to the original Feldgrau, or has worn through to the steel. This is a helmet that definitely saw service during the war. The National Colors decal is retained at about 60%, but was covered when the camo was added, so it is surrounded by Field Gray. It has some missing chips due to surface rust.
The left interior of the apron over the ear has a stamped manufacturer's code and size of ET62 indicating it was manufactured by Eisenhuttenwerk AG, in Thale, Harz in Germany. Size 62 is a smaller size shell, which can accommodate size 54-55 liners. It is also marked with lot number 284 on the underside of the rear skirt. In red paint over this it is named to Sowada, which a Polish, Slovak, Ukrainian or German surname, originating in Silesia or the Sudetenland.
All three original liner retaining pins are intact and have some of the original tan paint on the ends. The interior of the helmet still has an original M31 leather liner with all eight fingers, though the original tie string is missing. The leather is somewhat worn, though still mostly soft. The liner band is the correct early war aluminum, correct for a helmet of this vintage, and is marked 62 n.A. / 55, indicating that it is a size 55 for a size 62 shell. The other side has the manufacturer and date, part of which is faintly stamped:
Bln. Ch'burg 5.
This liner has an additional aluminum layer around the chin strap bales for reinforcement. Soon afterwards, the liners were changed to the stronger galvanized steel, which eliminated the need. The chinstrap is intact, however it is dry and somewhat stiff. It is maker marked on the end of the long strap, and looks to be dated 1941.
Overall this is an incredible complete Deutsches Afrikorps Single Decal M40 Helmet, named to a German Soldier! These are becoming harder and harder to find on the market. Sure to appreciate in value over the years!
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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