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    Luftwaffe (Air Force):  Fallschirmjäger Helmets

Photo:  The M1938 Paratrooper Helmet.

Luftwaffe Paratrooper Helmets

On 29 January 1936 Hermann Göring established Germany’s first parachute training school at the Luftwaffe base in Stendal.  The men were reorganized into the I. Battalion and the 15 (Pioneer) Kompanie of what was to become "Fallschirmjäger Regiment I".  Likewise on 1 April 1937 the Army formed a parachute company which also trained at Stendal.  A new protective helmet was need for parachute jumps and the firm of Eisenhüttenwerke in Thale undertook the initial prototype design.  The result was a helmet with the cut-down appearance of a standard M1935.  This helmet was soon introduced for general use in 1936.

The Model 1936 Parachute Helmet (M1936) was made of steel in the general shape of the M1935 helmet but without the extended brim and flared sides.  It utilized a three rivet M1931 liner retaining system like the M1935 but with a modified eight-finger leather liner and heavy foam pad in the crown.  Like the M1935, the helmet used the same hollow rivets for air vents.  The unique chinstrap was designed to cross behind the back of the neck and down around the chin while crossing on either side of the ears.  Four reinforced oblong slots in the helmet shell allowed the wearer to hang the carbine hooks on the sides of the helmet when it was not used for parachute jumping. 

In 1937 an improved helmet shell was introduced that utilized the same components as the M1936.  The Model 1937 Parachute Helmet (M1937) was nearly identical to the M1936 with the exception that it had two, rather than four, non-reinforced oblong slots in the helmet shell.  Under sustained use the early lining system proved faulty as the three split rivets combined with the aluminum M1931 liner band tended to warp or shear.  Subsequently the helmet underwent modifications that resulted in the introduction of the improved Model 1938 Parachute Helmet (M1938).

The M1938 helmet incorporated four hollow-bore spanner bolts (with screws and hexagonal washers) in favor of the three split-tailed rivets found on the M1937.  The liner system was completely redesigned with heavy rubber padding on the sides and crown with an improved aluminum liner band ring.  Later models incorporated a zinc plated steel ring instead of aluminum.  Helmet sizing was achieved by varying the thickness of the rubber padding in the appropriate sized helmet shell. The support lining was now constructed out of two pieces of leather sewn together in the center in which twelve holes were cut to allow for venting.

The M1938 helmet was constructed in four different centimeter shell sizes (64, 66, 68, 71).  The shell was stamped with four holes where the lining could be attached to the helmet shell using spanner-bolts.  Original examples are stamped with "ET" or "ckl" representing both trademarks used by the Thale manufacturing facility.  No other revisions to the basic design were introduced after 1938.  Early helmets bore a double decal configuration consisting of the Luftwaffe eagle and the National tricolored shield of Germany.  The German Army (Heer) also used the standard Armed Forces Eagle insignia (Wehrmachtsadler) for a very short time before being integrated into the Luftwaffe.

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.  

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This Information Track provides historical facts pertaining to Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger (Paratrooper) Helmets.  Individual links related to this subject are outlined below.

     Primary Topics

Luftwaffe Main

Helmet Bolts

Helmet Camouflage

Helmet Chinstraps

Helmet Liners

Helmet Paint

Helmet Photos

Period Photographs

    Helmet Types
 
M1936 with Luftwaffe Insignia (Left Side)
 
 
M1937 with Army Insignia (Left Side)
 
 
M1938 with Spanner Bolts (Left Side)
 
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