The first helmet covers introduced to the
German armed forces were those given in 1937 to the men of the
Deutschland Regiment of the recently formed
SS-Verfügungstruppe. On 3 February 1937 a patent was issued
to none other than Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler for the production
of a reversible cloth cover with both spring and fall pattern
The first cloth covers were developed by
SS Sturmbahnnführer W. Brandt who was also a Ph.D. in Engineering.
The design was later enhanced by Joahnn Georg Otto Schick of Munich
who jointly applied with Himmler to patent the design. Of
interest is the fact that Himmler wanted to own the patent to insure
that the German Army could not duplicate the design. In addition
he wanted to ensure that he would become wealthy from the mass
production of helmet covers for his growing army of SS men. The
helmet cover was produced in both "oak" and "blurred edge" camouflage
cloth of the type only produced for the Waffen-SS.
The first helmet cover pattern included
four "rocker clips" that ensured that the cloth cover would remain
attached to the helmet shell. These four clips were positioned
on the front, back, and sides of the cloth cover. This design
was changed during actual production to include only three clips.
The forth clip was removed from the design and was replaced by a slip
or pocket for the metal visor of the helmet to slide into. The
metal rocker clips were produced in both steel and aluminum1.
First pattern helmet covers did not
include loops for attaching foliage. However in 1942 all helmet covers
were manufactured to include these cloth attachments on the front,
sides, and rear. Of interest is the fact that many wartime
photographs taken after 1942 depict the Waffen-SS with a larger
proportion of "first pattern" cloth helmet covers as opposed to those
with cloth loops described as "second pattern" covers.
Waffen-SS helmet covers are considered rare.
Almost all Waffen-SS helmet covers encountered today are reproductions both
new and old. The first reproduction Waffen-SS helmet covers
began to enter the collector market in the 1970's. High quality
reproductions are today produced from original Waffen-SS camouflage material
that is cut from large sheets of damaged Waffen-SS zeltbahn cloth. Once sewn into helmet covers, these
are often passed on to collectors as authentic and at very high
prices. The construction of
covers is of higher quality than most modern
reproductions. Of importance is the fact that modern fakes
fail to reproduce the metal rocker clip in the proper way rendering
the cover identifiable as a post-war fabrication.