Original WWII Hungarian M38 Steel Helmet with Finnish SS Totenkopf
Original Item: In another military antiques coup, IMA has just acquired the last of all the known WWII helmet stocks from the government of Finland. These helmets are 100% genuine WW2 issue Hungarian M38.
While the helmets are totally genuine the Painted Totenkopf (skull & Bones) has been newly replicated. Be sure to see the period photograph of Finnish SS soldiers with the Totenkopf painted on their helmets.
History of the Finnish SS-
The Finnisches Freiwilligen-Bataillon der Waffen-SS was a Finnish volunteer combat battalion of the German Waffen-SS. It saw action on the Eastern Front during World War II.
Formed in 1941 as SS Freiwilligen-Battalion Nordost, the battalion was made up of 1,200 Finnish volunteers who had signed to fight against the Soviet Union for two years. While many Finns were already serving with the SS-Division Wiking, the battalion differed in that it was staffed with Finnish officers and NCOs (Wiking being commanded by Germans).
The mathematician Rolf Nevanlinna was chairman of the Committee for the Finnish Volunteer Battalion of the Waffen-SS.
After initial training in Vienna the battalion was transferred to Stralsund in June 1941 and at the beginning of August to the infantry barracks at Gross-Born, Pomerania, for more training and where it was attached to SS Division Wiking.
The battalion was sent to the Eastern front in January 1942 and took part on battles along the Mius River and later in the Caucasus campaign of 1942, forming the vanguard of the furthest south made by the Germans during the campaign, reaching the Grozny oil fields before finally being pushed back by the Soviets.
In May 1943 the battalion was transferred away from the front, as the two years was at an end, and was disbanded in July 1943. Those members of the battalion who wanted to stay in Waffen-SS joined SS Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier Division Nordland or SS-Standarte Kurt Eggers.
The unit lost 255 men killed in action, 686 wounded and 14 missing during its service.
The battalion was praised by many Waffen-SS commanders, even Heinrich Himmler, for its combat performance. Himmler said "Where a Finnish SS-man stood, enemy was always defeated." Moreover, neither the unit nor any of its members were ever accused of any war crimes.
In world war two Hungary was an ally of Germany. The Germans allowed and assisted the Hungarians in copying their design of the M35 steel helmet. Therefore, the WWII produced M38 Hungarian steel helmet is nearly identical to the German WWII M35. Both have the same shape, riveted ventilation holes, and the classic rolled edge. The minor differences between the M38 helmet and the German M35 was the liner system, liner pin position, as well as the addition of a small horizontal rectangular carrying hook above the back brim of the Hungarian helmet used to attach the helmet to a backpack when on the move.
The Model 1938 Hungarian helmet was one of the most common types used by the Finnish Army during the Continuation War of 1941-44. The Finns originally wanted to acquire the German M35 during the Winter War of 1939-40 to supplement their old stock of German WWI M17 & M18 helmets however, the German government refused the order and sent it to the Hungarians instead. Apparently this was done for political reasons as the Germans were technically still "allied" to the Soviets (who the Finns were fighting) during the Winter War of 1939-40. Though the order was placed in December 1939, the first helmet wasn't shipped until after the end of the Winter War in March 1940, which is why they were used extensively during the Continuation War of 1941-44.
Styles and colors (Field Grey, Field Green) may vary slightly so please see photos for variation examples. Each helmet is offered in good to very good condition, but will show storage wear, minor paint chips and scratches, and occasionally a small ding but all are free of major dents or imperfections. After all, these are real WWII manufactured and issued military helmets that were used by actual soldiers in the defense of their country. Additionally the Finnish Army used some of these helmets from WWII up until the early 1970s. Lead time on these helmets is variable, as they are all hand-painted, and during times of peak demand may take over a week to ship.
The companies that manufactured the M38 were Mavag of Budapest, Weiss of Csepel, and Gyori Vaggon-es Gepgyar. We believe that all these shells have maker and shell size markings stamped to the inside of the brim. However, because these helmets have been painted and repainted, in some cases, multiple times, it is impossible for us to see if each one is marked without using paint stripper or a wire wheel. So, if you absolutely must have a visible marking then please request it by choosing the special hand select option and accept that we will have to remove the paint in order to do so, which may effect the aesthetic appeal of the helmet.
The leather liners and chinstraps are a mix, most were made in Finland for the Finnish army after WWII. Some may have the original Hungarian made leather liner, however these are extremely rare and often in poor condition, so are unable to accept any requests for these. Liners also vary in form from a Finnish M55 style to a German M35 style to a WWI style three sided type.
Sizing- we offer a range of sizes, but we sell these helmets based on the interior liner size, not shell size. However, a general rule of thumb is; size 55/56cm liners are usually inside size 62 shells, size 57/58cm liners are usually inside size 64/66 shells, and size 59cm and above liners are 66/68 shells. We cannot honor requests for specific shell sizes; we only honor requests for liner size.
This is a rare chance to own a genuine WWII M38 Hungarian made German type M35 WWII helmet at far less than half the price of a German manufactured wartime one.
History of the German & Finnish Alliance-
In 1938 Finland became very concerned with Stalin's Soviet expansionism and turned to Great Britain and France for support. Both Countries were under supplied themselves so Finland, perhaps reluctantly turned to Nazi Germany for aid. Hitler was swift to assist supplying great quantities of materiel including thousands of German Battle Helmets.
The Russians invaded Finland in 1939 driving deep into the country. The Finns resisted with amazing tenacity that has been the subject of legend and the wonderful WW2 Movie "THE WINTER WAR" (offered by IMA). The Russians paid a very heavy price and sued for peace in early 1940 keeping the invaded areas of Finland. Finland totally exhausted agreed with great regret.
In the summer of 1941 Hitler’s Nazi War Machine invaded the Soviet Union driving everything before them. Finland whom had received so much help from Germany then rose up and drove the Soviet presence out of Finland. However Finland would not "invade" the Soviet Union, they declared themselves not to be aggressors.
It is true however that the Germans recruited great numbers of Finnish "Volunteers" for their "SS UNITS" that did invade Mother Russia but that was true of all the overrun European Countries and even some others, still independent including apparently England and the United States, although these number were said to be very low.
At the close of WW2 with Germany defeated Finland was highly penalized by the Soviet Union, again gave up the lost territory of 1939/40 but did manage to retain it's independence unlike so much of Eastern Europe.
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