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

    Collector Topics:  Foreign Use of the German Helmet

Photo:  Chinese troops wear the M1935 German helmet imported by the Nationalist government in 1935-36 to supplement weapons needed in the defense against Japanese invasion.

Foreign Use

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.


1 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 M1935 helmet.


Each section of 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 foreign use of the German helmet.  Individual links related to this subject are outlined below.

    Primary Topics

Countries That Used German Helmets

    Collector Topics




Dome Stamps

Factory Production

Foreign Use

Helmet History

Liner Systems


Fakes and Reproductions

Rare and Unusual



The Chinese M1935 in wear.

A Chinese M1935 helmet bearing the insignia of the Nationalist Chinese government.  - The Online Reference Guide to World War II German Helmets 1933-1945

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