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German Helmet Sizes & Liners

Reddick Militaria>> Articles>> German Helmet Sizes & Liners

German Helmet Shell and Liner Sizes

The Model 35 helmet was described in Luftwaffe Directive 422:

Article excerpt courtesy of R. James Bender Publishing, The History of the German Steel Helmet from 1916 to 1945 by Ludwig Baer, Translated by K. Daniel Dahl

Image source: Combat Helmets Of The Third Reich Vol 1 & Combat Helmets Of The Third Reich Vol 2, both by Thomas Kibler

German Helmet Shell and Liner Sizes

NOTE Interior of Helmet shown above: Owner's name "Schmidlke" in script print & the more recent drawstring replacement.

Model 1935 M-35 Steel German Helmets
TOP: Model 1935 (M-35) Steel Helmet
TOP: Model 1935 (M-35) Double Decal, First Pattern (Bent Leg) Helmet "ET"
Model 1935 M-35 Steel German Helmets- Size Marking
Size marking painted on transitional helmet.
German Helmets- Liner date stamp

Liner date stamp 1940

German Helmets- Liner rivet

Liner rivet

German Helmets- Liner rivet

Gray painted steel chinstrap buckle

German Helmets- Maker Stamp

Maker stamp "42"

German Helmets- Production Number

Production Number

German M-40 Helmets

Model 1940 (M-40) Single (Double) Decal Helmet "SE"

German M-40 Helmets

A near mint example of a galvanized banded helmet liner (SE Model 1940 M-40 steel helmet) and drawstring. Note the stitching through the tongue and the round, encircled "59" ink stamp. Size 66 shells would fit either a size "58" or "59" liner.

German M-40 Helmets

Model 1942 (M-42) Single Decal Helmet "ET"

Although the old helmet had proven itself in the First World War, its form, weight and overall appearance were no longer popular. The vulcanized rubber helmet did not perform well during its tests and so the development of a new helmet was undertaken. Testing of the new helmet was concluded in the beginning of June 1935. The new helmet was designated as the "Steel Helmet 35" (Stahlhelm 35) by the Supreme Commander of the Army. "General Army Correspondence" number 289 made the following statement:

German Helmet Shell and Liner Sizes
  • In consideration of the drawbacks of the current steel helmet (hindrances to sight and hearing while slighting, shooting and operating optical devices) a new helmet model was developed and it has proved to be practical in tests by training and research personnel. Field trials are completed. The improved model has been designated as the Stahlhelm 35 and it will replace the helmet which up until this time was used by both mounted and unmounted troops. The new helmet has no ear cutouts nor ventilation lugs. It has a somewhat higher visor; the visor, sides and neck apron are somewhat shortened. Test results, descriptions and instructions for adjusting and wearing the helmet will be issued at a later date. The allowable duration of wear remains the same.
  • The previous helmet sizes (60, 62, 64, 66, and 68) will be retained. Intermediate sizes (61,63, 65, and 67) will be achieved by variation of the liner.
  • As of 1 July 1935, new requisitions will be filled with Model 35 helmets. These requisitions are to be forwarded without delay from the Army Clothing Offices to the Procurement Office.
    • In consideration of future requests for Model 35 helmets, a supply will be held in reserve. All future requisitions are to state helmet sizes, intermediate sizes and head sizes as follows:
  • The Model 31 liner system remains unaltered.
  • Those existing helmets which are now in use are to be replaced by the Model 35 helmet and will be disposed of at a later date.
  • Dispositions about the functionality evaluation in the field trials of the vulcanized rubber helmet are the concern of the regional defense districts.
    25 June 1935        (signed)
    V.5 III. b.          Supreme Commander of the Army
  • A. Description

    The helmet is formed from sheet steel between 1.1 and 1.2 mm thick. At no point is the thickness less than 0.95 mm. It is seamlessly stamped and the entire rim is crimped inwardly to a width of about 5 mm. The size of the helmet is so measured that the entire inside surface stands away 20 mm from the wearer's head. Holes to accommodate the liner- retaining rivets are located at the rear center of the helmet and on each forward side, slightly ahead of each temple. On each side are also openings for the insertion of the ventilation bushings. The lower portion of the helmet extends outward at the sides and rear to form a throat (sic) and neck apron. The edge of the apron is horizontal so that the helmet sits in a level manner when it is placed on an eve surface.

    The helmet is coated inside and out with a rust-proofing grey-blue paint. The army uses a matte grey paint. Applied three millimeters under the ventilation holes are: a) on the right side, a shield-shaped device in the Reich's colors (black/white/red), and b) on the left side, the service insigne of the Luftwaffe in a silver-grey color (for generals, technicians and officials of general rank a gold colored insigne).

    The central axis of the insigne must fall exactly in the center of the ventilation hole and must be perpendicular to the rim of the helmet. The shield 3.3 cm wide and 4 cm high. The colors must be weatherproof.

    The helmet is manufactured in five sizes: 60, 62, 64, 66 and 68. This means that the inner circumference of the helmet at the point where the dome meets the apron is the measured size. The intermediate sizes are achieved by variations in the size of the liner.

    B. Adjustment & Positioning of the Steel Helmet 35

    • The helmet provides protection against shrapnel and small grenade fragments. This was demonstrated by experience during the last war. The helmet's weight and method of positioning are extremely important and are directly related to its ballistic integrity.
    • The helmet sizes are stamped into the underside of the neck apron. The sizes run as follows:
      • Size 60 for head size 53, weight 810 - 930 grams
      • Size 62 for head size 55, weight 880 - 1000 grams
      • Size 64 for head size 57, weight 920 - 1070 grams
      • Size 66 for head size 59, weight 1000 - 1125 grams
      • Size 68 for head size 61, weight 1025 - 1170 grams
      • Size 70 for head size 63, weight 1060 - 1230 grams
        All of these weights are measured without the liner and chinstrap.

        Intermediate Size For Head Size
        61 54
        63 56
        65 58
        67 60
        69 62

    These intermediate sizes are achieved through variance of the liner.

    The visor should be aligned with the eyebrows. For a correctly fitting helmet, the proper helmet size must be selected to insure that the correct size for the head is obtained. A gap must exist between the head and the leather liner so that, if the helmet is dented by impact, head injury is circumvented.

  • The helmet's ventilation is achieved by ventilation openings on each side of the helmet.
  • The application of insignia other than the authorized service insignia and national color shield is forbidden.

    In peacetime, the use of grass, twigs, etc. for camouflage may only be authorized by the commanding officer. Smearing the helmet with clay, soil, and so forth is forbidden. In the field (under combat conditions), all possibilities for camouflage are encouraged.
  • If the chinstrap is not worn under the chin, it is to be placed around the top of the visor.
  • Misuse of the helmet (e.g. cooking in it) is forbidden. The metal loses its tempering and Ballistic integrity when it is subjected to heat.
  • If the surface paint is damaged, it must be touched up or totally repainted as soon as possible in order to prevent the formation of rust. Polishing, lacquering, or smearing the helmet with grease is forbidden. By doing this, the helmet loses its matte, glare-free finish.
  • Simple repairs to the helmet are to be carried out by the unit armorer. For repairs to liner, troops are advised to take the helmet to the unit leatherworker.
  • During warehouse storage, extra helmets are to be stacked with a sheet of paper between each so that the surfaces will not be damaged. These stacked helmets are not to exceed five high.
  • C. Steel Helmet Rivet with Washer

    • The three-part rivet and washer are manufactured from brass sheeting and are then zinc- coated by galvanization. The head of the rivet is rounded and lacquered in a blue-grey color. The color of the rivet head must correspond as closely as possible to the color of the helmet.
    • Specifications:
      Liner-retaining rivet:
      Head diameter 13 mm with 0.2 mm variance
      Head height 1.5 mm with 0.95 mm variance
      Shank length 17.5 mm with 0.5 mm variance
      Shank width 6 mm with 0.3 mm variance
      Shank thickness 0.55 mm with 0.02 mm variance
      Rounded shank end radius 3 mm with 0.02 mm variance

      Washer diameter 12 mm with 0.2 mm variance
      Washer thickness 1 mm with 0.05 mm variance
      Slot Length 6.5 mm with 0.02 mm variance
      Slot width 1 mm with 0.02 mm variance
      Crosspiece width 3.5 mm with 0.1 mm variance
    • Weight of the rivet and washer: ca. 3.5 grams
    • The rivet is stamped on the flat side of the shank with the company stamp and the year of manufacture.
    • The rivets are packed in such a way that the painted heads are not damaged. The name of the manufacturer is to appear on the cardboard packing box.
    • D. Liner System for the Steel Helmet 35 Without Chinstraps

      The term "liner system" refers to the Model 31 liner. Only the materials of which it is made Are described herein:

      • Outer ring: light metal (aluminum-magnesium alloy) in accordance with production number 12 240.
      • Inner ring: light metal (aluminum-silicon-magnesium alloy) in accordance with production number 12 240.
      • Springs: made of the best spring steel. The scratch-resistant lacquer must be baked on the surface.
      • Hanging loops with rings: light metal (aluminum-silicon-magnesium alloy) in accordance with production number 12 240, sand polished.
      • Rivets and attachment pins: aluminum-silicon-magnesium alloy in accordance with production number 12 240.
      • Leather lining: split or unsplit sheep or goat leather must be tanned with plant agents, although the use of synthetic tanning agents in conjunction is also permitted. Sumach tanning chemicals for post-treatment are permitted. Mineral tanning agents are prohibited.
        • The ash content of the leather may not exceed 6% and the total rinsing loss, 7%. The fat content of the leather must fall between 3% and 8%.
        • The leather's free fatty acid content (calculated as oleic acid) must not exceed 2%. The leather must be free from strongly acting free acids and any chemicals that may be hazardous to health (for example, soluble synthetic tanning agents, cellulose extracts, etc.).
        • Only leather may be used in the production of the sweat lining. This leather is to be released for processing only after close examination.
        • Felt strip: made of uncolored sheep wool (30% mixture), but without the addition of any plant fibres. The felt must be shrink-resistant and mothproof.
        • Drawstring: made of cotton with a 20% cotton admixture. The tensile strength is 11 kg at a 30 cm segment length.
        • Sewing thread: The thread used for stitching the leather lining and felt strip is machine linen thread No. 30/3 metric (50/3 English); for the closing seam of the leather liner, machine linen thread No. 10/3 metric (18/3 English) is used.
        • E. Stamping:

          On the outer ring, the following inscriptions are applied:

          • behind the right hanging loop - the manufacturer's name and the year of production.
          • behind the left hanging loop - the helmet size and the corresponding head size.
          • F. Chinstrap for the helmet liner system:

            • A two-piece strap made of natural leather, the outside of which has been grained and dyed a chocolate color.
            • The short strap has at one end a single pronged, double bar buckle that is attached to the leather strap with two rows of stitches (eight stitches per row). On the other end are two pear-shaped buttonholes for the insertion of the double-ended button.
            • The long strap has at one end 13 holes in a row for adjustment and at the other end, the two pear-shaped buttonholes.
            • The chinstrap buckle is a single pronged type; the prong has a slight curvature. The tip of the prong is flattened and rests against the lower bar of the buckle, but cannot pass beyond it. The double button is the same on both sides and each end is circular with a very small radius. The outer surface of each end is slightly domed.
            • Positioning: Both straps are inserted through the hanging loops from the inside to the outside buttonhole end first. The double button then secures the end of the strap to the hanging loop. The buckle is normally worn on the left side of the face, except by left-handed shooters who are to reverse it to the right side.
            • Material: the straps are made of the best grained leather. Both leather and coloring must be acid free. The buckle and double-ended buttons are made of aluminum in accordance with DIN (German industrial Standard) 1713, Group 4, hardened and then sand-polished.
            • Specifications:
            • Leather thickness ca. 2 mm
              Strap width ca. 15 mm
              Strap length (longer segment) ca. 435 mm
              Distance from the first hole to the point of the strap ca. 30 mm
              Distance between buckle holes .15 mm
              Distance from the 1st pear-shaped
              buttonhole to the end of the strap
              ca. 22 mm
              Distance (center-to-center) between buttonholes ca. 35 mm
              Length of the shorter strap (including buckle)
              (Buttonhole dimensions are the same on the longer strap as well.)
              ca. 110 mm
              Length from the loop to the buckle ca. 25 mm
              Size of the buckle ca. 16 mm

              M35, M40 & M42 model helmets of the German Wehrmacht in World War II were sized as follows:

              Shell Size Liner Size
              60 52-53
              62 54-55
              64 56-57
              66 58-59
              68 60-61
              70 62-63

              Specifications for the M-31 Liner System for the M35 Helmet

              Original Helmet Manufacturers:

              Initially helmets were produced by the Eisen-und Hüttenwerke, Thale, and the Sächsische Emaillier-und Stanzwereke, A.G., Lauter. Later, three more companies were included in the production of German helmets: F.W. Quist, Esslingen; Emaillirwerk A.G., Fulda; and Vereinigte Deutsche Nickelwerke A.G., Schwerte/Ruhr. Liners were produced by Schuberth-Werk, Braunschweig; Biedermann u. Czarnikow, Berlin; F.W. Müller Jr., Berlin; Werner Zahn, Berlin; Biedermann und Czarnikow, Litzmannstadt and Karl Heisler, Berlin. By examining surviving specimens, it is not difficult to identify the helmet producers based on their abbreviations found inside the helmet shell.

              ET (later ckl) Eisenhüttenwerke, Thale
              NS Vereinigte Deutsche Nickelwerke, Schwerte
              Q Quist, Esslingen
              SE Sächsische Emaillier - und Stanzwerke, Lauter
              FS of EF Emaillirwerk A.G., Fulda

              According to remaining records, approximately 25 million German helmets were produced from 1935 to the end of the war.