Original German WWII USGI Decorated Army Heer M35 Double Decal Helmet with Partial Liner - Stamped Q66
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very interesting all original example of a German WWII "Double Decal" M35 helmet, as issued to the Heer (Army), which was captured and decorated by a USGI during the war. It looks like the liner was removed, and then it was overpainted completely with black, and the word FRANCE painted on the front. It looks like it then saw further use, as the black paint shows use and a lot of wear through consistent with service.
At some point after that, it looks like a collector removed some of the black paint to expose the decals underneath, though this also wore away the decals themselves. The helmet looks to have originally been the lighter Apfel-grün (apple green) color, and had the "Double Decals" of the Heer Eagle and National colors.The use of the second decal was discontinued in 1940, and in 1943 it was ordered that helmets with the national colors have them removed, so finding a helmet that still had both present is a real treat! This helmet definitely has lots of history, and definitely potential for further research.
The reverse, interior, neck guard apron is serial number stamped 20777 and above this is the faint stamped manufacturer's code and size, Q66 indicating that it was manufactured by F.W. Quist G.m.b.H. in the German city of Esslingen. Size 66 is a nice larger size that can accommodate liners from 58cm to 59cm or US 7 1/4 to 7 5/8. Size 66 shells are harder to find and are therefore more valuable to a collector.
All three liner retaining pins are intact, with exterior paint very well retained. The helmet still has its correct M31 liner installed, however the leather has split over at least 50% of the band, with the rest in delicate condition. It still retains the top tie string and all 8 fingers, but is definitely not serviceable. The liner band is aluminum, with square aluminum chin strap loops attached to reinforced sides. This is the last pattern before the move to galvanized steel bands. The left exterior of the liner band is marked 66 n.A / 58, indicating that it is a size 56 liner for a size 64 shell. It is also maker marked and dated on the other side:
SCHUBERTH - WERK K.-G.
There is no chin strap present unfortunately, probably removed long ago.
Overall a very nice 100% genuine M35 Heer Double Decal Helmet, repainted and decorated by a USGI. This is definitely a helmet with loads of history and a fantastic impossible to duplicate patina! It looks great, and all components are correct! 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.
More than 1 million M1935 helmets were manufactured in the first two years after its introduction, and millions more were produced until 1940 when the basic design and production methods were changed.
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