German-Helmets.com  - The Online Reference Guide to World War II German Helmets 1933-1945

    Collector Topics:  Factory Production

Photo:  M1918 Ear Cut-Out Helmets are issued to new recruits.

Helmet Production

The study of World War II German helmets is not complete without examining how steel helmets were manufactured and assembled.  Surprisingly, the process of helmet production has often been left relatively un-addressed in prior works focusing on World War II German helmets.  The process as a whole is quite interesting as it entails the shaping and forming of steel into one of the best known military items in the world.

At the time the new M1935 helmet was placed into production, helmet manufacturing was like that used during World War I.  Much of the knowledge gained during the First World War was applied in the production techniques of those helmets manufactured during the Second World War.  Helmets were constructed through a complex series of stamping stages.  Between each stage a helmet was placed in an oven to temper the steel after it had been shaped or bent by large hand operated mechanical presses.

When the shell was completed, it was then painted by hand operated pneumatic spray guns.  Large racks of helmets were then placed in ovens to bake the paint and harden it to the steel surface.  After the helmet shells were completed, they were hand assembled using the liner components supplied to the factory by subcontractors.  If decals were used, they were also placed on the helmet by hand following the final assembly.  In some cases, helmet decals were also placed on semi-dry painted shells prior to their insertion into one of the baking ovens.

With the reorganization of the German war industry, Albert Speer instituted widespread improvements in wartime manufacturing.  As a result, the process of manufacturing the steel helmet was significantly improved around 1942.  This resulted in hot stamping techniques that pressed metal into the shape of the helmet.  The older mechanically operated presses were replaced with automatic shell stamping machines that bent the metal into shape. 

Every effort was placed on mass production techniques where previously slower methods had been used.  Laborers consisted of skilled and unskilled German workers both men and women.  In some cases slave labor was used in the production of steel helmets as well as workers who were German civilians generally living in the town or city where the manufacturing plant was located. 

When helmets were finally complete, they were stacked and crated for shipment to military distribution centers all over Germany and occupied Europe.  Like most military armaments, they traveled to their point of issue on locomotives and trucks.  Once they arrived, they were often restacked by military personnel in supply buildings until they were issued.

Overview

Each section of German-Helmets.com is divided into separate Information Tracks that outline important details, facts, and historical notes pertaining to steel helmets used by the German Armed Forces during World War II.  

Information Tracks are organized by subject matter and their content is directly related to the service arm or organization to which each topic is related.  Topic areas that bridge one subject matter to another are cross linked within each Information Track.

This Information Track provides historical facts pertaining to helmet production 1935-1945.  Individual links related to this subject are outlined below.

    Production Main Topics

Construction Stages

Factory Locations and Photos

Helmet Shell Markings

Helmet Shell Sizing

Production Statistics

    Production Movie 

Click on the image to view the movie.

 
    Collector Topics

Chinstraps

Camouflage

Decals

Dome Stamps

Factory Production

Foreign Use

Helmet History

Liner Systems

Paint

Fakes and Reproductions

Rare and Unusual

Appraisals

German-Helmets.com  - The Online Reference Guide to World War II German Helmets 1933-1945

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