Saturday, December 27, 2008

Nazi Germany M.35 Feldpolizei-Wehrmacht combat helmet

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Long ago I resigned myself to the fact that I'd never have a Double Decal WWII German helmet in my collection for the very simple reason that DD helmets are out of my reach, financially.

All that changed today, but only for 24 hours. Its a helmet Cinderella story. I now have residing in my collection a double decal M.35 police helmet, as an overnight guest.  It must return to its owners tomorrow lest it turns back into a pumpkin.

Here it is, ready for the ball:



Perhaps a little rough around the edges, rusty, and somewhat scuffed up, but still...



the real deal.

Here's how I came by this house guest.
 Two friends of mine just returned from the ancestral home up in Pennsylvania where they were enjoying Christmas with the family. While up there they decided to reclaim some childhood possessions, including this WWII German lid. He was half inclined to give it to me, he was equally inclined to take it in the back yard and use it as target practice. She, however, thought it might be worth something so they brought it to me for my opinion. 
 And I'm so glad that they did.


I was happy to be able to tell them that it is in fact a very collectible helmet.  That made them happy, and they made me happy by letting me bring it home for this photo session.

I expect it will make its next public appearance on ebay.


The helmet is, as can be seen above, completely unrestored, unconserved, and untouched save for the busy hand of neglect.





The shell is completely sound, and retains a great deal of the original paint as well as a subsequent (war-time) layer.


The M31 liner, though present, is in near relic condition.  The 75%  that remains is very brittle.  The chinstrap, however, is delightfully intact.


The chinstrap leather appears sound though quite stiff.  I was not able to discern any makers marks on the strap, and certainly many were not marked to begin with.


As can be seen in this detail shot, the chinstrap still retains very crisp outlines.


The liner drawstring is present and intact.


Many of the liner fingers are still complete, intact though inflexible.


Others are altogether missing from the band, revealing the horsehair cushion.



The size stamp "ET66" is quite evident.  This shot also shows to good effect some of the most pronounced pitting.

The maker code is very crisp and distinct.  I would also note that the "golden" hue of these pictures is a manifestation of the lighting I was using.


The Liner split-pins are present and sound.  The greatest exterior pitting is seen here around the rear split-pin.



Side split-pin.



This view shows the original  green paint underneath the peeling subsequent layer of flat medium green. A careful cleaning of this helmet may restore some of the vibrancy of the original green.

Though a museum curator for 12 years, I was unwilling to attempt even a light toweling of this helmet, I'll leave that for the competent (one hopes) touch of its future owner.


The rolled edge, characteristic of both the M.35 and the M.40.


The dead giveaway for the earlier M.35, however lies here, the applied ventilator hole.  The ventilators in later helmets were stamped.  Compare to my Spanish M.35 as profiled here.




The party decal is still quite distinct, and distinctly disturbing in all of its fascist, bastard, nastiness.





The Police decal is less intact.  Most of the black layer is gone leaving the metallic layer exposed.


Close inspection reveals the German police insignia, evidenced by this fragment of wing and the eagle's feathered neck and head.  Compare to this view from the outstanding website German- Helmets.com


German Feldpolizei take a break from world domination to check their bearings.  Of course we know that they're making a bee-line for the Gulag and a much delayed return home.  Dress warm boys.

As if war isn't unpleasant enough, check out these happy kraut wannabees:

A rather robust Feldpolizei complete with motorcycle coat and gorget. Only to be outdone in enthusiasm by...



this pair of jolly jackbooted Japanese whackaloons.  What a fabulously mixed-metaphor!  My goodness, what would my late parents think? 
We are all certainly entitled to our hobbies.  For some its dressing up and marching around.  For me its collecting combat helmets.  To each his own.

Click here to see many more photos of these Japanese Jerrys. I especially liked the full-size cardboard Hanomag half-track.



This helmet will require some thoughtful conservation after which it will end up being show- piece of someone else's collection (sigh).





Tomorrow I'll return this helm to its owners with my thanks for letting me feature it in this blog entry.  Next Sunday evening I'll return to the regular posting schedule with a two post series on Danish helmets.  After that, I do believe it time for some U.S. Navy M1s!

Until then, best wishes for a happy, prosperous, and peaceful new year.

Mannie

This just in:
They gave me the helmet!


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7 comments:

festus said...

how i hate drooling on my keyboard....

The level of craftmanship my countrymen dedicated to completely mundane or even plain unacceptable things is almost unbelievable

Mannie Gentile said...

Festus,

Tell me about it! I'm the one who was drooling all over the helmet.

Always good hearing from you. I couldn't agree with you more regarding the amount of detail one finds in German materiel. Check out a store (online) called bunker militaria. The WWII German packing crates (talk about mundane) they sell are lavished with workmanship.

Best wishes,

Mannie

Anonymous said...

WOW, IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE THAT YOU'VE NEVER HAD ONE & BEING AN AVID COLLECTOR.I've had three. Up until a few years ago, they weren't that expensive - the internet drove the prices up. Dealers like to put them in the same category as the SS stuff which is out my price range. All DD helmets have soared. The one pictured has seen better days, but a good example of an untouched helmet. I believe I gave $450.00 for my m-35 (80 per cent paint & 95 percent decals) about 10 years ago. I've picked up several DD helmets since then, but army & lutfwaffe only. Still, they (m-35 police) was always one of my favorites.Thanks for the post, sincerely Tom Petty.

Mannie Gentile said...

Tom,

Thanks for the comments.

Although I started collecting about 35 years ago I've always been of somewhat "modest means", and that is reflected in my collection. The two single decal helmets I have (M.40 heer and M.42 Luft) I was able to acquire for very reasonable prices in the very late 1970s.

The more remarkable pieces in my collection (of which there are three or four were, generally, strokes of luck; the seller didn't realize what he was selling and the equally ignorant young buyer (me) didn't realize what he was getting. Sometimes ignorance turns out to actually be bliss.


Thanks for your comment, happy collecting, and best wishes for the new year.

Mannie

Anonymous said...

Mannie, can you say it was owned by Himmler when you post it on ebay or possibly Eva Braun.

Mannie Gentile said...

Anonymous,

Well, as its not mine to sell that's somewhat moot.

However it does cause this question to pop into my mind:

What do you suppose ever happened to the helmet worn by John Banner (Sgt. Schultz) on Hogan's Heros?

Manonymous

BRANDON ROGERIO said...

The most amazing thing happened to me today (well, most amazing thing for a helmet collector anyways). I was helping my grandma put up Halloween decorations when I remembered that my mom told me about a German helmet my grandma had in an old room. The way my mother described it I thought it was an m42 no decal helmet with a bullet hole going through it. So I went up and was looking around the room. Then I saw it. It was under a desk, up side down, with some Christmas decorations inside it. I nearly shat my pants. I went over and saw it was an m35, even better! I picked it up and poured out the Christmas decorations and just about had a heart attack when I saw that it was double decal. My hands were shaking and, as my mom describes it, my eyes were about as big as dinner plates. So in short, just about the best thing (for a helmet collector) happened today