In 1934 a new liner system for German helmets was adopted, namely the model 1931 liner. The new liner took into account the size of a soldier’s head rather than only the helmet shell
size. The M31 liner consists of two interlocking metal bands which are connected to each other with 5 steel leaf springs. The leather liner was attached to the inner metal band by small rivets made of aluminum and subsequently zinc-coated steel. The band is
stamped with the liner head size and appropriate shell size. The leather part consists of 8 separate «tongues» which are perforated with 5 stamped holes to allow for ventilation. The liners for larger helmets (size 68-70) have 9 leather tongues.
For precise adjustment for a soldier’s head size, a woven drawstring is inserted through a 6th hole on the tip of each tongue. Between the leather and the inner band, a wool
strip is attached to improve comfort and to avoid rubbing of the fragile leather against metal. Early liners were made mainly of aluminum parts changing to zinc-coated steel parts in 1940. The M31 liner consists of many parts and the 6 different liner
producers that that existed obtained certain components (leather and rivets) from several other manufacturers.
Three M31 liners stacked together. The liner in the middle has an aluminum band while the other two are zinc-coated steel. Note the chinstrap bale (D-ring) on the aluminum example; it is more square shaped than the others which have more rounded corners. Also this aluminum liner is a reinforced type; notice one of the supporting/reinforcing aluminum strips attached to the outer band with 4 small aluminum rivets.
An aluminum single band liner. Note the bending at several places on the band which was caused by stress during wear. This is an early liner likely produced prior to 1938.
A reinforced aluminum liner. Note the 2 aluminum reinforcing strips which are riveted to the outer band, making it stronger and better capable of handling the stress of heavy use.
Steel band with green painted steel leaf springs. This leather has been cut off (probably postwar) and you can see the wool strip.
Notice the green steel leaf spring in the rectangular shaped opening in the steel band.
The wool supporting strip. This strip is placed between the leather and the metal band to improve comfort and to avoid rubbing of the fragile leather against metal. The wool strip has either a grey or grey-green color.
Markings on the inside of the leather. The number 57 indicates the size in cm of the inner metal band and the number 55 is the size for the wearer’s head, which is also is marked with an ink stamp on one of the tongues. The liner has the size of 62 and the size of the outer metal band is measured to be approximately 61 cm. Notice the lacking wool strip which has been cut off and the split aluminum rivets which secure the leather to the metal band.
Markings on an aluminum liner dated 1938. «D.R.P.» means Deutsche Reichs Patent and the manufacturer is Schuberth-Werk K.-G. in Braunschweig. The abbreviation K.G. stands for Kommanditgesellschaft which means Ltd. or Limited. Notice to the left the 2 small aluminum rivets to which the reinforcing plate is attached and to the right the chinstrap bale with square corners.
Markings on the other side of the same aluminum liner. The liner would be fitted in a size 64 shell for a wearer with head size 57. The letters «n.A.» means «neue Art» or new model. Notice the 2 aluminum rivets on the right for the reinforcing strip.
Manufacturer marking on a zinc-coated steel liner dated 1940. The maker is the same as the aluminum liner shown above, Schuberth-Werk (KG), Braunschweig 1940.
The same liner with size markings, 66 n.A and 58.
The majority of leather liners were made of goat skin/sheep skin and to a lesser degree in pigskin. The goat skin leather shown in this picture was soft and comfortable for the wearer. Notice the ink size markings; 57 was stamped error requiring a re-stamp of 58.
This example is made of pigskin. Pigskin leather liners are typically found in late war helmets as the supply of goat skin/sheep skin became more difficult to obtain as the war progressed, however they occasionally appear in mid-war M40 helmets. Note the coarser texture of the leather.
Split rivets for attaching the leather to the inner metal band. Both aluminum and steel rivets are shown.
The inside of a liner showing the leather reinforcements that were glued to the backside tip of each tongue.
The chinstrap bale on an aluminum liner. Note the square shaped corners of the bale. Very common in M35 and early M40 helmets.
The chinstrap bale on a steel liner. Notice the rounded shape of the corners.
Typical leather liner of a German helmet, yellow in color, made from goat skin or sheep skin.
A leather liner with a different color, due to either a different dyeing process during manufacturing, postwar storage or wear (sweat, moisture etc.)
This leather liner has a deeper red-brown color. Like the leather liner above, this could be a result of the dyeing process.
M42 with pigskin liner. Note the rough leather and the sweat stains near the rim of the liner.
This picture shows the variations of liner colors and shapes due to dying process, wear, postwar storage etc.