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John Burnett Helmet Forum One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the German fighting force was their Stahlhelm.

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M44 liner
Old 04-27-2005, 05:20 PM   #76
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Default M44 liner

To clarify: both of these liners are the M44. (looking above each split rivet, a square bracket can be seen). The M31 is not yet posted. Sorry for the mixup--i am still having some difficulty posting pics.

The term "non-standard" perfectly describes the M44 liner when compared to the M31. I previously listed a comparison of the two, but did not mention the "media". According to "Wehrmacht Combat Helmets 1933-1945" p.19 the M31 liner was made of either goatskin or (latewar) pigskin. The M44 liners pictured here appear to be made of a dark low-quality leather, very rough to the touch. A good example of low quality leather is the post war Bulgarian M51/72 liner. As was pointed out, another characteristic of the M44 is it's ill-fitting appearance. This could be due to two factors: the single band is fairly thin, and it's shape can distort easily. also, the 3 "v" clips are flexible and can cause certain areas of the band to pull further away from the shell.

According to Baer (p.383-402 1985 ed.), The M44 liner was designed for the prototype helmets. In autumn of 1944 the results of prototype helmet testing were presented to the leader for approval, which he turned down. So in late 1944 all testing was complete and the selected prototypes and the M44 liner were ready for mass production. Even though the prototype shells were not mass produced, there would have been no reason for the economical M44 liner not to be mass produced.
Considering the strain that the german war industry was under in late 1944-1945, it is no surprise that the quality of equipment was lower than previously. e.g. poor finishes on weapons/bayonets, lots of ersatz material, etc.. It should not seem unusual that the leather of the late war M44 liner should be of substandard quality when compared to the M31. Even though the quality may have been poor, it was still fully functional. The steel components of the M44 tend to rust easily, probably due to a lack of corrosion proofing.

Either the M45 is an original wartime model, or it isn't. My reasons for generating discussion is to gather many experienced minds to hopefully solve the mystery. My motivation is not "faith in this model being original", but, rather that there is some evidence to suggest that it could be. For myself, evidence such as: "no wartime documentation", "non-standard components", "no photographic evidence", while being true evidence worthy of consideration, is not in itself conclusive to allow the collecting community to close the book on the M45 as being "not original".

Last edited by Brian Ice; 04-27-2005 at 10:47 PM.
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M45 lot numbers
Old 04-28-2005, 11:36 PM   #77
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Default M45 lot numbers

While the lot numbers on two CKL (ckl) M45 helmets are fairly high (CKL66 4382) and (ckl64 3025) they are by no means the highest, as i have seen CKL (ckl) M42 helmets with lot numbers in the 5000 range. (those in the know, please inform me) Concerning the M42 shell (of ET/CKL manufacture in this case) the higher the lot number, the later in time the shell was produced. I originally thought that the M45 helms should have the highest lot numbers, if made last. But since there are M42 helms with higher lot numbers, were the M42 and M45 made at the same time? When i received the ET64 1530 M45 helm i realized that i was on the wrong track. From my understanding, the ET M42 was made from 7/42 to 8/43. At this time the factory mark was changed to CKL (ckl) and moved to the rear flange (along with the metric size) with the lot number. (all info now on the rear flange) (Also the branch of service insignia was no longer applied at factorys.) To my knowledge, the ET mark was never used again.
How then does an M45 helm have an ET mark? Apparently, it was an old stock shell.

Allow me to theorize about the workings of a WWII german hemet factory:

Around 7/42 rough edged shells begin to be punched out and marked with factory code, metric size, and lot number. These shells are still hole-less, vent-less, and paint-less. Let us call these unfinished shells "blanks". Some blanks continue down the assembly line and are finished as M42 helms. Other blanks are stacked/stored for future use. (a ventless helm would stack easier than one with vents) Over time a considerable amount of blank stock might be accumulated. Toward late 1944/early 1945 steel shipments may have been interrupted or ceased altogether due to the war. The halting of steel shipments would not necessarily have halted helmet production, as the accumulated back stock of blanks could have been utilized to enable the factory to continue to produce a completed product. This back stock could contain blanks with the full range of lot numbers and both the earlier (ET) and the later (CKL-ckl) codes.
"Wartime documentation" of the M45, if it exists, may have consisted of simply an order to hemet factorys to cease vent hole installation as a time/labor saving measure. Possibly no serimonious designation as "M44" or "M45". These unfinished blanks would now be completed, not as the M42, but as the M45 ventless.
This could explain a ET marked M45 (which appears to have sat uncompleted at the helmet factory for up to 2 1/2 years). So then, helmets with the highest lot numbers (the last to be stamped out) were not necessarily the last to be completed (as the M45). The 5 - M45 helms i have examined all appear to be "back stock" helms, meaning there are M42 helms with higher lot numbers.
In conclusion, there appears to be no "correct" wartime marking for the M45: early or late factory codes, and low to high lot numbers being acceptable, since all back stock appears to have been utilized during german industry's difficult last days.
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Old 04-29-2005, 12:00 AM   #78
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BTW, are M-40 & M-42 official designations? (In Europe collectors more often use M-35/40 & M-35/42, which makes it clear that these are sub-types & not really separate models. Same with M-16, 16/17, 16/18.)
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M35/M40/M42/M45 designations
Old 04-29-2005, 05:08 PM   #79
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Default M35/M40/M42/M45 designations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frentebro
BTW, are M-40 & M-42 official designations? (In Europe collectors more often use M-35/40 & M-35/42, which makes it clear that these are sub-types & not really separate models. Same with M-16, 16/17, 16/18.)
According to Baer (p.115 1985 ed.) the "stahlhelm 35" (M35) was an offical designation. (6/35)
In 3/40 was the order to emboss airvents (but apparently no official M40 designation) (p.135).
In 7/42 was the order to abandon the inward crimping of the rim (but apparently no official M42 designation) (p.136).
The references Baer, Goodapple Vol II, and Bell do not seem to specifically mention an official M40 or M42 designation.
Unless wartime docmentation can be found to reveal these designations as official, then it is very possible that there was no official "M44" or "M45" designation to refer to the ventless late-war hemet.

I understand that in the UK the M42 helmet is commonly refered to as the M43.
I understand the term "M35/40" to be a fairly recent term to describe a either the rolled edge M35 or M40. It probably originated from a helmet reference book and has become somewhat popular among some collectors. IMHO this designation is deliberately ambiguous and should be avoided.
However, if M35/40 referrs to a M35 helm that was reworked in 1940 (e.g. new liner w/steel band, and a new coat of wartime rough texture paint), then this designation would seem to fit.
These designations seem to mean different things, and some seem to be collector designations. For example, M17/35 (goodapple Vol II p.121) refers to a M17 (german?) helm reworked (cutdown, re-stretched, re-rolled edges) into the M35 shape (style). (I believe a collector designation)

It seems that generally the first designation refers to the first year the model was made. After the slash or dash, then the year it was reworked. e.g. M42/53 would refer to a M42 german helm reworked (new liner system, new paint) in 1953 (for the BGS in this case).

However Marzetti (p.116 1996 ed.) refers to helmet #32.94 ( BGS rolled edged ventless and vented helms) as the "M35-53". "It has the same shape as the old M.35/40 helmet....". So, in this case, "M35" refers to the shape of the hemet, and "-53" refers to the first year of manufacture.
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Old 04-29-2005, 07:34 PM   #80
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Gents,

I agree with Brian Ice's response to Frentebro's question about the "M40, M42, M45, etc." helmet designations. These designations are indeed not proper German nomenclature. They are simply collector-speak for helmet variations so we English speakers would all know what we are discussing or looking at. That is one of the reasons that the so-called Muster tag stuck in the helmet shown under the "Suspect B/II M45" thread below is completely improper and a main reason that I considered it to be a fake. This so-called 1945 helmet had a glued on piece of paper that indicated the helmet was a, "Versuchs Helm M45 Muster..." that utilized this completely improper terminology. The Germans did not use "Model 45" designations as we Americans did/do. They called out the name of the thing, i.e. "Stahlhelm 35" in their nomenclature and would certainly not have used the American style "M45" designation on an official Muster or Probe tag. Aside from the tag being a completely improper German Ordnance style of tag, it would have described the helmet as a "S45" or "Stahlhelm 45" if using such nomenclature at all.

One simply needs to look at the German nomenclature for bayonets. The bayonet that most collectors call the "K98" bayonet is in reality the Seitengewehr 84/98. This collector-speak of "K98" actually incorrectly refers to the rifle/carbine the bayonet attaches to, the Karbiner 98 (another proper German designation for the carbine as opposed to the rifle, which is a Gewehr 98 [G98] in German nomenclature). The proper German designation for this bayonet is the S84/98 and would never be referred to in German documents as the "K98" bayonet as that is the designation for the carbine.

Just my two cents.
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Old 04-29-2005, 09:27 PM   #81
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I think you will get no argument that the M40, M42 are collector terms. Its all variations of the M35 series.

Ludwig Baers book does show documentation that the new design(at the time likely the B/II or Thale) would be designated M45.
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stahlhelm 35
Old 04-29-2005, 10:05 PM   #82
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Default stahlhelm 35

To agree with perry,i would like to thank schupo for shedding light on this subject.
In reading the article "The Development of New German Helmets During the Second World War" (Ludwig Baer "The History of the German Steel Helmet 1916-1945" pp.383-402 1985 ed.) which appears to be a translation of wartime documents, it becomes apparent that the designation "stahlhelm35" (translated model 35 or M35) is a general term that refers to all "collector-designated" M35, M40 and M42 helmets. Never in this article is there a reference to "stahlhelm40" or "stahlhelm 42", even though in the (Bundesarchive) helmet test pictures, M40 and M42 helmets (and possibly an M35) are clearly being tested. The designation "stahlhelm 45" (translated M45) was to refer to the protoype helmet selected for mass production. Since this prototype was never selected, "stahlhelm 45" was apparently never officially applied to a helmet model.

So then, to use official german WWII terminology, M40 is simply a "stahlhelm 35" with embossed vents.
M42 is a "stahlhelm 35" with embossed vents and uncrimped edge.
And apparently, the M45 ventless is just a "stahlhelm 35" with uncrimped edge and no vents.
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Old 04-30-2005, 03:15 AM   #83
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More photos from Brian.

ckl 64 liner
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Old 04-30-2005, 03:17 AM   #84
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ckl 64 shell
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Old 04-30-2005, 03:18 AM   #85
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et 64 army
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Old 04-30-2005, 03:43 AM   #86
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Last edited by Blindpew; 10-07-2005 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 04-30-2005, 05:11 AM   #87
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Just as a side note, even the M45 shown does not have the "dead matte" finish of the Schiffergrau reworks; dead matte seems to be limited to those & was not a standard feature of later helms. From what i have seen those were semi-matte. But i'm not an expert.
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Old 04-30-2005, 07:03 AM   #88
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How come the last one shows a decal??? wernt they eliminated after 43?
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Old 04-30-2005, 07:19 AM   #89
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Last edited by Blindpew; 10-07-2005 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 04-30-2005, 09:54 AM   #90
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Sorry but that decal is a well known reproduction and I would expect to see it on such a helmet actually.
Be careful at that site
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