Saturday, May 9, 2015

Nazi German M.42 combat helmet (Luftwaffe)

The M.42, save for two modifications, is the same as the earlier M.35 and M.40 models that went before it. This is the helmet that greeted the nadir of the Third Reich.


The M.42 in action:

The Nazi industrial base was becoming overtaxed by a multi-front war and impoverished by dwindling resources. As Hitler was sending boys and old men to the front lines steps were taken to manufacture a simpler, cheaper, helmet that was still as ballistically as sound as the M.35 and M.40 helmets that went before it.  The M42 answered the production demands and available resources of the Reich as the war entered the home stretch.

Here the condition of the paint on this particular helmet is shown to good effect.  
The textured gray paint is 100% intact m-one of the best in my collection. 

The rear split rivet, one of three, that secure the liner band to the shell.

Typical of mid, to late-war helmets, only one decal appears on this lid.

The insignia of the Luftwaffe - an eagle clutching the swastika is about 90 % intact.

The liner and chinstrap are complete and in very good condition.  Note the lack of a dome stamp, which was by no means uncommon.

Despite late-war shortages, the ventilated pigskin leather remains nearly as high a quality as earlier models.

 The original drawstring, in very fine condition.

Coarse fabric buffers the leather from the steel liner band.

The leather is spaced from the shell with steel leaf springs.

The liner and chinstrap are quite complete, and, as with all German lids, this one
 is abundantly marked.

Manufacturer's mark and date of manufacture.
Schuberth, which manufactured German helmet shells well into the 1970s

The liner band indicates the size of the shell as well as that of the liner.

Usually a chinstrap with a series of numbers in this manner originated from a factory that was owned and operated by the government as opposed to a private manufacturing firm.

An ink stamping appears underneath the leather indicating the size of the liner.  Of note is that the size indicator on the band does not correspond with that on the leather.

The manufacture's mark, size, and production number.
hKp is the abbreviation of the maker; Sachsische Emaillier-und Stanzwerke, AG Lauter (size 64)

Unlike the ventilator of the M.35 which was a separate bushing, the M.42, like the M.40 before it, the ventilator was embossed into the shell. 

Interior of ventilator.

Unlike both the M.35 and the M.40, the edge of the M.42 was not rolled or folded but left raw thus saving a step in production and saving time in a Reich which was running out of that commodity.

Steel buckle on the chinstrap.

Typical to German helmets, the chinstrap is affixed to the rectangular bail with a double headed rivet passing through corresponding slots in the leather.

I've seldom seen a helmet in as fine condition as this one, and I'm very happy to have it in my collection, and to share it with you here.

 From 1938's masters of the sky...

to 1945's whimpering loser...

How the mighty do fall

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