As a result of observations of the Russian experimentation with the newly developing paratroop personnel in 1928 the Germans began serious consideration of also developing paratroop units and plans were drawn up for formation of such units in late 1935. Both the Luftwaffe and Army eventually established paratrooper units, consisting of voluntary personnel, on January 29TH 1936 and March 31ST 1937 respectively and a paratrooper training school was established at Stendal in early 1937. Originally development of special clothing and equipment was undertaken by both branches of service to provide the paratroopers with functional items specifically designed with parachute jumps in mind until January 1ST 1939 when all the paratrooper units were transferred to control of the Luftwaffe. One of the items developed for the paratroopers was a specially designed helmet first introduced in 1935. This first pattern helmet was found unsuitable and a second pattern was introduced on June 16TH 1938, and remained in use until the end of the war with minor variations.
A wonderful example of a rarely encountered textbook mid war M38 ET68 fallschirmjager single decal helmet. German paratroopers were far less common than the Waffen-SS and only numbered 9 regiments 3 of which were never activated which is why these damned things are so rare. The reverse interior apron is well marked with stamped lot number 4883 which dates the helmet production year to March of 1940. However since they used to stockpile finished shells at the Eisen-und Hüttenwerke, AG Thale/Harz factory, it could have been assembled later according to Ken N's latest book. The adler decal is your classic ET factory applied eagle and is in remarkable condition. The inside liner is made by the Karl Heisler firm of Berlin and size stamped 68/56. All four spanner bolts are the early to mid-war painted version later replaced by unpainted slotted aluminum ones.
Very difficult to upgrade an example as fine as this one is.
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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