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    Quick Helps:  World War II Combat Helmet Types

Photo:  M1942 Camouflage Combat Police Helmet.

Combat Helmet Models

Many people seeking information on German helmets are not familiar with the variety of combat helmet shells that were manufactured during World War II.  Principally speaking, there were only three helmet combat styles1 (or models) manufactured from 1935 through 1945.  While World War I helmets were used during the transition years prior to the advent of the Second World War, Germany only produced three helmet models generally considered a direct result of the growth of the German Armed Forces (Deutsche Wehrmacht).

The M1935 Helmet:  The M1935 helmet was first prototyped in 1934 with final approval for its use being granted by the Supreme Commander of the Army on 25 June 1935.  Compared to a World War I German helmet, the M1935 was more compact, lighter in weight, and more comfortable to wear.  The helmet featured air vents made of separately inserted hollow steel rivets.  The edge of the helmet was turned under or "rolled" on the undersides.  The shells were distinctly more oval in shape from front to back when compared to the M1940 helmet.

The M1940 Helmet:  The M1940 helmet was produced out of improved manganese-silicon steel through a process of hot stamping the metal.  Like the M1935, the edges of the helmet were rolled under creating a smooth edge around the circumference of the helmet.  The primary difference between the M1940 and the M1935 is in the shape of the air vents.  The air vents on the M1940 helmet were stamped directly into the steel.

The M1942 Helmet:  The modification to the wartime helmet took place on 6 July 1942.  As part of an overall restructuring of the industrial assembly of wartime material, the steel helmet's edges were no longer required to be rolled under.  This produced a sharp edge all around the helmet including a more pronounced overall shape.  The M1942 remained identical to the M1940 helmet save for this feature.  This helmet is often referred to as the M1943 within some collecting circles located within the United Kingdom.


Notes:

1 A number of collectors maintain that there is a fourth version of the World War II German combat helmet that was produced very late in the war.  Collectors of this mindset have designated this helmet the M1945.  The M1945 is identical to the M1942 save for the fact that it has no air vents whatsoever.  All examples of this helmet have been positively identified as wartime shells marked by the firm of Eisenhüttenwerke in Thale.  All of the shells appear to be size 66cm.  In theory, such a helmet could exist, however close examination of several helmets indicated that they were postwar repainted shells that were never completed by the factory.  These shells were modified in many different ways including the application of both rare and common decal insignia, camouflage, and various paint schemes.  No evidence for their existence has ever been documented by German sources.  Their recent appearance (1980's) into the collecting market strongly indicates that they are nothing more than reproductions.

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The M1935 Helmet
 
 
 
 
 
The M1940 Helmet
 
 
 
 
 
The M1942 Helmet
 
 
 
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