Product Description: This M40 SD Heer Helmet is a nice example of this iconic German Army combat helmet. The exterior is beautiful, and retains very nearly all of the original, wartime textured field gray painted finish, with minor scratches and marks from handling and wear. The Heer decal is very well preserved, and is about 98 percent intact. Nearly all of the metallic finish of the decal is still present, with some of it being obscured by uncleaned old dirt and patina. Inside, this M40 SD Heer helmet is complete with its original liner. The liner has a correct wartime steel band, and is all there, though it has become fragile; there is flaking around the edge, and two of the fingers are torn, though still held in place with the original drawstring. There is a 12-digit number inked on the liner, and the same number has been written on the inside skirt of the helmet, possibly by a GI who took this as a souvenir. Remnants of the original chinstrap remain on both liner bales. The interior of this attractive helmet retains virtually all of the original paint, and the skirt is stamped with the lot number 515, as well as “ET64” indicating manufacture by Eisen und Hüttenwerke AG in Thale/Harz, in a size 64. This helmet displays very well, and is in a strong excellent 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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