troops wear the M1935 German helmet imported by the Nationalist government
in 1935-36 to supplement weapons needed in the defense against Japanese
When the M1935 combat helmet went into
production in 1935, units of the German Army (Heer) and Air Force
(Luftwaffe) eagerly awaited the finished product. Much to their
dissatisfaction, the first shipment of completed helmets did not reach
their units until 1936. This delay, in part, was due to a number
of large foreign orders that took precedence over the requests of the
German Armed Services (Wehrmacht). It is important to note that
German firms produced the M1935 helmet for foreign export prior to
World War II. The largest of these shipments were sent to the
Chinese and Spanish governments. While virtually identical to the
German issued M1935, most of the exported helmets did not have the
same type of liner systems found in Wehrmacht issued helmets. In
addition, the majority of foreign export models were not stamped with
production code numbers and maker's marks like those found on original
wartime era German combat helmets. When export ceased in 1936,
governments which had purchased German made helmets began to fashion
their own models based on the general design. As a result, many
'German style' helmets were manufactured throughout the world.
Spain as well as Latin American countries were the first to mass
produce German style helmets from the original German design1.
Some governments manufactured German style helmets through the mid
to late 1950's. Today, these helmets are often sold as 'German
export' or 'German manufactured' helmets dating from the pre-World
War II era. However, they were not made by German firms but
rather manufacturing plants in these countries that copied the
essential design elements of the helmet thereby producing a design
that looks similar in overall appearance. Spain was the
leading producer of such helmets which continue to be misrepresented
today as German in origin.
The stenciled insignia of the
Nationalist Chinese Government as worn on an original German supplied
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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.
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This Information Track provides historical
facts pertaining to foreign use of the German helmet.
Individual links related to this subject are outlined below.