HIMMLER TRANSITIONAL SS CONTRACT HELMET

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Here is a rarely encountered early 1930's commercially produced SS-Himmler style Duck Bill helmet in a satin black with it's original liner still in tact. Notice the protruding front bill and the overall low profile of the shell along with the lack of a chinstrap rivet and the almost horizontal alignment between the front retaining pin and side wall pin which is only seen on early 1930's SS parade helmets. These helmets were privately contracted in 1932/33 and were made exclusively Himmler's newly formed Allgemeine-SS. Back then the SS were not a priority within the Wehrmacht supply chain and so they were not able to get access to M16/17 or M18 helmets since in those early years they were not considered to be a combat organization but more so a political one.

At the time the main way of polishing the helmet for parade or guard duty was to buff the outside with some soft beeswax which is why the outside is generally a bit more shinier than the inside. The sheet steel construction retains about 90% of its original satin finish black overpaint. Liner is a wonderfully complete and sound condition with no tear or rips and bares the size stamp "56" with cork spacers only seen on these early 1930 commercial helmets and never on M17/17 or M18 earlier versions. Most of the original matching black chinstrap remains fully intact with a break in the short section that can be repaired with a little leather glue and some clamps. Classic Himmler Duck Bill helmet produced in from 1932/33 and exclusively for the Allgemeine-SS. About half of the ones I have handled in person will lack any insignia whatsoever with about 1/4 having hand rendered decals by way of small paint brush in varying sizes and the remaining 1/4 very clean and neat where the soldier must have had access to some type of paper stencil. These practices ended around the year of 1935 when both standard SS decal shield decals were officially introduced and then widely adopted.

Most historical photos show these helmets being worn by black uniformed members of the Allgemeine-SS at important SS buildings, parade squares or special guard duty for higher ranking SS officials. A definite gem and hard to find in all original condition like this one. The few I've seen were mostly bikerized, chrome dipped or repainted post war as a WW1 helmet. Anecdotally speaking there just can't be too many untouched survivors out there. The last two photos show two other known examples of SS-Himmler style Duck Bill helmets for comparison.

$1200 SOLD

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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

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: The Allgemeine-SS, (General-SS), was originally formed in May 1923 as the Stosstrupp Adolf Hitler (Shock Troops Adolf Hitler), and was re-designated Schutz Staffel, (Protection Squad), in April 1925 with the official acceptance of the name verified on the second anniversary of the failed Munich "Beer-Hall" Putsch on November 9TH 1925. On January 6TH 1929 Heinrich Himmler was appointed as Reichsführer-SS, (National Leader {of the} SS), and on July 20TH 1934 shortly after the, June 30TH 1934, purge of the SA, Sturm Abteilung, (Storm/Assault Detachment), on the "Night of the Long Knives", the SS was rewarded by Hitler by being granted the status of an independent organization under direct control of the NSDAP, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, (National Socialist German Worker’s Party). The first "modern" steel helmets were introduced by the French army in early 1915 and were shortly followed by the British army later that year. With plans on the drawing board, experimental helmets in the field, ("Gaede" helmet), and some captured French and British helmets the German army began tests for their own steel helmet at the Kummersdorf Proving Grounds in November, and in the field in December 1915. An acceptable pattern was developed and approved and production began at Eisen-und Hüttenwerke, AG Thale/Harz, in the spring of 1916. These first modern M16 helmets evolved into the M18 helmets by the end of WWI. The M16 and M18 helmets remained in usage through-out the Weimar Reichswehr era, (National Defence Force, Circa 1919-1933), and on into the early years of the Third Reich. In 1934 as a result of shortages of the M16 and M18 helmets the SS Hauptamt, (SS Central Office), in conjunction with the RZM, Reich Zeug Meisterei, (National Equipment Quartermaster), began production of a specific helmet for SS personnel. The M34 SS/RZM helmet was similar in style to the M18 and were originally produced with a dark grey/blue colored finish while later models were given an anodized black finish. In mid-May 1939 most of the black finished, M34 SS/RZM helmets were recalled and in March 1941 a directive recalled all M16, M18 and M34 SS/RZM helmets remaining in use, to be melted down and recycled. Originally SS personnel didn’t utilized any helmet insignia until the first pattern runic SS helmet decals with silver runes on a black field were introduced on February 23RD 1934, but were only worn for a short time by SS-VT, SS-Verfügungstruppe, (SS-Special Purpose Troops), personnel. On August 12TH 1935 the black runic SS helmet decal on a silver shield shaped base and the NSDAP party shield decal were both introduced for wear by all SS personnel. Regulations of March 21ST 1940 dictated that the NSDAP party shield decal was to be removed from all helmets and further regulations of November 1ST 1943 abolished the SS runic decal and dictated that it was also to be removed from all helmets although the directives were not completely adhered to. Of Note: The SS runic decal underwent a minor modification sometime early in the war with the runes being somewhat less angular. Of Note: The RZM was officially founded in June 1934 in Munich by the NSDAP as a Reich Hauptamt, (State Central Office), and was based on the earlier SA Quartermaster’s Department. The functions of the RZM were not only to procure and distribute items to Party formations, but also to approve chosen designs and to act as a quality control supervisor to ensure items manufactured for the Party met required specification and were standardized. Starting in late 1934 items manufactured for the SS came under the quality control of the RZM and were marked by the appropriate RZM/SS approval marking. In 1943 the Waffen-SS, (Armed-SS), assumed full control over their uniform item production and no longer fell under the authority of the RZM. Also Of Note: In June 1935 the army developed the smaller, lighter M35 style helmet and in an effort to reduced construction time and labor costs minor modifications were introduced in March 1940 resulting in the M40 helmet. Further construction modifications were undertaken in August 1942 resulting in the M42 helmet. The Allgemeine-SS, the SS-VT, the SS-TV, SS-Totenkopfverbände, (SS-Death’s Head Units) and eventually the Waffen-SS, (Armed-SS), were also allocated quantities of the assorted models of helmets through-out the war. The M16, M18, M35, M40 and M42 helmets were all issued from army stocks and therefore were not under control of the RZM and have no SS or RZM markings. This example is commercially produced for the SS but without RZM markings.


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