Extremely difficult to find all original droop-bill M18 shell exclusively used by Allgemine-SS up until 1932 later replaced by the M35 DD version in 1935. I have the original outer liner band and most of the original SS chinstrap which will be included with the shell however in the meantime I have already added a historically accurate and professionally aged reproduction WW1 liner system and so the helmet is now complete.
This droop-bill was a direct purchase from a dealer in Germany and originally had a thick layer of sky blue paint on the outside with what I believe to be original black paint on the remaining on the inside. I used some non-acetone nail polish remover a lot of elbow grease to remove the sky blue post war over paint. When I got down to the original black paint I could see that most of it was already gone however there was still a lot of black paint under neath both lug vents where the SS and Party Shield decals would have been. I looked at it very closely and could see no signs of decals ever being applied so I went ahead and restored the outside in period correct satin black paint. Before adding the black paint you could see enough of the bare metal which was not rusted at all and only had spots of smooth brown metal so a very solid shell indeed (no pitting or cracks) most likely saved by the post war blue paint. The helmet came with it’s original brass banded leather outer liner band and it’s transitional pre-war SS issued chinstrap which appears to be complete and fully in tact. I most likely am going to continue to work on this one and try to hunt down an original size 66 WW1 liner to fully complete the piece leaving the original SS issued chinstrap still in place so in many ways this is a project not quite yet finished. There is a small shallow dent at the top of the helmet which is very common among droop-bills since these shells have a rather thin gauge and were never meant for front line combat. Every single original SS droop-bill I’ve seen online has 2-3 dents on the top so this one is comparatively in near perfect condition.
After staring at this nice finished 100% original SS droop-bill in a beautifully aged satin black finish I just couldn’t help myself but to continue with my restoration efforts and add a historically accurate C.A. Pocher style metallic white SS decal and historically accurate thick cross Party Shield decal. So now I think it really looks the part and is a great tribute helmet in my view from the nasty mess it was when I first received it. The liner is a high level reproduction and professionally aged to blend in nicely with the rest of the outside shell. I will include the original outer liner band and SS issued chinstrap with the rest of the helmet as I believe that all parts should stay with the piece whenever possible for the sake of history.
As you can see from the very last photo the real Allegmeine-SS droop-bill helmets had a very unique manufacturing technique whereby they were actually finished on lathes and not just press stamped like later models. As a result the metal’s exterior finish has very fine evenly spaced grooves on the surface running horizontally much like you would see on an LP record. This is a great indicator of authenticity and something impossible to fake so a great detection method however as of yet I have seen no evidence of any droop-bill repros being produced so for right now in 2014 I think we have nothing to fear from cheap imports.
$800 .00 includes professionally aged WW1 liner already installed plus original SS outer liner band and SS chinstrap originally issued with the helmet.
($12,000 is the going price for an original Allegemeine-SS DD from a reputable dealer such as Kelly Hicks, Ken. N etc…so $800 I feel is quite fair considering the shell, liner band and chinstrap are 100% period pre-war SS)
BACKGROUND HISTORY- Allgemeine-SS “Droop-Bill” M-18 D/D Helmet
Allgemeine-SS Commercially Produced “Droop-Bill” M-18 Double Decal Helmet. The helmet shell is a size 66 and is marked “D.R.P” “ang.” It is factory painted with a smooth, black finish. The shell retains approx. 90% of it’s finish, with most of the wear on the top portion. It also shows areas of small, scattered spots of light oxidation, and wear. The right side of the shell features a sig-rune decal which is approx. 96% with some small, scattered spots, and a small chip to the top portion of the right hand side rune. The left side of the helmet features a party decal, which is in similar condition to the runic decal, and is also approx. 96% or better. The helmet has a leather liner, which has three separate portions, with two fingers to each portion. The liner retains it’s original cord drawstring. The liner band is made of leather, and shows signs of where two M-18 type chinstrap D rings were once located. The two D rings are no longer present, leaving a small hole, and impression of where they once were attached to the liner band. The liner is complete with all three of the split rivets. The helmet is uncleaned. The overall condition is very good+ Please call of email for further information. Price upon request. GMA-6545
For all practical considerations, members serving with the General-SS (Allgemeine-SS) wore standard SS pattern helmets according to regulations held across the organization as a whole. Members of the Allgemeine-SS were not intended to serve as military combatants like their cohorts in the Armed-SS (Waffen-SS). However, membership generally dictated a period of military training upon acceptance to the organization. During this time, members of the Allgemeine-SS were temporarily issued helmets for training purposes. Those members who served in guard or security duties did so through active assignment with the elite life guard unit dedicated to Hitler’s personal protection (Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler-LAH), as well as with the SS Security Police (SS-Sicherheitspolizei). Members of these organizations wore helmets configured according to the regulations within each of these groups1. During parade and ceremony functions, men of the Allgemeine-SS wore standard steel helmets in the configuration required by their unit. During high level parades or special events this generally included black painted helmets until they were officially removed from general service in 1932. A small number of black painted M1935 helmets (and possibly M1940 helmets3) remained in use by the elite guards serving in Hitler’s administrative buildings in Berlin. These helmets are clearly seen in the many photographs which include the building guards standing at doors and entrance ways. A clear example includes the guards who served at the Reichschancellery in Berlin. These guards are in fact men of LAH wearing the ceremonial black uniforms and helmets normally associated with pre-war parades.
1 It should be mentioned that a common misperception that continues to persist to this day is one that involves the supposed use of black helmets by members of the Allgemeine-SS. Unfortunately, this mistake is often made on the false assumption that some or all members of the SS wore black painted helmets. In truth, black SS helmets did exist but only for the purpose of elite guard and parade duty among all members of the SS. The most recognized of these helmets is the black M1935 helmet bearing the standard first pattern SS decals. However early transitional model helmets included the M1917, M1918, M1918 Ear Cut-Out, RZM, and Austrian pattern World War I models as well. These helmets are erroneously referred to by most collectors as Allgemeine-SS helmets simply because of their black color.
2 The myth that all SS troops wore black helmets (including those in combat roles) has been largely propagated by Hollywood films dating back as far as the 1940’s. Even to this day, many historians refer to Hitler’s SS as “black shirts.” This is yet another example of the misconception brought about by false information. In fact, the earliest Allgemeine-SS formations wore standard Storm Trooper (Sturmabteilungen-SA) uniforms with black highlights. These uniforms were initially brown in color.
3 The existence of the black double decal M1940 SS helmet remains in serious doubt by most modern collectors. Only a handful of known examples exist whose owners claim them to be authentic.
In 1934 the SS had grown to more than 250,000 members serving in a variety of military and administrative functions. It was decided that the total organization was best administered by dividing it into two distinct groups. The General SS (Allgemeine-SS) was the first of these groups and was reserved for men who served in administrative roles on a full and part-time basis. The second group was known as the Armed SS (Bewaffnete-SS) which was later renamed the Waffen-SS in July 1940. The Bewaffnete-SS encompassed all the SS units that were designated military by nature, and it included only men who were able to serve on a full-time basis like those serving in the German Armed Services (Wehrmacht). Both branches were totally integral to one another and their members swore loyalty only to Adolf Hitler.
Members of the Allgemeine-SS served in administrative units assigned to legal, race, economic, personnel, and security matters. Most of the Allgemeine-SS were concentrated on matters of State security for the purpose of enforcing National Socialist ideology including matters of racial purity. Members were trained to counter any type of political or civil unrest and were prepared to seize control of the national infrastructure if needed. This effort resulted in a close working relationship with State, local, and rural police organizations that provided day-to-day order among the civilian population. Many police officers were granted membership in the SS and the ties between the two organizations resulted in the eventual merging of several police related activities.
During wartime, members of the Allgemeine-SS contributed to home front activities related to Germany’s economy. This included working with leading industrialists, organizing, controlling, and directing foreign labor, and supporting groups such as the Air Protection Warning Service (Luftschutzwarndienst). In addition, the Allgemeine-SS played a foremost role in enforcing racial purity laws to include overseeing the operation of concentration camps in Germany and occupied countries. Near the war’s end, Home Guard units of Germany’s People’s Army (Volksturm) were organized by the Allgemeine-SS as a last ditch effort to provide defense against invading Allied armies.
1 The LAH independently fielded combat troops during the campaign against Poland. Elements later joined the SS-VT prior to the invasion of Russia in 1941.