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

    Index of Terms: A Basic Glossary for Helmet Collectors

This index of terms provides a glossary of commonly used words encountered when collecting World War II German helmets. 

Many authoritative books have already been published which contain extensive glossaries that describe the terminology and definitions of words commonly used by the German Armed Forces during the Second World War.  

This index contains both collector terms and well as German military terms.  This is not a complete glossary, but rather a short list of words for the average collector.  Typical wartime abbreviations are also provided where appropriate. 

If you have additional suggestions please contact the webmaster.

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]


Abteilung:  A term that refers to a detachment, department, or group.

Abzeichen:  The German word for "insignia."

Adler:  The German word for "eagle."

Aktiengesellschaft (AG):  Referring to a joint stock company.

Allgemeine:  Universal or general in scope, reference, or context.

Alluminum Liner Band Ring:  A general reference to the first model M1931 liner band with and without reinforced side plates.  These appeared in many transitional model helmet including the Austrian and German M1916, M1917, M1918 and M1918 ear cut-out, as well as the M1935 and M1940 helmets.

Amt:  The German word for "office."

Angriff: Attack.

Abt. (Abteilung): Battalion

Abzeichen:  Insignia

Artillerie: Artillery.

Aufklärung: Reconnaissance.

Ausbildungs: Training.


Bau: Construction.

Baupionier: Construction Engineers.

Büro:  A German word referring to a large administrative office.


Chef des Generalstabes: The Chief of General Staff.

Compagnie (Cie.): A word meaning company.  Often used in reference to mid- to small-sized companies.


Decal:  A type of transfer insignia applied to a helmet to distinguish branch or arm-of-service.

Deutsches Arbeitsfront (DAF):  The German Labor Front organization.

Deutsches Reichsgebrauchsmuster (DRGM):  A designation referring to a registered design authorized within Greater Germany prior to May 1945.

Deutsches Reichspatent (DRP):  An approved design that has a registered patent mark within Greater Germany prior to May 1945.

Dienst:  The German word for "service."

Dome Stamp:  A type of approval stamp placed into the crown of helmets by various inspectors assigned to each helmet manufacturing plant.


Einheit: Detachment or unit.

Eisen:  The German word for metal or steel.  See also Stahl.

Eisenbahn: Railroad.

Emblem:  Emblem or “insignia”.  

Ersatz: Replacement.


Fabrik:  The German word for factory derived from the word "fabricated" or "to be made."

Fahrtruppen: Fast Troops.

Fallschirm: Parachute. Often used in conjunction with other unit types such as Fallschrimjäger.

Fallschrimjäger: Paratroop units.

Feld: The German word for "field."

Feldgendarmerie: Field Police.

Feldlazarett: Field Hospital.

Festung: Fortress.

Firma:  The German word for company or “place of business”.  Often used in reference to large businesses or corporate entities.

Flak:  An abbreviated form of the word "anti-aircraft."

Flieger: Flyer.

Fliegerabwehr-Abteilung: Anti-aircraft battalion.

Freiwillige: The German word for "volunteer" as it applied to foreign volunteers of the Waffen-SS and Wehrmacht.

Futter:  The German word for helmet liner. See also Innenfutter.


Gebirge: Mountains.

Geheime Feldpolizei: Secret Field Police.

Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH): A limited liability company or corporation. 

Generalkommando: General Headquarters.

Generalstab des Heeres: Army General Staff.

Grenze: Border.

Grenzschutz: Border Defense.

Grenzschutz-Abschnitt: Border Defense Regiment.

Grenzewacht: Border watch.

Gruppe [plural: Gruppen]: Group.


Handelsmarine: German merchant marine.

Heer:  The German word for Army.

Heeres:  A German word meaning “Of the Army”.

Hersteller:  The German word for maker as in “made by” or “produced by”.

Helm:  The German word for helmet.  See also Stahlhelm.

Hilfswillige: Auxiliary Volunteers.


Infanterie: Infantry.

Innenfutter:  A German word meaning “interior liner” as found in a helmet.  See also Futter.



Kavallerie: Cavalry.

Kinnriemen:  The German word for chinstrap.  The literal translation is "chin belt."

Kosaken: Cossack. Usually but not always a cavalry unit. Formed from Russian Cossacks fighting along side Germany.

Kompanie [plural: Kompanien]: Company. A Kompanie consisted of a number of Züge and made up the basis for Abteilungnen and Bataillonen. They served at the tactical level and would consist of between 100 and 200 men.

Kommanditgesellschaft (KG):  A limited partnership business.

Kriegesgefangen: Prisoner of War.

Kriegsmarine (KM):  The German word meaning “Naval Combat Forces”.

Küste: Coast.


Lackierung:  The German word for “lacquered paint finish” or simply “paint”.

Leder:  The German word for leather.

Lifetime Guarantee:  A type of refund policy that gives the buyer the opportunity to return a given item for a full refund at anytime during the life of the vendor.  The premise suggests that vendors who provide lifetime guarantees are more reliable in selling authenticated artifacts than those who do not provide such a guarantee.

Luftadler:  The word referring to the insignia of the Luftwaffe meaning “air eagle”.

Luftwaffe (LW):  Air Force


M1931 Liner Band:  The designation for the patented M1931 aluminum liner band that was introduced as a replacement for the aging World War I and M1927 model liner bands.  Worn on helmets up through 1943, although used predominantly on transitional helmets and M1935 and M1940 models.

Marine: Naval. Of the Kriegsmarine. For ground units often used with other unit terms such as Marine-Infanterie and Marine-Schützen. German naval infantry units were not elite ground troops like the US or British Marines, but were sailors and other naval personnel the German Navy no longer needed by late 1944.

Mint:  Meaning unissued or unused.  This term is frequently used when describing a near perfect helmet.

Ministerium:  Ministry or administrative office.

Modell:  The German word for “model” as in “Model 1935”.


Nachrichten: Signals/communication.



Pak (Panzerabwehrkanone): Anti-tank gun, see below.

Panzerabwehrkanone: Anti-tank gun. The term was mostly used at the tactical level to describe various calibres of defensive and offensive anti-tank weapons.

Panzer: Armor or armored.

Panzerabwehr: Tank defence or Anti-tank.

Panzergrenadier: Armored Infantry.

Panzerjäger: Anti-tank. Literally means tank hunter.

Panzerzerstörer: Anti-tank. Literally mean tank destroyer. Sometimes used in an attempt to boost morale in certain combat units.

Pionier: Engineer.

Polizei:  The German word for Police.


Quist: One of several manufacturers of German helmets during World War II.  Also produced helmets for the West German government postwar.  Helmets are characteristically marked with a large Latin script "Q."


Radfahr: Bicycle. Often refered to lightly mobile recon units mounted with bicycles.

Regiment [plural: Regimenter]: Regiment.

Reich:  Empire

Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD):  The German State Labor Service.

Reiter: Rider. Cavalryman.

Rotes Kreuz:  Red Cross


Sanitäts: Medical.

Schutzmarke:  The German word for trademark.

Schutz Staffel (SS):  Meaning “protection group” or “protection squad”.  Also in the context of “protection organization”.

Shell:  The outermost part of a helmet.

Sicherheitsdienst (SD):  The security service organization of the SS.

Schutzstaffel: Protection Force or Defense Squad.

Sicherung: Security.

Sicherungseinheit: Security unit or detachment.

Split Pin:  Best referred to as the small flat headed aluminum or zinc pins used to hold the leather to the liner band ring.

Split Rivet:  The three rivets with washers that held the liner band ring of a helmet to the outermost shell.

Standarte [plural: Standarten]: Term for a Regiment of the SA and SS.

Stahl:  The German word meaning steel.

Stahlhelm:  Steel helmet

Sturmabteilungen (SA):  The National Socialist “storm troopers” organization.

Sturm: Assault.

Sturmpionier: Assault Engineer.

Sturzhelmabzeichen:  Crash helmet insignia.


Teile: A part or portion of a unit.

Tote: Dead.

Toten: Death.

Totenkopf: Death's head.

Totenkopfverbande: Death's Head Units.


Umbenannt: Reformed or reorganized.

Unterabschnitt [plural: Unterabschnitte]: Battalion (literally, Subsector). Used mainly for border troops. See also Abschnitt.

Unissued: Never used or supplied for general wear.  See also Mint.


Vendor:  A term used to describe someone who is in the ongoing business of selling militaria.

Volksgrenadier: People's Infantry.

Volkssturm: The term most often applied to the ad-hoc troops mobilized by the Third Reich for the defense of the Fatherland.  Members were drafted from various political groups as well as the common population.  Most were young boys and old men.  See also volksgrenadier.


Wach: Watch or guard.

Waffen:  The German word for weapon or “to be armed”.

Waffen-SS:  The branch of the SS designated for field or military combat.

Wappen:  Coat of Arms

Wappenschild:  A word referring to the “coat of arms insignia” of a particular group or formation.  This term also applies to the runic shield insignia of the Waffen SS.

Warenzeichen:  The German word for “trade name”.

Werke:  A word referring to “factory works” or simply “factory”.

Wehrmacht (WH):  Armed Forces or “Combined Armed Services”.  This term is frequently miss-used solely as a reference to the German Army of WWII.

Wehrmachtsadler:  Armed forces eagle or the “insignia of the armed services”.

Wehrmachtsgefolge: The Armed Forces Auxiliaries.  Non-military forces mobilized for use by the German Armed Forces during the Second World War.

Wirtschaft: The German word for "administration."




Zinc Liner Band:  A term that refers to the 2nd Model M1931 liner band introduced in 1940.  This liner band was made of zinc galvanized steel.  - The Online Reference Guide to World War II German Helmets 1933-1945

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