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

    Helmet Shell Sizing

Photo:  The "ET 68" Stamp on an M1935 Luftwaffe Helmet.

Helmet Shell Sizing

Combat helmets of all nations can be described as having both a steel component (the outer shell) and an inner component (the leather or canvas liner and metal band) that accommodates the head size of the individual wearer.  Allied nations engaged in war against Germany produced combat helmets that had one size of steel shell into which various sized liners were inserted to accommodate different head sizes.  The Allied "one size fits all" concept was a relatively logical and straight forward solution that streamlined wartime production.  While Allied helmet production was rather simple, German helmet production was quite complex. 

Instead of producing a single sized steel helmet like their Allied counterparts, German helmet factories manufactured at least six different helmet shell sizes for each model of helmet made.  Depending on its size, a helmet shell could accommodate one of two different liner bands representing one of two different head sizes.  This was a rather complex process as it required not only multiple shell stamping molds (one for each size of helmet), but also manufacturers who could produce helmet liner bands in a variety of sizes.  Depending on the diameter of the shell produced, each German helmet could only accommodate one of two differently sized helmet liners.  These liners were not easily removed in the field and once inserted tended to remain there for the term of the helmet's service.

It is not precisely known why the Germans chose such a complex process for their helmet sizing.  No doubt, the complexity of the manufacturing process must have caused great delays in getting supplies to active front line troops.  It has been theorized that the complex "helmet-to-head-size" production methodology had something to do with the fact that German tradition placed great emphasis on the "smart" appearance of each and every soldier.  The reason for so many different helmet sizes can perhaps be attributed to the Armed Forces' (Wehrmacht's) desire to make each soldier look "proportionally correct" to his equipment and thus continue the tradition of the "smart" appearance of men in German uniform.

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.

    Main Topics

Shell Size Chart

    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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