Product Description: This Helmet Chin Strap Steel is a great, all-original example of a wartime German chin strap. It is made of correct, rough side out, blackened leather. The leather shows age and wear, but remains supple, and is complete and full length, with all 13 holes still present. There is no discernible manufacture marking. This Helmet Chin Strap Steel is complete with all of its original hardware, with a closure buckle as well as two studs that would be used to fasten it to the bales of a helmet liner band. The buckle has some typical age patination to the steel but remains perfectly functional, with all of the original stitching still holding it firmly in place. This chin strap would display great on a worn M40 or M42 helmet, and is in excellent condition.
Historical Description: The German military introduced a new pattern of helmet liner in 1931 and with it, a new pattern of chin strap. The earliest chin straps used a roller buckle. By the mid-1930s, a new and simplified buckle was in use. These buckles, which were being installed on German chinstraps at the outbreak of WWII, were made of aluminum, and featured a stamped rectangular body and single prong. In 1940, production of aluminum helmet chin strap buckles ceased, and buckles began to be made of steel. The steel buckles were coated with gray or field gray paint, to prevent rust. Originally, many chin straps were unmarked. Starting in 1937, all manufacturers were required to mark their chin straps to ensure quality. Originally, these were commercial type manufacture markings and dates. Late in 1942, the Germans introduced a numeric code for factories, to conceal the locations where equipment was being produced. This “RB number” code system remained in use until the end of the war. The chin strap used on WWII German military helmets was removable, held in place by two studs that affixed the strap to two bales on the helmet liner. There was no hard and fast rule about what chin strap variation would be used with what helmet. Early helmets that were reissued during the war could be found with late chin straps. Decades after the war, many original helmets are found missing the chin straps; the loose straps, when they can be found, are desirable replacement parts.
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