German WW2 Helmets

M42 ckl64 Heer SD found in Norway.

Welcome to all visitors.

This website has been created by a Norwegian military historian who specializes in WW2 German helmets. Many of the artifacts shown on these pages have symbols such as swastikas and sigrunes that were used by an evil regime which terrorized the population of Europe almost for 6 years. I proclaim in no uncertain terms that this website does not support any political ideology including Nazism/Neo-nazism/fascism or any form for racism. Its sole purpose is to exhibit historical military artifacts used by the German troops during the occupation in Norway 1940-1945.

Approximately 95 % of the German helmets shown were found in Norway and reside in my collection.

This website is intended for both novice and advanced militaria collectors. I have concentrated on creating images of helmets and their details rather than written explanations as there are excellent books available covering that aspect.

I wish to thank the many contributors to this website: Lars Aasen, Anders Lehrman, Magnus Sjursen, Gisle Jøntvedt, Tony Schnurr and Roy Akins, who also edited the text.

In creating this website I have referred to the leading internet forum regarding German combat helmets, German Helmet Walhalla.

www.ghw2.com

Books referenced in the creation of this website are:

1. Ken Niewiarowicz – Germany’s Combat Helmets 1933-1945, a Modern Study (2009)

2. Ken Niewiarowicz with Anders Lehrman – The Helmet Decals of the Third Reich (2016)

3. Brian C. Bell – Wehrmacht Combat Helmets 1933-45 (2004)

4. Jan M. Meland & Gisle Jøntvedt – German World War II Helmets & Headgear (2015)

5. Paul Martin - The Camouflage Helmets of the Wehrmacht Volume I (2015)

 

Jan M. Meland, Bærum, Norway 2017.

 

The German helmet is one of the most iconic symbols of the German soldier in World War II. Its distinctive shape evokes the terror and fear the German soldiers created during this difficult time, but also represents a technically advanced military design. The World War II German helmet was produced from 1935 to 1945 and it's estimated that approximately 25 million were made. During this time there were 5 manufacturers of these helmets:

ET - Eisenhüttenwerke, Thale (later ckl eller CKL). Manufactured models M35, M40 and M42.

Q - Quist, Esslingen. Manufactured models M35, M40 and M42.

SE - Sächsische Emailler - und Stanzewerke, Lauter (later hkp). Manufactured models M35, M40 and M42.

NS - Vereinigte Deutsche Nickelwerke, Schwerte. Manufactured models M35, M40 and M42.

EF - Emaillerwerke A.G. Fulda. Manufactured models M35, M40 and M42.

As we see from the images, these helmets have vents on the right and the left side and 3 split rivets which secured the liner (metal band and leather) to the shell itself. The actual shape is designed to protect the head and neck against shrapnel and explosive debris. Additionally, the helmet has a visor that protects the soldier from direct sunlight and rain. The design is optimal and has been adopted by modern combatant forces today such as the American military's PASGT Kevlar helmet.

 

German combat helmet types, M35, M40 & M42

The World War II German steel combat helmet was manufactured in 3 different variations. The first model which appeared in 1935 (M35) was a sophisticated craftwork and the M40 was an improved version. The last model, the M42 was simplified to make it faster and easier to manufacture larger numbers of helmets to compensate the huge losses of helmets during the last years of the war.

Model 35 (M35) was manufactured from 1935 to 1940 and has a smooth shiny paint which is ranges from bright green to gray-green as shown in the picture above. The generic term for this type of paint is «feldgrau» or field grey. The left side of the M35 helmet features a decal depicting an eagle clutching a swastika. As seen in the photo, the helmet has a vent over the eagle and a rivet placed further down and forward.

M35, seen from the right. What characterizes this side of the shell is the national shield or tricolor which has the color of black, white and red, representing the German national flag during the war. Vent and rivet on the right side are located symmetrically relative to the left side. The vent hole contains a grommet which is a separate part that is pressed into an opening in the shell during the manufacturing process. The early rivets of the M35 were manufactured of brass and zinc-coated by galvanization. Aluminum rivets were also used but in small numbers.

The inner part of the M35. The leather is attached to an aluminum band which is attached to the helmet shell by 3 rivets. Note the design of the liner system; the perforated tongues that improve ventilation, a drawstring in the center and a chinstrap. As can be seen from the photo the M35 helmet has a rim that is rolled under to provide a smooth edge.
 

The M40 was produced from 1940 until mid-1942 (with the exception of the Quist factory) and as can be seen, the air vents are pressed into the sides of the shell during the manufacturing process. The helmet shown is a Q64 and has a an eagle spreading its wings in flight and clutching a swastika. This helmet is a Luftwaffe helmet (the German Air Force) and as was typical of M40 helmets, has insignia on the left side only. A Wehrmacht directive in March 1940 mandated that the national shield on the right side of the helmet be removed. From that point on, German helmets featured insignia on the left side only, with Police Troops being the exception. The smooth shiny paint was replaced by dull, textured paint. The crown is slightly more rounded in shape compared to the M35. The helmet shown has Luftwaffe mid-blue textured paint. From late 1940 the zinc-coated brass rivets were replaced by zinc-coated steel rivets which provided more strength.
 

The inner part of an M40. The rolled rim is retained, but the aluminum band is replaced by a stronger steel band. The M40 helmet is slightly heavier compared to the M35 due to the use of manganese-silicon steel.

The M42 was produced from 1942 until the end of the war. Production was simplified due to increasing demands for more helmets and quicker supply to the various fronts. The pressed vent hole was retained but the rolled rim was abandoned in favor of a sharp-edged flared rim to simplify the manufacturing process. The rivets used are the same as the M40, namely zinc-coated steel rivets. The insignia on the left side was discontinued from mid-1943 onward.

The inner parts of the M42. Note that the rolled edge has been dropped in favor of the sharp flared rim. The steel liner band is retained from the previous model, the M40.