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

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Old 09-30-2010, 10:42 AM   #46
Uncle Kurt
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I want them also to show my helmet.
I got this helmet from another collector
The collector has, unfortunately, on both sides
copy helmet badge stuck on.
The helmet cover I have of my battalion commander.
He was a paratrooper in 1959.
Maybe he likes you
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Para Helm
Old 09-30-2010, 10:42 AM   #47
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Para Helm 2
Old 09-30-2010, 10:46 AM   #48
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Para Helm3
Old 09-30-2010, 10:47 AM   #49
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:50 AM   #50
freddy
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Thats very unusual. I've never seen a helmet like that either real or
reproduction. It does look like a regular helmet thats been cut down
to be a para helmet. Back in the early 90s when I reenacted we heard
about these and I remember seeing pictures but I can't remember where.
I do remember it was during the time when para helmets were first starting
to be reproed and it was an article telling how you could spot one. If this is
one that West Germany did it would ,seem to me at least, be a rare bird.
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:15 PM   #51
Gordon Craig
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Uncle Kurt,

Interesting helmet. A different liner than any that I have seen beofre.

Regards,

Gordon
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:26 PM   #52
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Gordon, I thank you that you like it.
He is so unaffected, the collector had received it from a Bundeswehr paratrooper in the 60's
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Old 09-30-2010, 04:05 PM   #53
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I'm posting one more time to summarize my thoughts on this and will be done with the topic after that, as I've already started to repeat myself.

Based on Gordon's descriptions, the differences between his helmets and mine are basically the same as those between David F's helmet (which started this thread) and mine. I was fully aware of those differences when I bought the helmet. As I mentioned in my initial post, the seller and I both agreed that the liner was probably a repro, based on those very same features. It's only after studying these features more carefully that I began to have doubts (of it being a repro).

I think this would be a good place to quote Baer on the subject. He wrote:

"Soweit die Zusammenfassung ueber den Truppenversuch mit den einteiligen Fallschiermjaegerhelmen. Fuer die Erprobung standen mindestens 12 verschiedene Helmkalotten mit vier Innenausstattungsversionen zur Verfuegung. An Unterlagen ist dazu nichts mehr vorhanden, es gibt lediglich noch alte Helme und Fotos aus der Zeit, die man entsprechend einordnen muss." (Vom Stahlhelm zum Gefechtshelm, Band 2, p131).

So there were at least 12 different shells being trialed during that period! And four (or more?) liner styles. By my count, the book shows only 9 types of steel shells from p133 through p139 (10, if we count the funny-looking one on p136). So at least 2 known versions of the trial shells didn't make it into the book. Moreover, Baer apparently based this analysis on mostly circumstantial evidence (just as we are busy doing here), as he was not able to locate the original documentation for many of these helmets (at least that's how I understood his text to mean).

I would submit that this leaves the door wide open for speculation when something unusual pops up; the kind that I indulged in with wild abandon over the past couple of days.

Incidentally, this type of helmets had been discussed on the WAF FJ board as well, as one might have expected. Here are two relevant threads I came across when I did a search:

http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...highlight=GsG9

http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...highlight=GsG9



If there was a consensus to come out of those discussions, it was that the shells on these lids were of authentic Luftlandetruppe Versuchshelm or GSG9/Polizei origin. Opinions only differed as to whether the liners were as-issued or reproduction. The arguments presented in support of those positions were essentially the same as what had been expressed in the current thread.

It bears mentioning that Baer's book was published in 1994, more than 10 years before the oldest of these discussions took place. Sadly, there appears to have been no progress made in the advancement of our knowledge in this obscure little area during the intervening years.

Anyhow, since the liner appears to the focus of reasonable disagreement between collectors, I've assembled the few that had appeared on WAF and put them in a collage, for a one-stop visual comparison, followed by a list of features that I think are relevant:




A: Scanned from p138 of Baer's book, depicting a Roemer-made Versuchshelm. Coronal suture (highlighted); twelve small holes of identical size; edge of the liner is sewn flat (similar to that of the M-38); four-piece foam padding around the liner band.

B: David F's helmet. Coronal suture (highlighted); eight small holes and four large ones (arrows), positioned at opposite ends of the liner (assembled from two identical half panels); edge of the liner is not sewn flat; five-piece foam padding around the liner band (three in the brow area, similar to that of the M-38, but only long single pieces in the occipitotemporal area, instead of the shorter twin pieces found on the M-38).

C: Peter S' helmet. Coronal suture (highlighted); eight small holes and four large ones (arrows), oriented the same way as in "B"; edge of the liner is not sewn flat; three-piece foam padding (single piece in the brow area, unlike in "B").

D: David P's helmet. Coronal suture (highlighted); eight small holes and four large ones (arrows), positioned laterally on the frontal half, and medially on the posterior half (exactly like on the M-38; this is the only liner in this group made from two half-panels that are different from each other); edge of the liner is not sewn flat; three piece foam padding, similar to "C".

E: My mystery helmet. The only one with a sagittal suture (highlighted); eight small holes and four large ones (arrows), looking very much like "C" and "F", but rotated 90 degrees; edge of the liner is not sewn flat; three piece padding, similar to the others. The stubby look in the picture is an artifact of the camera angle. The actual helmet shape is comparable to that of "C", only with a less pronounced brow curvature.

F: A suspected put-together discussed in one of the linked threads above. The shell appears to be that of an M-38, but the liner is visually identical to that of "C".


In addition, I would add that the helmet "Uncle Kurt" just posted has a liner very similar to that of helmet "A" (small holes throughout, edge of the liner sewn flat), in addition to having M-38 style straps (which is very unusual in its own right). Externally, it is a dead-ringer for the helmet worn by the Funker on p143 of Baer's book, which also shows distinctly pronounced flaring in the "neck guard" area.

Since Cyrus Lee's book was mentioned in the thread, I might as well include the helmet in question for discussion here. The liner shown on p31 of his book (published at around the same time as Baer's book, incidentally) shows an "A" type liner (small holes, sewn edge), except with a seven piece foam padding around the liner band, exactly like on the M-38. Since Lee is a WAF member, maybe he'll stumble onto this thread and give us his thoughts himself?


What can we conclude from all this?

1) There are more than one "text book" examples of this type of helmet in existence. Even the ultimate text book author himself wasn't sure how many there are. I wouldn't be surprised if Baer considers all of the liners shown here to be of a single type in his classification scheme; which could mean either a) there were numerous small variations within a single trial liner type, or b) the only thing consistent in the way the fakers made these M-38 style liners was their propensity to be wildly off the mark!

2) Unless a feature is known to be made by the fakers, we can't readily dismiss it based on the fact that it is different from its counterpart on a known original. Indeed, in the context of these helmets, I would argue that the more a feature differs from that of the M-38, the less likely it was faked.

3) Since we are looking at trial helmets in general, the fact that something is not often seen, or has never been described before is not necessarily a death sentence against its authenticity.

4) In the absence of exhaustive and authoritative references, we may have to fall back on our personal experience, basic logic and horse sense when deciding where we should draw the line; which means we may end up on different sides of the line, even while looking at the same set of data.

5) Reenactors are a bane to a collector's existence, especially across generational lines


Now I'm done. Thanks!

Gene T
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Old 10-01-2010, 10:45 AM   #54
Gordon Craig
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Gene T,

Well said and an exhaustive study as usual. Since you are done I won't rehash what I have already said. My thoughts on your helmet remain the same. Here are pictures of my two helmets for reference purposes. The first picture shows the two helmets side by side from the front. The second shows them side by side from the rear. At some point before I acquired the brown helmet someone attempted to remove the brown paint.

Regards,

Gordon
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Last edited by Gordon Craig; 10-01-2010 at 10:52 AM. Reason: correct a typo
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Old 10-01-2010, 10:50 AM   #55
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The interior of the two helmets. The dark coloured liner, very sweat stained, is the interior if the brown helmet. The blue helmet appears never to have been issued and the leather has deteriorated some what.
I took close up pictures of the rivets but I won't post them unless someone is interested in seeing them.
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Old 10-01-2010, 12:19 PM   #56
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Thanks for following up with these photos of your helmet, Gordon! Every bit of additional data helps, given how little reliable reference we have to work with when examining these. I've done all the speculating I care to do on the topic, but I'll still allow myself to comment if I see something interesting.

Both of your helmets appear to be the "C" type. The brown over-painted one has a smaller liner (I'm guessing a 55 - 56?), hence the thicker padding around the band. The blue one is probably a size 59 or 60, as the padding on it is as thin as on mine. This is consistent with what Baer mentioned in his book, that only one shell size was made for the trials (I'm guessing a 68). Given how many different types of shell were tested, this was actually quite surprising to me.

This type of liner was deemed a reproduction by a well-respected WAFer in the threads I linked to, although it wasn't quite clear to me whether he knew this for a fact or if it was based on circumstantial evidence.

If anything, I think the existence of my sagittally oriented liner makes it more likely that the "C" type liner (like yours) is authentic (and vice versa), because the two are essentially identical, minus the orientation. It is easier for me to conceive of the trial helmet designers experimenting with a different liner orientation than the fakers doing the same; the objectives and constraints are quite different in the two instances.

Why would they experiment with rotating the liner 90 degrees? Perhaps to accommodate someone with a broad head? The coronal suture creates two potential pressure points where the seam meets the liner band, making the helmet uncomfortable to wear for the odd brachycephalic recruit. I've always thought that Max Schmeling looked a little uncomfortable in his M-38 . . .

There, I'm going off on a tangent and speculating again. Time to stop.


cheers,
Gene T
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:33 PM   #57
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Since this is related and topical... here's something I won today. Supposedly GSG-9. Certainly different than the BW helmets we've been discussing so far. Hopefully it isn't a purchase I'm going to regret







Any thoughts or comments?

Steve
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:02 PM   #58
Gordon Craig
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Steve,

This is a very interesting helmet. I have never seen anything like it before. It appears to be a cross between a cut down M1A1 helmet and a purpose built para helmet. I have never seen helmet pictures that showed all the views that your photos show in any discussion on GSG helmets. I certainly would have bought a helmet like this.

Regards,

Gordon
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:32 PM   #59
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Thanks Gordon! Yes, the problem I have is most of the pics I've seen are on eBay, and most sellers don't know what they have. If it is someone who is used to selling Polizei/BGS stuff, then it's a GSG-9 helmet. If it is someone who is used to selling BW stuff, then it's a Fallschirrmjäger helmet. If it is someone who sells neither, then it probably is sold as FJ.

The interesting thing about my liner is its similarity to the later 1962 FJ helmet (M1 style). I think that is important to figuring out who wore this.

I really have go get some specialized BRD helmet books!

Steve
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Old 10-04-2010, 03:30 AM   #60
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Steve,

From the photos you posted, this helmet looks to be a ventless M35/53 with its neck guard trimmed off, then refitted with GSG-9 type straps. The reason I suspect it's a cut-down conversion is that the rim appears to have been left in the raw; which is quite atypical for a purpose-built jump helmet.

TJ posted a number of his ventless helmets in the thread below, including one with a surprisingly humongous size 71 shell; it's not too hard to picture the conversion process using one of these as the starting point:
http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...=251101&page=6

Baer had very little to say about the GSG-9 helmet in his book, other than that it was first issued at the beginning of the '70s, and that it was modeled after the earlier LL-Truppe Versuchshelm.

There may have been more than one type of liners installed in these, but one of the characteristics that all jump helmets (GSG-9/Police, as well as BW) had in common was that their liners invariably came with impact dampening provisions, such as padding around the liner band, and/or safety webbing across the dome. Indeed, these features should be considered de rigueur, given that these specialized lids are meant to double as crash helmets, in addition to providing the wearer with some degree of ballistic protection.

This particular example appears to be free of such features.

The fact that all components seen here are undoubtedly of German origin and from the correct time period means that this "could" be yet another undocumented variant of the Versuchshelm, perhaps one that played a part in the early stages of the R&D program that eventually produced the 'definitive' GSG-9 jump helmet. However, the 'entry barrier' for converting an M35/53 to look like this is arguably quite low. Other than cutting, grinding, drilling and painting, little else appears to have been done to alter the original M35/53 shell and liner in this specific instance. A determined and reasonably skilled hobbyist can probably produce something similar-looking in his garage, using common power tools. Only a hands-on study could reveal whether this is more likely a factory job or home-made.

It sounds to me like you yourself were not entirely convinced of the helmet's GSG-9 origin, perhaps based on the same observations that I enumerated above. Still, this is an interesting piece to have and study, as long as the price was right.

In terms of reference books, you really can't go wrong with those monographs penned by Baer.


cheers,

Gene T
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