Here is an incredibly rare example of a mid war Kriegsmarine single decal helmet in complete untouched all original condition and in a large size 66 to boot!
For every 100 or so Heer SD or Luftwaffe SD I encounter only about 1 of them are a genuine Kriegsmarine where both the rear lot numbers match to other known originals and the eagle is 3-D layered and golden not tea toned. Most KM's out there are in fact just toned Heer eagles where the tropical resin used to seal in the eagle turned yellowish or tea colored over time. A true KM is actually golden in color much like a gold coin.
This M40 helmet came out of the south west and shows very little if any rust due to the dry conditions it was kept. The maker is Emaillierwerke AG, Fulda, Germany "EF" and a metric size 66cm circumference giving us "EF66" which is large enough to fit most modern men's heads of today. The remaining KM eagle is textbook 3-D layered where you can see how the edge on the left wing is slightly raised up from the background shield. Also you can see where the swastika neatly flaked away leaving it's shadow image behind.
The rear lot number appears to be a 069 which places production in March of 1940 and lines up with Brian Ice's lot data book as a known batch number for KM helmets with an ET KM decal. The inside liner is in great condition as is the helmet's rarely seen full length original chinstrap marked "Otto Breitschuh Eisleben 1938".
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GERMAN HELMET FACTORY PRODUCTION CODES
(Every original German helmet produced from 1935 to 45 had two factory stampings punched into the side and rear or both in the rear. The alpha numeric number refers to the factory location and the inside metric circumference in centimeters. The rear lot number refers to the production run and was used as a quality control measure. The font styles used at each factory were slightly different but highly consistent throughout the war and so fakes or reproductions will either not have these numbers at all or they will use the wrong font style or letter spacing and so are easily identified as post war made.)
(FS or EF)-Emaillierwerke AG, Fulda, Germany
(ET or ckl)-Eisenhuttenwerke, Thale, Germany
(Q)-Quist, Esslingen, Germany
(NS)-Vereinigte Deutsche Nikelwerke, Schwerte, Germany
(SE or hkp)-Sachsische Emaillier u. Stanzwerke, Lauter, Germany
(The Kriegsmarine"War Navy") was the navy of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It superseded the Imperial German Navy of the German Empire (1871–1918) and the inter-war Reichsmarine (1919–1935) of the Weimar Republic. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches, along with the Heer and the Luftwaffe of the Wehrmacht, the German armed forces from 1933 to 1945.
In violation of the Treaty of Versailles, the Kriegsmarine grew rapidly during German naval rearmament in the 1930s. The 1919 treaty had limited the size of the German navy and prohibited the building of submarines.
Kriegsmarine ships were deployed to the waters around Spain during the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) under the guise of enforcing non-intervention, but in reality supported the Nationalists against the Spanish Republicans.
In January 1939, Plan Z was ordered, calling for surface naval parity with the British Royal Navy by 1944. When World War II broke out in September 1939, Plan Z was shelved in favour of a crash building program for submarines (U-boats) instead of capital surface warships and land and air forces were given priority of strategic resources.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine (as for all branches of armed forces during the period of absolute Nazi power) was Adolf Hitler, who exercised his authority through the Oberkommando der Marine.
The Kriegsmarine's most significant ships were the U-boats, most of which were constructed after Plan Z was abandoned at the beginning of World War II. Wolfpacks were rapidly assembled groups of submarines which attacked British convoys during the first half of the Battle of the Atlantic but this tactic was largely abandoned by May 1943 when U-boat losses mounted. Along with the U-boats, surface commerce raiders (including auxiliary cruisers) were used to disrupt Allied shipping in the early years of the war, the most famous of these being the heavy cruisers Admiral Graf Spee and Admiral Scheer and the battleship Bismarck. However, the adoption of convoy escorts, especially in the Atlantic, greatly reduced the effectiveness of surface commerce raiders against convoys.