Product Description: This M35 Double Decal Luftwaffe Snake Leg Helmet is a desirable, top-shelf helmet, completely untouched, and with the unique character that comes from honest wear. This helmet is a WWII time capsule, just as it was brought back and later pulled from a charity shop in California. The exterior paint is a typical prewar factory application, with no texture, and is almost completely intact, with scattered marks from wear that gives this helmet an appealing “combat” look. Both decals are present and very nice, about 85 to 90 percent intact on both sides. The desirable early Luftwaffe “snake leg” flying eagle and swastika emblem shows scratches and light age toning. The tricolor shield also shows toning, with a couple of bigger scratches. Inside, this helmet shows wear that nicely matches the exterior. There is some slight corrosion around the inside edge. The liner is complete, and is a correct prewar type with the early unreinforced aluminum outer band. The leather is intact and complete, and very well preserved, with only slight darkening from age and use, and expected wear in the forehead area. There is no drawstring, and only a small piece of the chin strap remains. The inside of the skirt is stamped with the lot number “2694” as well as “ET66” indicating manufacture by Eisenhüttenwerk Thale, in size 66. This rare Luftwaffe Snake Leg Helmet is an outstanding example of this sought-after early type. The condition rates as excellent.
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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