- The Online Reference Guide to World War II German Helmets 1933-1945

    WEEK 12:  M1940 Single Decal "Zimmerit Camouflaged" Luftwaffe Helmet

This M40 single decal Luftwaffe helmet has a thickly applied sand filled paste over the exterior of the entire helmet.  This paste is commonly known as "zimmerit" as it bears the name of the substance produced by German Armed Forces for the purpose of applying to armored vehicles.  Zimmerit was a substance that blocked magnetic mines from attatching to bare or painted steel.  Interestingly, zimmerit was also applied to German helmets as means to "rough-up" the exterior texture prior to camouflage painting.  This helmet bears a three colored tan, green, and brown spray painted finish applied directly over the zimmerit.  The eagle decal has toned to a dark yellow or golden color.  In order for zimmerit to cure properly, it was typically heated using a hand held blow torch carried on almost all German vehicles.  While it is speculation only, the golden color of the decal may have occurred when the high temperature of the torch was applied to the zimmerit paste when curing.  It is a known fact that German lacquers used during WWII typically tarnish down to a golden color when exposed to extreme heat.  Today this accounts for the many reasons why German helmets have decals that appear yellow or gold in color.  Helmets stored in attics without vents often discolor over time due to the seasonal high temperatures they bear over many years.

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