pattern Luftwaffe decals began to appear on transitional model helmets
as early as 1935. World War I model helmets that were initially
used as combat service helmets often received the first pattern decal
(and its variants) as part of the twin decal combination that also
included the National tricolored shield insignia.
pattern decals were printed in white and placed on the left side of all
Luftwaffe helmets. In 1937 when the transitional model helmets
began to slowly be replaced with the newer M1935 helmets, many of the
M1935 models issued to the Luftwaffe utilized the first pattern decal.
In 1937 a modified version of the decal was instituted as part of an
overall effort at standardizing Luftwaffe insignia as part of the much
larger task of expanding the organization within the ever growing German
Armed Services (Wehrmacht).
pattern decals differed from the first pattern variations in size as
well as graphic design. First pattern decals are noted for their
short, stubby wings and very large swastika. Research into the
various types of first pattern decals that were manufactured indicates
that at least four different variations were produced. These
variations, while generally looking similar, had slight differences in
graphic quality and detail. These details are often subtle to the
four different types can generally be grouped into two categories
identified by modern collecting terminology which includes the "Snake
Leg" and "Droop Tailed" decals. While both decal types could
actually be called "Droop Tailed" in nature, those that carry the term
are ones where the eagle leg is actually positioned horizontally across
the main body of the eagle. The term "Droop Tailed" stems from the
overall look of the decal and the very pronounced downward pitch of the
eagle's tail feathers. The "Snake Leg" variety differ from "Droop
Tailed" decals in the sense that the eagle's leg snakes upward in a
pronounced curve. The two decals shown on this page depict these
features when compared side-by-side.
The first pattern "Droop Tailed"
decal features a leg that is positioned horizontally across the
eagle's body compared to the upward curving leg featured on the
"Snake Leg" version as shown at the top of this page.