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

   Schutzstaffeln: Allgemeine-SS (General-SS) Helmets

Helmet Description

For all practical considerations, members serving with the General-SS (Allgemeine-SS) wore standard SS pattern helmets according to regulations held across the organization as a whole.  Members of the Allgemeine-SS were not intended to serve as military combatants like their cohorts in the Armed-SS (Waffen-SS).  However, membership generally dictated a period of military training upon acceptance to the organization.  During this time, members of the Allgemeine-SS were temporarily issued helmets for training purposes.  Those members who served in guard or security duties did so through active assignment with the elite “life guard” unit dedicated to Hitler’s personal protection (Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler-LAH), as well as with the SS Security Police (SS-Sicherheitspolizei).  Members of these organizations wore helmets configured according to the regulations within each of these groups1. During parade and ceremony functions, men of the Allgemeine-SS wore standard steel helmets in the configuration required by their unit.  During high level parades or special events this generally included black painted helmets until they were officially removed from general service in 19392.  A small number of black painted M1935 helmets (and possibly M1940 helmets3) remained in use by the elite guards serving in Hitler's administrative buildings in Berlin.  These helmets are clearly seen in the many photographs which include the building guards standing at doors and entrance ways.  A clear example includes the guards who served at the Reichschancellery in Berlin.  These guards are in fact men of LAH wearing the ceremonial black uniforms and helmets normally associated with pre-war parades.


1 It should be mentioned that a common misperception that continues to persist to this day is one that involves the supposed use of black helmets by members of the Allgemeine-SS.  Unfortunately, this mistake is often made on the false assumption that some or all members of the SS wore black painted helmets.  In truth, black SS helmets did exist but only for the purpose of elite guard and parade duty among all members of the SS. The most recognized of these helmets is the black M1935 helmet bearing the standard first pattern SS decals. However early transitional model helmets included the M1917, M1918, M1918 Ear Cut-Out, RZM, and Austrian pattern World War I models as well.  These helmets are erroneously referred to by most collectors as “Allgemeine-SS helmets” simply because of their black color.

2 The myth that all SS troops wore black helmets (including those in combat roles) has been largely propagated by Hollywood films dating back as far as the 1940's.  Even to this day, many historians refer to Hitler's SS as "black shirts."  This is yet another example of the  misconception brought about by false information.  In fact, the earliest Allgemeine-SS formations wore standard Storm Trooper (Sturmabteilungen-SA) uniforms with black highlights.  These uniforms were initially brown in color.

3 The existence of the black double decal M1940 SS helmet remains in serious doubt by most modern collectors.  Only a handful of known examples exist whose owners claim them to be authentic.


Each section of 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 steel helmets worn by the General-SS (Allgemeine-SS) from 1934-1945.  Individual links related to this subject are outlined below.

    Primary Topics

Allgemeine-SS Main

Helmet Types

Period Photos

    Related Topics
    Protection Units


SS-Heimwehr Danzig / Danzig Polizei

SS-Leibstandarte (LAH)

SS-Sicherheitspolizei (SD)

SS-Verfügungstruppe (SS-VT)


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