Original German WWII Reissued M18 Single Decal Army Heer Helmet with 57cm Liner - "Bell" L64
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice all original example of an Imperial German Model 18 Steel helmet, which was refurbished and reissued to the Wehrmacht Heer (army) during WWII. This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains 60% of its original "panzergrau" paint, and shows some real wear from long service. The left side of the helmet features a very nice Heer eagle decal. The decal is retained about 80%, with some areas chipped out due to the texture of the paint, however the silver color is still very vibrant. This is really a very nice example of a reissued helmet, which we do not see often at all.
Above the left ear interior of the apron of the shell has a stamped manufacturer's code and size “Bell” L. 64, also called the rattle logo, which indicates manufacture by R. Lindenberg A.G. of Remscheid-Hasten, who produced shells in only size 64 during WWI. Size 64 is a medium size shell, which can accommodate size 56-67 liners. The larger size makes these harder to find and more desirable to a collector. We looked for the rolling mill mark on the inside of the helmet, however paint and oxidation has obscured it. The helmet still retains both of the extended ventilation side lugs, which are the correct "stepped" version for size 64 shells. This would ensure proper installation of a Stirnpanzer brow plate regardless of shell size
All three liner retaining pins are intact, though the paint has mostly worn away. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner, which shows moderate to heavy wear. All 8 of the leather "fingers" are present, with an intact original top tie. The early war issue aluminum liner band is marked on the left outer side with 64 nA / 57, indicating that the liner is a size 57, intended for a 64 shell. The right side displays the full manufacture information, as well as a date:
B. & C.
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 present, and has the correct aluminum buckles and studs, with a 1939 date on the longer end. It shows light to moderate wear, so it may be an arsenal replacement.
Overall a very nice WWII Reissued M18 Single Decal Heer Army helmet, with loads of patina! German helmets of this quality and history 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, in the spring of 1916. These first modern M16 helmets evolved into the M18 helmets by the end of WWI. At the end of WWI it is estimated that Germany had produced about 8,500,000 steel helmets. As a result of the restrictions placed on the German’s by the Treaty of Versailles, which dictated a standing army of only 100,000 personnel, there was an abundant surplus of these helmets, and though they saw widespread use by Freikorps personnel, there was still a stockpile controlled by the Reichswehr.
These excess helmets underwent minor modifications in 1923 with the addition of provincial identifying shield decals and in 1931 with the development of a new chinstrap and liner system. Although helmet development was ongoing when AH came to power in 1933, the M16 and M18 helmets were still the main headgear worn by the Reichswehr. The helmets remained the same until March 1933 when the provincial shields were discontinued in favour of the national tri-color shield. In 1934 the national eagle shield was introduced, and both the tri-color and eagle shields were applied to the helmets. After the development of the new M35 helmet, the WWI helmets were still issued to second line and training troops well into WWII. The Austrian M16 was almost identical to the German version with the positioning of the chinstrap liner rivets being the most readily identifiable difference.
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