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

    Construction Stages

Photo:  Form Press Machinery at the Thale Plant (circa 1937).

Helmet Construction

The process of manufacturing and assembling helmets has often been left unaddressed in other sources focusing on World War II German helmets.  With the reorganization of German war industry under the leadership of Albert Speer, the process of manufacturing the steel helmet (Stahlhelm) was significantly improved and refined. 

Until 1943, both M1935 and M1940 helmets were manufactured through "old world" metal-fabric techniques dating back to the World War I era.  This involved the use of large mechanical presses that formed the curves and general shape of each helmet.  Each helmet manufactured went through a series of press stages that including oven tempering at several points.  By 1943, some of these steps had been improved through the gradual introduction of hot stamping methods.  Much of the finish work was completed by hand labor.

Helmet construction was vastly improved when hot stamping became the standard in most factories.  This method allowed for faster metal shaping and hence mass production of steel helmets.  With the elimination of the rounded edge of the helmet, the M1942 model became the standard type made throughout Germany.

The M1942 helmet with its raw edges and unrefined air vents took shape from an improved process more familiar with today's production methods.  The M1942 was the first German helmet to be made primarily with the use of automated machines.

Most collectors will note that the M1942 helmet is less refined compared to earlier M1935 and M1940 models.  Many M1942 helmets exhibit stress marks in the steel or metal flashing along the sharp rim.  These effects were created as a result of the fast, hot stamping method.  In addition, many M1942 helmets have shallow or barely discernable maker's marks stamped into the metal.  All of these aspects are typical of the manufacturing process given these helmets at the time of their production.

Overview

Each section of German-Helmets.com is divided into separate Information Tracks that outline important details, facts, and historical notes pertaining to steel helmets used by the German Armed Forces during World War II.  

Information Tracks are organized by subject matter and their content is directly related to the service arm or organization to which each topic is related.  Topic areas that bridge one subject matter to another are cross linked within each Information Track.

This Information Track provides historical facts pertaining to construction stages of the German helmet.  Individual links related to this subject are outlined below.

    Construction Stages

Factory Main

Helmet Forming

Oven Tempering

Assembly

Liner Insertion

Stacking and Storage

Distribution

    Collector Topics

Chinstraps

Camouflage

Decals

Dome Stamps

Factory Production

Foreign Use

Helmet History

Liner Systems

Paint

Fakes and Reproductions

Rare and Unusual

Appraisals

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