Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet


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First, countries sought helmet designs that were both effective and affordable to produce en masse, entailing as few steps in manufacturing as possible. A third reason is that armies acknowledged the tribulations that came with wearing a helmet in combat. Helmets were heavy and hot and awkward.

They could slide around the head, put strain on the neck, obscure vision and hearing. The key to helmet design was to come up with a version that soldiers would be willing to wear. Helmets therefore needed to be well-balanced. They needed to have liners and chin straps that kept them securely on the head, so that soldiers could dash, hide, and shoot without overmuch restriction. The Brody remained relatively unchanged, Wikipedia.

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Among the countries that created and adopted helmets of their own design during the inter-war years were: Bulgaria M. Germany, too, after the Nazis came to power, revised the Stahlhelm by shortening the skirt and visor and inserting a new liner. The M. All the combatant armies in World War I had adopted camouflage uniforms and painted their helmets in the corresponding color.

German soldiers occasionally went further, painting a multi-colored geometric configuration over the field-gray helmets. This disruptive pattern paralleled the zigzag camouflage applied to warships at the time.

Embossments and stamps:

Denmark and Switzerland pasted sand onto the helmet shells before painting them. A number of countries also issued cloth camouflage coverings that soldiers could pull on to their helmets. All these methods had the same aim: to reduce the glare and tell-tale smooth surface of the helmet. Helmeted American paratroopers, , Wikipedia. To enhance the national appearance of their already distinctive helmets, many countries attached national crests, either as decals or metal fixings, to the front of sides of the helmet.

Notable among them all was the modern, abstract interpretation of the Dutch lion rampant created by the designer Chris van der Hoef. The main combatant countries engaged in the Second World War eventually abandoned these conspicuous markings. By this time the Second World War had begun and German armed forces Wehrmacht had expanded tremendously. The need to expedite the process of helmet manufacture dictated changes. The major change in the M was the elimination of the separate donut on the ventilation hole. Now the ventilation holes were simply a one piece mold.

Weaponology - "Helmets"

The rolled edge remained so the helmet was essentially unchanged except for disposal of the donut. The paint color also changed from what is referred to as a parade finish which had a glossy look to it to a more subdued flat paint.

Parts of a steel helmet:

The last change was that army and Luftwaffe helmets were issued with just one decal. The SS had some with one decal but also some retained both decals. Continued pressure on helmet manufacturers to supply the troops in the field with protection for their heads required a drastic change in the shape and look of the stahlhelm. In addition to being easier to produce, the unrolled edge did allow rain water to roll off the side of the helmet a bit easier rather than running down the neck of the wearer.

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Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet

These helmets were produced well into but the application of the decal seems to have vanished from most combat helmets by the end of The helmet, like military headgear in centuries past, contributed to the evocative potency of military dress. Uniforms engendered this patriotic spirit through two seemingly contradictory effects. Though armed just with shovels on their shoulders, the multitude of men portrays a forbidding military power. At the same time, national distinctions in uniforms and helmets distinguished every army from one another.

Helmets did not envelop more of the head; they also became rounder and deeper during the interwar years. With a few exceptions , such as the Swiss M. There are several possible reasons for the tendency toward more ellipsoidal forms.

Stahlhelm : evolution of the German steel helmet in SearchWorks catalog

First, countries sought helmet designs that were both effective and affordable to produce en masse, entailing as few steps in manufacturing as possible. A third reason is that armies acknowledged the tribulations that came with wearing a helmet in combat. Helmets were heavy and hot and awkward. They could slide around the head, put strain on the neck, obscure vision and hearing.

The key to helmet design was to come up with a version that soldiers would be willing to wear. Helmets therefore needed to be well-balanced. They needed to have liners and chin straps that kept them securely on the head, so that soldiers could dash, hide, and shoot without overmuch restriction. The Brody remained relatively unchanged, Wikipedia. Among the countries that created and adopted helmets of their own design during the inter-war years were: Bulgaria M.

Germany, too, after the Nazis came to power, revised the Stahlhelm by shortening the skirt and visor and inserting a new liner. The M. All the combatant armies in World War I had adopted camouflage uniforms and painted their helmets in the corresponding color. German soldiers occasionally went further, painting a multi-colored geometric configuration over the field-gray helmets. This disruptive pattern paralleled the zigzag camouflage applied to warships at the time.

Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet
Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet
Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet
Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet
Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet
Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet
Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet
Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet Stahlhelm: Evolution of the German Steel Helmet

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