Original German WWII Named Service Used M40 Single Decal Army Heer Helmet with 58cm Liner - NS66
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice all original example of a Named German Model 40 Steel helmet, as issued to the Wehrmacht Heer (army). It shows lovely period service wear in the form of chipped paint and oxidation on the crown of the helmet. It most likely saw service for a long period in a damp environment. This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains 50% of its original lightly textured "panzergrau" paint. The left side of the helmet features a worn Heer eagle decal, which is retained about 40%. There are areas of rust speckling on many areas of shell, inside and out. This is a very nice example of the M40 helmet, with a great service worn look!
The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is serial number stamped, DN22 and the interior, left side, apron has a stamped manufacturer's code and size, NS66 indicating that Vereinigte Deutsche Nikelwerke, of Schwerte, Germany manufactured it in size 66. Size 66 is a nice large size that can accommodate liners from 58cm to 59cm or US 7 1/4 to 7 3/8. Size 66 shells are harder to find and are therefore more valuable to a collector.
The rear skirt of the helmet also has the name Uffz. Stärk written with very old white paint, the name of the soldier it was issued to. We examined the painted name very closely, and we believe it to be genuine. This would be the abbreviation for "Unteroffizier Stärk", the lowest NCO rank in the German Army, equivalent to a U.S. Sergeant.
All three original liner retaining pins are present with most of the original paint still intact. The interior of the helmet still has an original M31 leather liner with all eight fingers still present, showing wear and staining from service. The original top tie is present, however it has pulled through the ends of the fingers on the left side of the liner. The seam at the rear of the leather has also split open, with some attempts made to repair it. The mid war issue galvanized steel liner band is marked on the left outer side with 66 n.A. / 58, indicating that the liner band is a size 58, intended for a 66 shell, and the leather itself is stamped 58 in a circle. The right side displays the full manufacture information, as well as a date:
D. R. P.
The chinstrap is unfortunately completely missing.
Overall a very nice Named Service Worn M40 Single Decal Heer Army helmet, with loads of patina! M40 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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