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Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 1949-Present From West Germany through to the modern reunified German Republic.

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Old 09-28-2010, 07:13 PM   #31
Hugh Zillmann old
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Hello Gentlemen,

Me again.

Gene T, I've been looking at your original posting again. Are there any traces of blue paint showing through under the 'olive green'?

I have the suspicion that this may be an early re-enactor repaint, where the original paint scheme was taken out with paint stripper and the commonly available 'olive green' was re-used. I make this assumption on the basis of the wear (particularly around the edge of the rim), which is consistent with having a cover over a painted surface, which latter has not been properly prepared (hence the significant amount of bare matal evident in the photos).

As we all know, the advent of re-enacting in the early 1980's through to the early 1990's (when the purpose-built uniforms and helmets were not available) resulted in significant use and/or modification of look-alike BW items - hence all the 'converted' BGS tunics; cammo gear (both early BW and BGS) etc. which we now find. As the re-enactors 'up-grade' their kit, these items come back into the market.

I now believe that this helmet is an original BW item, which was altered (by repainting) to be used in re-enacting. The shape of the shell is right and, to me, the fact of the liner and straps being, as they are, identical to BW items can but lead to only one conclusion.............

All the best,

Hugh
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Old 09-28-2010, 09:17 PM   #32
Collectinsteve
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh Zillmann View Post
Don't you just love this hobby. So esoteric! Grown men getting exited over old helmets and chinstraps! No wonder my Wife looks at me oddly some times!
The only militaria collectors whose wives don't look at them funny are either single or women! We do love the little things in life. Which reminds me, we need a thread about Gebirgsjäger socks

Gene, I'm glad to see the experts giving you a thumbs up! I really want one myself, as I have several para uniforms, but I think for a while I'm going to have to be satisfied with a M1 style para helmet. Not as neat, and not the right timeframe, but it wasn't expensive and it fits my head nicely.

Steve
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:19 PM   #33
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Which reminds me, we need a thread about Gebirgsjäger socks



Steve[/QUOTE]

Hi Steve,

Which raises another question:-

"Are the socks being sold by some of the re-enactor suppliers as 'TR Look-alikes' really BW?"

I saw a pair of these the other day (you know the one's I mean - grey with white sizing rings at the top). These still had a paper manufacturers tag attached. It clealy identified them as 'BW'.

As to the helmets: on my first post on this thread you may remember that I mentioned that I had acquired four (4) others in 1986 (in addition to the one which I still have in my collection). I know where two of those still are............

Cheers,

Hugh
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:18 AM   #34
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Thanks for the additional input, Hugh!

It's certainly possible (perhaps even likely) that this helmet spent the past couple of decades in a reenactor's closet, assuming that it is what we think it is. The actual wear is not as severe as it might appear in my photos though. Whoever owned it before took pretty good care of it.

I see no trace of other paint colors underneath those scratches and chipped areas around the rim. If this is a repaint, then it must have been completely stripped prior to the application of the new paint, as you suggested.




I would also add that the olive color of the helmet seems to be an exact match of the one seen on M-1971 helmets; which may or may not be significant:




The only thing blue-gray on the helmet is the leather harness.


Steve, I feel so sorry for you, buddy, what with your dozens upon dozens of unobtainable smocks and not even one proper lid to top them off

gnak, gnak, gnak . . .


Gene T

P.S., I think my wife gave up on trying to cure me a long time ago. From her perspective, my inexplicable addiction to useless inanimate objects is a far more benign affliction than any number of vices men are predisposed to fall prey to.
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:14 AM   #35
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Gene,

Quote:
Steve, I feel so sorry for you, buddy, what with your dozens upon dozens of unobtainable smocks and not even one proper lid to top them off
Yeah, life has been pretty darned unkind to me this year. Or at least it's been unkind to my bank account. Dang'd sellers knew what they had.

Quote:
P.S., I think my wife gave up on trying to cure me a long time ago. From her perspective, my inexplicable addiction to useless inanimate objects is a far more benign affliction than any number of vices men are predisposed to fall prey to.
Mine gave up a long time ago too. However, she does point out that she never shops for anything, so in our case we're the inverse stereotype. Which is OK because our income could not support two people spending oodles of hard earned money on rare Gebirgsjäger socks

Steve
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Old 09-29-2010, 06:58 AM   #36
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Gentlemen,

I have spent some time comparing this helmet with the two I own and I beleive that this helmet is a repro. There are a number of reasons for this.
1-the helmet seems do be made out of a light material by the way the bolts "dimple in the side of the helmet. The heads of the bolts on my helmets sit flat on the surface;
2-two different kind of bolts. The bolts on my helmets are all of the spanner type;
3-the heads of the bolts are not the correct shape when compared with my helmets;
4-the foam lining is not made of the correct material. My hlmets have a much denser rubber material and not a light foam material as was used in this helmet;
5-the lack of blue paint underneath. To the best of my knowledge all of these "trials" helmets were pained blue and my brown helmet was simply over painted. I see not logical reason to remove the original blue colour just to paint it brown;
6-the position of the seam in the liner;
7-there are no holes in my liners along the front;
8-my brown painted helmet liner a dark brown colour from wear. The helmets that were painted brown were used in jump training and should show some internal signs of use.

I can not weigh my helmets right now as my digital scales are buried under too much stuff. My comments are meant to be constructive and I hope they are of use. I'll try to post some pictures later today but I have a lot of projects on the go right now.

Regards,

Gordon
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:44 AM   #37
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Interesting points, Gordon. That's a lot of differences vs. known examples.

I will say that the black low density foam bothered me. I'm not even sure this type of foam existed in the 1950s. But I don't know either way other than guessing, however now that Gordon says it doesn't match what he has I am inclined to agree that at the very least the foam is recent production.

Steve
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:20 PM   #38
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Thanks for the detailed analysis, Gordon!

If this is an M38 repro from the ground up, then the fakers did an extraordinarily lousy job! Wrong shape for the shell, wrong liner, wrong straps, wrong bolts, wrong basically everything. One wonders what kind of person(s) or business would finance such a project, from mold-making to press equipment to leathercraft. Depending on the size of the production run, making this abomination could have been a very expensive undertaking. I just can't picture people who have that kind of money to burn not having a proper original helmet to model after. Even the worst of the Chinese and Indian fakes being sold today are more "authentic" looking than this.

Unless... the intent was all along to make a fake - undocumented - BW Versuchshelm. How insane would you have to be to even contemplate doing something like that? And still to get the liner orientation wrong after sinking all that money and effort into the project?

I would say that the spanner bolts on mine are probably a later replacement, as they look more worn than other parts of the helmet and have no finish left on them. The slotted-bolt assemblies however do appear to be original to the shell, and retain 100% of their finish. They are absolutely identical to the slotted bolts used on M-1971 helmets, save for one detail: the liner-facing side of the nut on the mystery helmet retains its sharp edges, while its counterpart on the M-1971 is beveled (at a 30 degree angle, according to the blue print shown on p155 of Baer's book).

As for the deeper-than-usual countersinking around the bolt holes, I can't exclude this being a sign of softness in the steel, since I have no way to actually test the latter (short of destroying the helmet, along with a co-sacrificial control sample). However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the thickness of the shell and the overall heft put this helmet in the 'normal' range for a steel helmet. It's not as thick and strong as the DDR M56, but it's just as thick as the Russian Ssh 40, or Czech vz 53, and thicker than the Hungarian M35, the Swedish M-1926, and for sure the Adrian Given that the inner face (the side facing the shell) of the M-1971 bolt head is flat, rather than tapered (as is the case with the spanner bolts), and assuming the M-1971 type bolts were original to this helmet, perhaps the deeper countersinking was meant to help decrease the profile of the bolt heads? In contrast, the M-1971 shell has no countersinking at all; as a result, the bolt heads protrude quite a bit from the shell surface (and are often free of finish due to accelerated wear).

Regarding the foam, it's not low density. However, it's definitely made from an artificial compound, not rubber. The closest thing I can compare it to in terms of density and compressibility is the dome padding in the Swiss M48-62 helmet.

Anyway, other than the Keith helmet, I have not handled any of the known M-38 repros, old or new, so everything I've said so far is speculative on my part. My main argument against this being a complete fake is that unlike cloth items, which can be reproduced with nothing more than a measuring tape and a decent sewing machine, faking a helmet has a substantially higher entry barrier, both in terms of capital investment and manufacturing know-how. Until the Chinese and Indians got involved in recent years, this was a niche market for those whose only means to recoup their investment was to deceive the crap out of their intended mar...customers. I just don't see an M-38 deception project being allowed to go forward by the people financing it, if this thing was what came out in the end.

If we were to apply lex parsimoniae to this study, then this lid being a BW Versuchshelm is actually the least of the unlikely scenarios imaginable for how it could have come about, based on what we know about Versuchshelm and M-38 repros so far. In other words, I believe a faker would have paid attention to a variety of details on the M-38 that the makers of the Versuchshelm would not have had the need to, be they external or internal, obvious or subtle.

As an M-38 repro, this helmet is an absolute "F" to my eyes. As a possible Versuchshelm, it's at least a "D - ".

I am not saying this because I 'want' this to be a Versuchshelm (I am well aware of the denial syndrome suffered by owners who bought repros believing that they were the 'real deal', who then compound their losses by making fools of themselves 'defending' their toys on WAF, against overwhelming evidence), but because I am genuinely interested in the helmet's true origin.

If it's a complete repro, surely there are more of these out there, so that someone will hopefully come along one day and say: "It's a fake; I know where it was made, and who was the rich idiot who made it".

Thanks for the discussion!


Gene T

P.S., I was puzzled by the difference #7 (holes along the front) on your list, Gordon. It just occurred to me after re-reading it that you may have been looking at the M-1971 helmet I used for paint color comparison in post #34. There are no such holes in the mystery helmet liner. As for difference #8, I think the same observation could be used to argue against this being a repro helmet, since most repros are bought by reenactors, who tend to wear them quite a bit. I think the fact that this is a relatively large-sized helmet may have something to do with its condition. As with all old headgear, the pristine examples tend to be either very big or very small. "60" is on the verge of being 'very big'. David's helmet at the beginning of the thread is also a '60'. It too, looks barely worn.

Last edited by Gene T; 09-29-2010 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:28 PM   #39
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Gene T,

Your welcome. It never hurts to study things in ones collection from time-to-time. I usually find something that I hadn't noticed before.

Rgeards,

Gordon
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:27 PM   #40
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This appears to be one of the old West German para helmets or the GSG-9
that everybody had in the early 90s when it was all you could get. The top
is more rounded and you have that metal edge all the way around. Everybody
was always calling George Peterson over at Nat. Capital Hist. Sales so they
would be the first to grab one when he got some from Germany. It's the
same place me and a bunch of others got ours. When Bill Bureau started
with his version we bought from him.
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:30 PM   #41
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This one is getting real interesting. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Will Hugh's pictures provide the definitive answer? What of freddy's contention above?

All the best - TJ
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:33 PM   #42
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I miss George's shop in DC. I discovered it just before he shut it down. I still have fond memories of what was there, even though at the time I was just starting and had very little clue what stuff was. Man, if I went there now with $2000 cash in my pocket I think I'd walk out owing him $2000 even after emptying my pockets

Sorry for the tangental thought. Carry on

Steve
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:58 PM   #43
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Here are 2 sources that show what I'm talking about:
History of the German steel Helmet: page 281,bottom
Soldat: The Reproductions-The Post War Years: page 31,bottom
Mine had the para liner but I did see GSG-9s that came with the
steel helmet liner.
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:46 AM   #44
Hugh Zillmann old
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freddy View Post
This appears to be one of the old West German para helmets or the GSG-9
that everybody had in the early 90s when it was all you could get. The top
is more rounded and you have that metal edge all the way around. Everybody
was always calling George Peterson over at Nat. Capital Hist. Sales so they
would be the first to grab one when he got some from Germany. It's the
same place me and a bunch of others got ours. When Bill Bureau started
with his version we bought from him.
Hello Freddy,

I don't think I've had the pleasure of reading any 'posts' from you before. Seems that you and I may be of the same 'generation' of collecting.

I must admit that, for the first years of my ownership of it, the helmet I have was paired with one of Peterson's repro smocks. Indeed, if I recall correctly, that was my reason for purchasing it originally (after all, who collected BW in the early 1980's?).

Thankfully, it survived my early foray into re-enacting and now is gracefully paired to the appropriate BW jacket.

Thomas, I'll endeavour to get some photos happening this weekend, so that we can see if there is a conclusion to be reached here.

Gordon, you and I are seldom in disagreement on matters military, but I must say, in this case, I am not persuaded by your assessment of things. I think that the colour scheme change is an easy exercise (I did the same myself in 1982 with a Norwegian M35 that 'transformed to a LW 'Double Decal', leaving no trace of the original green behind) and the variation in bolts is easily explicable if two were lost/misplaced in the transformation exercise). To me, the shape (and the liner) are the 'clinching' factors. As Gene T puts it: why got to all the bother, only to produce something which is so obviously not right. I have one of the 'Indian' helms (as well as an original WW2 shell), so I may strive for a comparative set of photographs.

As I said before, I believe that Gene T's helm is of BW provenance and has been 're-worked' for re-enacting.

All the best,

Hugh
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:12 AM   #45
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Hugh,

No problem with a disagreement in our points of view. The difficulty of not having this helmet in hand to compare with my two BW helmets is obvious. However, to me, this just doesn't look right. If I only had one helmet to compare to the one under discussion then I would be less sure but having two gives me a mucher firm ground for my statements. I just took some pictures of both my helmets and I'll post them later today after I deal with the 20kg box of Schleswig-Holstein polizei uniforms that arrived yesterday.

Regards,

Gordon
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