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   Factory Photos - Esslingen

 
An old postcard photo of the Thale plant in operation.
 
 

A modern photo of the Thale plant headquarters building.

 
 

 

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The Eisenhttenwerke in Thale was the largest of all helmet production facilities during World War II.  The Thale plant played a principle role in the preliminary and ongoing design of the new M1935 steel helmet that would eventually be worn by all combat troops of the German Armed Forces (Deutsche Wehrmacht).  The Thale plant began producing steel helmets for the German military during World War I.  In keeping with tradition, the Procurement Office of the Army and Navy awarded the Thale plant with one of two initial contracts for the production of steel helmets.  Eventually three more German facilities would be added to the list of manufacturers.  Thale engineers worked on the principle upgrades that modified the M1935 through various stages resulting in what is known today as the M1940 and M1942 models.  The facilities are still in operation today although they are engaged in steel manufacturing and civilian products rather than items related to the military.  Many of the older factory buildings continue to be used, although many were destroyed by Allied bombing raids and then later demolished.  A small museum located in Thale gives an excellent synopsis on this factory which began operation in the 1800's.  Due to its size, the firm was the principle employer of German labor in the local area.

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