Product Description: This Single Decal Luftwaffe Paratrooper Helmet is an extremely desirable, completely untouched piece. Fallschirmjäger helmets of this quality have become extremely difficult to find. The exterior is nicely worn, with honest field wear and a “combat” look. The finish is nice early M40 specification smooth blue-gray paint, factory applied, and still mostly intact, with scattered small marks from use throughout. The single Luftwaffe flying eagle and swastika decal shows light toning and is about 85 to 90 percent intact. The liner retaining bolts show no marring and have never been turned. Inside, this helmet is complete with the original suspension system. The leather chin straps have steel hardware, and are still supple, and unbroken. The rubber pads are stiff, as is typical, and the leather liner is complete and supple, with some wear and discoloration from use. The leather liner is well marked with the size “55,” the helmet shell size “66” and the maker. It appears that a name has been painted on the aluminum liner band. The inside of the shell is correctly marked with the lot number “5071” as well as “ET66” indicating manufacture by Eisenhüttenwerke Thale. This Single Decal Luftwaffe Paratrooper Helmet has lovely character and very strong appeal, and is a very hard helmet to find on the market. 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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