BACKGROUND: The first "modern" steel helmets were introduced by the French army in early 1915 and were shortly followed by the British army later that year. With plans on the drawing board, experimental helmets in the field, ("Gaede" helmet), and some captured French and British helmets the German army began tests for their own steel helmet at the Kummersdorf Proving Grounds in November, and in the field in December 1915. An acceptable pattern was developed and approved and production began at Eisen-und Hüttenwerke, (Iron and Foundry Works), AG Thale/Harz, in the spring of 1916. These first modern M16 helmets evolved into the M18 helmets by the end of WWI. The M16 and M18 helmets remained in usage through-out the Weimar Reichswehr, (National Defence Force, Circa 1919-1933), era and on into the early years of the Third Reich until the development of the smaller, lighter M35 style helmet in June 1935. In an effort to reduced construction time and labor costs minor modifications were introduced in March 1940 resulting in the M40 helmet. The M35 had an inserted ventilation bushing positioned on each side of the helmet and a rolled bottom edge while the M40 eliminated the bushings and replaced them by stamping the ventilation eyelets directly into the helmet, although it still retained the rolled bottom edge. Further construction modifications were undertaken in August 1942 resulting in the M42 helmet. The M42 retained the stamped ventilation eyelets as found on the M40 helmets but eliminated the bottom, rolled edge. Originally the Third Reich national tri-color helmet decal was introduced on March 14TH 1933 for wear on the left side of the helmet to replace the Reichswehr era state shield insignia. Regulations of February 17TH 1934 introduced the Wehrmacht, (Armed Forces), eagle decal and the national tri-color decal was shifted to the right side of the helmet with the Wehrmacht eagle decal positioned on the left hand side. Regulations of March 21ST 1940 dictated that the national tri-color decal was to be removed from all helmets and further regulations of August 28TH 1943 abolished the Wehrmacht eagle decal and dictated that it was also to be removed from all helmets although the directives were not completely adhered to. Originally all the early M35 helmets and some early M40 helmets, were issued with a factory applied, parade green painted finish although most were later repainted using a matte field-grey paint as per regulations of January 27TH 1940. Further regulations of March 21ST 1940 dictated that all issue helmets were to have a factory applied rough textured, matte, slate/field-grey painted finish which remained in use for the remainder of the war with minor variations in shade/tone. Prior to the issue of the rough textured, matte, slate/field-grey paint, personnel in the field had to improvise and as a result a wide variety of makeshift, expedient attempts at helmet camouflage were undertaken that included the use of mud and/or dirt rubbed onto the helmets, field-made fabric covers, assorted rubber bands, straps and chicken wire to secure foliage and assorted camouflage paints. To rectify the helmet camouflage situation the German army introduced a reversible, white/splinter patterned camouflage helmet cover in early 1942 followed by helmet camouflage netting on August 10TH 1942. Although the camouflage helmet cover and netting were widely used assorted camouflage paints, rubber bands, straps, chicken wire and natural foliage continued to be utilized through-out the war. Of Note: Late in WWI, (July 1918), the Germans had issued a directive which clearly laid out the camouflage paint colors and even the pattern that was to be applied to all helmets in the field. The directive also included the amounts of paint that 1,000 helmets would require as five kilograms, (11Lbs), each of, green, ochre yellow and rust brown, and two kilograms, (4.4 Lbs), of black paint. Interestingly this WWI directive appears to have been generally ignored in WWII and although some camouflage paints were issued to units in the field, including white wash for winter camouflage and tan paints for the North African campaign, the individual soldier was generally left to procure and decide on the camouflage paint and design to be applied to his helmet on his own. These efforts led to a wide variety of assorted, unofficial, colored camouflage paints and patterns being utilized through-out the war. Of Note: None of our reference material has any official regulations concerning the use of camouflage helmet paints although it is hard to imagine that some regulations, especially in regards to winter and tropical camouflage were not issued.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: The stamped, sheet steel construction M40 helmet retains about 75% of its slightly rough textured, camouflage over-paint in random splotches of different shades of green, field-grey and tan. The left side of the helmet has faint, silver and black remnants of an over-painted decal. Curiously the exterior, reverse neck guard apron appears to have an individuals name followed by numerals lightly scratched into the paint, "Mains 27/4". All three liner retaining rivets are intact. The interior of the helmet appears to have been partially over-painted in a dark field-grey paint with some of the original, field-grey paint still visible with areas of light to moderate surface spotting to the crown. The interior of the helmet has a heavily age and usage darkened, M31 tan, leather liner with all eight of it’s original fingers and the liner tie string intact. The liner shows small spots of light to moderate chafe wear to the bottom edge, resulting in a few small tears. The liner appears to have been treated and is slightly "tacky". The liner has no visible size markings. The interior, reverse, neck guard apron has a faint, stamped, serial number that appears to be, "N57", and the interior, left side, apron has the faint, stamped manufacturer’s code and size that appears to be, "Q64", indicating manufacture by F.W. Quist, G.m.b.H. of Esslingen, size 64. The chinstrap is absent.

GRADE ***1/4                             PRICE $3,035.00

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