Product Description: This is a great original late war chin strap. This would be perfect for completing an M42 combat helmet. This late war chin strap is textbook in all aspects, and is complete and full length, with all 13 holes. It’s made of leather that has been dyed black on the flesh side, and it is in outstanding condition, showing some age toning, but no real wear. It’s likely that this is an unissued piece. The chin strap buckle is gray-painted steel, as one would expect to see on a chin strap of this vintage. This late war chin strap is maker marked with an RB number “0/0494/00008,” and was probably made in 1944, although there is no date. It’s still supple and is complete with both of the correct steel studs that would be used to affix the strap to the bales on a helmet liner. Textbook original chin straps like this, in this mint condition, are hard to find.
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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