Original German WWII USGI Captured & Decorated M42 Helmet with Relic Liner & Chinstrap - stamped hkp64
Original Item: One of a Kind. This is a very nice original example of a German Model 42 Steel helmet, captured and decorated by a USGI during the war. It looks to have been outfitted for Heer (Army) issue, and does not have any decals. However swas's were added on either side by the USGI for display purposes. We have looked at the insignia, and they were painted on quite some time ago, and we believe them to be WWII period.
This stamped sheet steel construction helmet retains about 85% of its original paint, with overall wear consistent with use in service. There are some areas where the paint was scuffed or scraped down to the steel, and this helmet also appears to have never had a decal applied. This is not uncommon with late war helmets, as sometimes there were no decals available, and the factories needed to make helmets as fast as they could.
The shell is stamped with hkp64 on the rear skirt above heat lot 4748, indicating that Sächsische Emaillier und Stanzwerke A.G. of Lauter, Germany manufactured it. Towards the end of the war, the SE marking was discontinued in favor of the three letter code hkp. Size 64 is a nice medium large size that can accommodate liners from 56cm to 57cm or US 7 to 7 1/8 . Size 64 shells are much harder to find and are therefore more valuable to a collector.
Two of the three liner retaining split pins are intact, with the third missing the top cap, and the two intact ones missing some paint. The interior of the helmet still has the original M31 leather liner with all 8 of the fingers present, however the leather is overall quite degraded due to age and wear. It is in delicate condition, and has shrunk and split open at the seam on the back. The late war issue galvanized steel liner band is marked on the left outer side with 64 n.A. / 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, though it is somewhat faint:
D. R. P.
The original chin strap is present, but delicate and stretched out from long time storage over the front brim of the helmet.
Overall a beautiful example of a service used M42, decorated and brought back by a USGI! Ready to display!
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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