Product Description: This early M40 SS Helmet is a top shelf and extremely desirable piece of headgear. It’s a Quist produced shell, in size 64. The exterior retains approximately 95 percent of the original, factory applied smooth Feldgrau paint. This paint finish was the early factory specification for M40 helmets, prior to the introduction of the matte textured paint. This paint shows light, even, honest wear, with scattered marks and some small chips to the dome. The SS runic decal is a correct Quist pattern, and rates about 95 percent intact, with some small chips and typical age toning. All three of the liner retaining split pins are original to the helmet, factory installed, having never been removed or replaced. Most of the paint has flaked off of the split pins, with some remaining, mostly on the edges. Inside, this early M40 SS Helmet retains its original factory installed liner system. The leather is complete, and still supple, with age toning and evidence of wear. A name is written in pen in the liner, presumably that of the original wartime owner. The bales on the liner band retain an original, full length chin strap. The shell of the helmet is stamped inside the skirt with the size and maker stamp “Q64” as well as a lot number that possibly reads “DN501.” Overall, this is a very nice example, in a much rarer early M40 smooth paint configuration. It has great visual appeal, and is in excellent plus condition.
Historical Description: When the German Army first marched into war in 1914, it went to the front lines wearing the traditional “Picklehaube” helmets. The war soon developed to necessitate the need for an improved headgear to protect the wearer. The German Army developed the M16 helmet in 1915 and began issuing it in mass quantity to its fighting troops in 1916. The M16 underwent changes to bring about the next model, the M18. Both the M16 and M18 saw use by the German Army during WW1, as well as the interwar years by the Reichswehr and Freikorps. In 1931, a new liner system was developed. The M16 and M18 helmets were in mass supply right up to the time the Nazi Party took control of the German government. During Adolf Hitler’s rearming of the German military in the early 1930’s, the M16 and M18 helmets saw extensive refitting with the newer liner system, fresh paint, and the addition of a centralized decal system for the newly formed Wehrmacht’s respective branches. Decals were generally placed on each side of the helmet, one side being the branch and the other the national colors shield or party shield. In 1935, the M35 helmet was introduced. This new design was lighter and more streamlined than the older style helmets and is what the world now recognizes as the iconic helmet of the German Military. M35 helmets can most easily be identified from the separate rivet ventholes and rolled edges. With the outbreak of war, some changes were made to bring in a new model, the M40. The changes made to this new model was the use of a more matte field grey finish and the vent holes were now integral to the helmets shell. In 1940, the national colors decals and party shields were ordered to be removed. It should be noted that many M35 helmets were brought up to date by repainting them with the matte field grey finish and/or other modifications if necessary. These refitted helmets are what collectors now term “reissue helmets”. The next model helmet to evolve was the M42. The model M42 has the same features of the M40 with the exception of the edges of the helmet not being rolled and remain flared. This was to speed up production and lower cost as the war dragged on and the German economy began changing to a total war economy. In 1943 all decals were ordered to be removed from combat helmets.
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