Manufacturer: Eisenhüttenwerke, Thule
Lot Number: 4898
Product Description: This is a fantastic example of an extremely desirable M40 white wash camouflage helmet. Helmets with white winter camouflage, which are very common in wartime winter combat photos, are extremely rare to find today. This M40 white wash camouflage helmet helmet started life as a standard single decal Heer M40, with a factory coat of textured field gray paint. During WWII, the exterior of the helmet was coated with a white wash for camouflage in snowy terrain. The white wash was a chalky, lime based, white powder, mixed with water. It was intended that this white finish could be removable in the spring. This helmet retains very obvious remnants of this original wartime camouflage finish. Between the original factory paint and the wartime applied white wash, the exterior of the helmet retains more than 95 percent of the original finish. The single Heer decal on this helmet is beautiful and also about 95 percent intact, with some typical age toning. The heads of the split pins used to affix the liner have a smooth paint that did not retain the white camouflage finish. Inside, the helmet is size and manufacturer stamped “ET64” and has the lot number “4 4898.” The interior skirt and dome retain nearly all of the original field gray paint. The liner is complete, with some age toning and a couple of minor abrasions. The original draw string is still present in the liner. This is a top shelf M40 white wash camouflage helmet, loaded with character, that makes for an extremely impressive display.
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 eadges. 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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