Original German WWII Service Worn M42 Single Decal Army Heer Helmet with 55cm Liner - hkp62

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice all original service worn example of a German Model 42 Steel helmet, as issued to the Wehrmacht Heer (army). This stamped sheet steel construction helmet has a great service worn look to the feldgrau (field gray) paint on the exterior, and looks like it may have had snow camouflage applied at one time. When winter was over, the white paint was removed, which wore away some of the original paint and parts of the decal, giving this helmet a patina that is impossible to duplicate! The decal is only retained at about 40%, with areas completely missing, but it is undoubtedly a Heer Army silver eagle decal.

The shell is stamped with hkp62 on the rear skirt above heat lot 5430, indicating that Sächsische Emaillier und Stanzwerke A.G. of Lauter, Germany manufactured it in size 62. Towards the end of the war, the SE marking was discontinued in favor of the three letter code hkp. Size 62 is a nice smaller size that can accommodate liners from 54cm to 55cm or US 6 3/4 to 6 7/8.

All three liner retaining pins are intact, with the original paint retained to a varying degree. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner present, which is made from the later war thicker "pig skin" style leather. All 8 "fingers" are still present and supple, with an intact top tie. The leather is dark from wear, and there is a split along the rim on the front left side. The late war issue galvanized steel liner band is marked on the left outer side with 62 nA / 55, indicating that the liner is a size 55, intended for a 62 shell. The right side displays manufacturing information, as well as a date, which is partly clear. What we can read looks to be:

RBNr. 0/0471/0046

The attached chin strap has the correct steel hardware, which shows oxidation from exposure and use. The leather is still very nice, with little wear and no splitting we can see. It is marked on the long end with RB Nr. 0/0890/0204.

Overall an very nice service worn M42 Single Decal Heer Army helmet with an interesting history and a great patina! M42 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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