Different grades of wire were used to
provide the framework for which foliage could be attached to helmets.
In many cases, the wire itself served as a means of camouflage without
the aid of leaves or branches. A variety of methods were used to
attach wire to a helmet. Both strait bailing wire as well as
fencing wire (often called Chicken wire) was also used in various
gages. So many varieties of potential application methods
existed that it would be difficult to document them all1.
However a basic under-standing of the most
common wire configurations
can be established.
The wire types and grades applied to
helmets often differed depending on the theater of combat where the
helmet was being used. Helmets that used wire for camouflage
were typically found in the Italian and French theaters in 1943 and
1944. However as a whole, continental Europe with its strong
agrarian base was an abundant source of farm yard and fencing wire.
Helmets used in Russia however were not
commonly camouflaged with wire. This is verified by the
relatively few photographs showing men in the East with wire
camouflage helmets. The premise being that in many parts of the
desolate Russian steppe (and often isolated village settings) wire was
a scarce commodity.
When applied, wire was often attached by
means of small collar hooks, bent wire hooks, or simply crimped over
the edges of the helmet. In most cases it appears as though each
individual soldier hand crafted his own wire configuration.
Although it is possible that it was also done on more of a small unit
Wire helmets have been extensively faked over the years with good
quality. The debate over wire types and twists has lead to
controversy over the nature of original vs. reproduction helmets.
Collectors are best advised to study the various aspects of
fencing wire to establish a better understanding of this issue.