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

    Helmet Shell Sizing:  Size Charts and Percentages

Liner Band Sizing Chart

German Helmet Shell Size

Liner Band / Head Size

60 cm   Extra-Small

52 or 53 cm

62 cm   Small

54 or 55 cm

64 cm   Medium

56 or 57 cm 

66 cm   Large

58 or 59 cm 

68 cm   Extra-Large

60 or 61 cm 

70 cm   Custom Made (rare)

62 or 63 cm

Diagram:  The various sizes of German helmet.

Size Charts

Wartime German helmet shells were stamped on the left inner rim with the initials of the factory which produced it and the metric size of the helmet shell.  These alpha-numeric codes were the only method which could be used to discern the factory or plant from which the helmet came.  The numbers also became useful in identifying the actual size of the helmet shell (medium, large, etc.).

Each helmet shell could accommodate one of two different liner sizes (see the chart above for specifics).  For example, a size 64 cm shell could accept a 56 cm or 57 cm liner band and leather.  However, neither the shell size below it (62 cm) or above it (66 cm) could accommodate the 56 cm liner band.  Soldiers who were issued helmets had to accept the helmet that came closest to their true head size.  While every effort was made to do this at the time of issue, wartime photos occasionally show men that appear to be wearing a helmet that is either one shell size too small or too big.

Helmets made in size 68 cm were considered very large at the time.  When one considers the nutrition and health of the era in which the average European lived during World War II, it is no wonder that the average sized person generally wore a 64 cm helmet shell.  Today, our modern world produces people who are much larger in overall body proportions.  In Western cultures this is largely due to better nutrition and medical care.  However, this was not the case during the 1930's and 1940's.

When manufactured, a given production lot was made so that all of the various helmet sizes could be assembled accordingly.  It has been estimated that a total production run of helmets was similar to the percentages shown in the chart below:

Estimated Percentage of Total Shells Produced1

Shell Size

60 cm

62 cm

64 cm

66 cm

68 cm

70 cm

Percentage Produced

10%

15%

40%

20%

10%

5%

1 Includes all combat helmet models M1935, M1940, and M1942

Overview

Each section of German-Helmets.com 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 shell sizes of the World War II German helmet.  Individual links related to this subject are outlined below.

    Factory Production 

Construction Stages

Helmet Shell Sizing

Helmet Shell Markings

Factory Locations and Photos

Production Statistics

    Collector Topics

Chinstraps

Camouflage

Decals

Dome Stamps

Factory Production

Foreign Use

Helmet History

Liner Systems

Paint

Fakes and Reproductions

Rare and Unusual

Appraisals

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