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

    Collector Topics: Chinstrap Construction

Chinstrap Components

World War II German helmet chinstraps varied in overall construction based on the manufacturer.  While many chinstraps looked similar they did in fact exhibit subtle differences.  Regardless of the maker, each chinstrap had to conform to basic patent characteristics regarding size and quality of materials.  Even so, slight variations existed when the final product was finished.  Chinstraps were required to be 3 cm in width with the longer segment measuring 87 cm.  The short end with the buckle was to be 22 cm in length.  The number of openings in the long strap varied between 12 and 13 in number.  These openings were generally oblong in shape, but many were round.  Manufacturing requirements stated that the chinstrap was to be finished on one side with black dye.  The quality of the dye often varied which resulted in finishes that ranged from glossy black to matte chocolate brown.  In some cases the leather received no dye whatsoever.  Many of these chinstraps are though to have been used by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) although some were certainly issued to the German Army (Heer) and Navy (Kriegsmarine).  The thread used to sew the buckle to the short strap could be black, white, or tan in color.  When sewn, it was often crossed in the back for additional security before passing the stitch to the opposite side.  However, this step was not always done and many original examples omit this feature.  Despite all of these characteristics, many collectors dispute the subtle differences found on original examples.  Collectors tend to prefer "textbook" examples for their collections.  As a result they often become wary of any characteristic that does not seem to fit the general trend in textbook examples.  Even so, the original examples photographed below clearly show a wide range of variation in chinstrap construction.  When examining chinstraps it is important to consider these factors before dismissing a particular item as "reproduction."  Individuals in Eastern Europe and well as the United States have produced excellent reproduction chinstraps.  Many of these are aged in an effort to fool the unsuspecting collector.

 

Buckle Prong Openings

     

     

Oblong Prong Opening

Circular Prong Opening

Pinpoint Prong Opening

Length of strap ends varied between
12 cm and 11 cm in length.  Width was 3 cm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
j k l
  1. Glossy finished leather with 12 prong openings

  2. Flat finished leather with 13 prong openings

  3. Rough finished leather with pinpoint openings

 
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