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    Luftwaffe (Air Force):  Fliegerstahlhelm Variant (Cut-Out)

The M1940 Variant Flight Helmet with Ear Cut-Outs

Luftwaffe Variant M1940 Flight Helmet

An interesting and rarely mentioned variant Luftwaffe flying steel helmet (Fliegerstahlhelm) is one that incorporates ear cut-outs on a basic model M1940 helmet.  The ear cut-outs are designed to facilitate the use of radio equipment used on the standard cloth or leather flight helmet.  The general appearance of the helmet is the same as an M1940 save for double air vents and the factory applied ear cut-out.

Many have speculated that these helmets were field modified in nature, however it would appear that the helmets are in fact factory produced.  No specific designation has been given to these helmets.  The interior of the helmet has been observed with both a standard M1931 second pattern zinc liner band and leather, or sometimes without liner save for a thick wool felt padding.  When issued with the M1931 liner, the chinstraps are the same as those found on standard German combat helmets.

When encountered, these scarce helmets generally have been painted to increase their visibility.  The exact reason for applying bright paint to these helmets is unknown, although some theorize that it intended to enhance rescue efforts in the event the flight crew bailed out and were lost at sea.  When painted, these helmets often have the "wooden Dutch shoe" or "clog" insignia found on II./Zerstorer Geschwader 26 "Horst Wessel."  Other configurations of insignia are also possible.  In many cases, the standard second pattern Luftwaffe eagle insignia is also applied to the helmet either on the front or sides.

Further information regarding this helmet is unknown and original examples1 considered almost non-existent.


Notes:

1 Many collectors have theorized that these rare helmets are nothing but "fantasy" items created from M1940 shells.  However, close examination of originals proves that the helmets are in fact wartime manufactured shells of a very precise, and factory produced style.

    Primary Topics

Luftwaffe Main

Transitional Model Helmets

Fiber Parade and Ceremonial

M1935

M1935 Reissued Helmets

M1940

M1942

Fallschirmjäger Helmets

Civic Model Fire Fighting Helmets

Fliegerstahlhelm Types I and II

Fliegerstahlhelm Variant (Cut-Out)

SSK 90

 

 

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