Members of the Air
Protection Warning Service (Luftschutzwarndienst)
were required to purchase (from their own funds) a light-weight
helmet that bore a distinct winged decal insignia on the front.
Retail outlets were available to volunteers where helmets could be
obtained. Most Luftschutzwarndienst helmets (particularly gladiator
style helmets) also contained a small decal under the rear rim of
the helmet that denoted head size and price.
Due to the limited
number of helmets available to Luftschutzwarndienst (Luftschutz) volunteers, a
large number of surplus helmets were employed by the Air
Warning Service to make up for the shortfall. Surplus Luftschutz helmets often included outdated firemen's helmets,
World War I model helmets, and captured Czech, Polish, Dutch, and
However, the vast
majority of Air Protection Warning Service helmets were German
two, and three-piece gladiator style helmets. These helmets
were made by a number of metal crafting firms in Germany and
were very light in overall weight. Their color ranged from a
medium to dark black-blue paint. Debate over which variation
of the gladiator style helmet came first has long been an issue in
helmet collecting circles. By most accounts, it would seem
that the stamped one-piece version was the last of the three to be
manufactured rather than visa versa.
were also available in the form of M1935, M1940, and M1942 pattern
combat helmets that were marked with a pronounced bead along the
midline of the shell. Speculation holds that these beaded
helmets were in fact reject helmets from various factories
employed in the manufacture of combat helmets. However, a
number of advanced collectors maintain that beaded combat helmets
were in fact made this way on purpose. The reasoning for
their hypothesis steams from the obvious need for a heavier and
more protective helmet that would not be mistaken or employed as a
combat helmet1. In this case, these collectors
suggest that the bead is in fact a natural element of the helmet's
overall design similar to that observed in the gladiator models.
called for the placement of the Luftschutz decal to be positioned
above the visor, it was not uncommon to have decals placed on one
or two sides of a given helmet. Luftschutzwarndienst helmets
are the most numerous of all German helmets and are considered
quite common by collecting standards.
Many metal smiths confirm that placement of the pronounced bead
seen on these unique helmets is in fact a difficult prospect to
undertake once a helmet has been fully stamped and formed.
Most metal workers suggest that these helmets were likely made
this way on purpose rather than modified to incorporate the bead
due to faulty workmanship.
The Three-Piece Luftschutz Gladiator
The M1942 Beaded Luftschutz Helmet