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.
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.