Product Description: This is a beautiful example of a M40 Single Decal Luftwaffe Helmet. The exterior of this classic wartime combat has a great look, with nearly all of the original factory applied field blue textured paint still present. It shows light, honest wear, with a moderate, even age patina to the surface. The shell shows only scattered, small, typical marks and scuffs. The paint on the liner retaining rivets did not adhere as well and shows some chipping which is often seen on these. The Luftwaffe flying eagle and swastika decal on this helmet is very well preserved, and rates an outstanding 99 percent intact, with some tiny scratches as well as typical crazing and patina from age. Inside, this M40 Single Decal Luftwaffe Helmet shows evident wear as well as some commonly seen age-related deterioration to the leather. The liner is all there, but has become fragile, with some flaking around the rim. A few of the tips of the liner “fingers” have broken loose but are still retained by the original drawstring, which is still tied with the original knot. The bales on the liner band retain pieces of the original chinstrap. The short end with wartime steel buckle appears to be complete, though dry and with cracks, but only a small part of the long side remains. This helmet is stamped inside the shell with the size and maker stamp “ET64” and the lot number “299.” The initial “H,” probably that of the wartime wearer, is painted in the skirt. This is an untouched helmet with great character and eye appeal. 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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