Product Description: This WWI Combat M16 Helmet is a very appealing example, with a “been there” look. The exterior shows age and wear, with a deep, attractive age patina. The paint has held up very nicely, with areas that show heavy combat use; the heavy patina gives this a fairly even, older, uncleaned look, with some various spots and marks. Inside, this helmet is complete with its original leather padded liner. The liner is the M16 style, with a leather band. The three leather liner segments are intact, as is the draw string, and the pads are present. The leather shows age and wear, with some small splits as well as some worn discoloration. Nearly all of the original factory applied WWI paint is present in the interior of the shell. The inside skirt is marked “Si62” indicating manufacture by the firm of Eisenhuette Silesia, Paruschowitz Oberschlesien, in a desirable large size 62. This World War 1 M17 Combat Helmet has a great look, and remains in 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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