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, 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 era and on into the early years of the Third Reich. Further helmet developments resulted in the introduction of the short lived M33 vulcanfibre helmet and assorted, light weight, M34 civic style helmets. In June 1935 the M35 combat helmet was introduced for all armed forces personnel. In an effort to reduced construction time and labor costs minor modifications were introduced to the M35 helmet in March 1940 resulting in the M40 pattern helmet. Further construction modifications were undertaken in August 1942 resulting in the M42 helmet. The Allgemeine-SS, (General-SS), the SS-VT, SS-Verfügungstruppe, (SS-Special Purpose Troops), the SS-TV, SS-Totenkopfverbände, (SS-Death’s Head Units) and eventually the Waffen-SS, (Armed-SS), were also allocated quantities of the assorted models of helmets through-out the war. Originally SS personnel utilized a swastika and a national tri-color shield on their helmets for a short period of time until a runic SS helmet decal with silver runes on a black field was introduced on February 23RD 1934. The early pattern runic decals were only worn for a short time by SS-VT SS-Verfügungstruppe, (SS-Special Purpose Troops), personnel. On August 12TH 1935 the black runic SS helmet decal on a silver shield shaped base and a new NSDAP party shield decal were introduced for wear by all SS personnel with the runes positioned on the right side of the helmet and the NSDAP party shield decal on the left side of the helmet. Due to the easy visibility of the helmet decals regulations of March 1940 dictated that the NSDAP party decal be removed from the helmets and further regulations of November 1943 discontinued the runic decals although both continued to be worn through-out the war on a limited basis.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: The roughly, 40mm tall, 35mm wide decal features a black canted swastika on a central white circular field with a red, pointed tip, shield shaped base with a narrow black outer border edging. The decal is still on its original paper sheet. The decal shows light age yellowing.

GRADE ****1/4                             PRICE $298.00

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