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

    Luftwaffe: The German Air Force 1935-1945

Photo:  A Luftwaffe anti-aircraft observer wears a standard M1935 helmet with second pattern eagle decal.

The German Airforce (Luftwaffe) was formed through a combination of several para-military, police, political, and air sport organizations that eventually came together to render Germany's newest branch of service.  Many of these organizations were initiated as early as 1933 under the influence of Hermann Göring who served as the Prussian Minister of Interior.  

Groups with the greatest influence on overall Luftwaffe uniform design included the German Air Sports Organization (Deutsche Luftsport-Verband – DLV), Polizeigruppe and Landespolizeigruppe Weck and Göring, and the National Socialist Flying Corps (Nationalsocialistisches Flieger Korps – NSFK).  Badges, uniforms, and dress regulations began appearing in 1935 when the Luftwaffe was slowly emerging as a fighting force.  Under the eventual leadership of Hermann Göring, the Luftwaffe would rise to be one of the most expansive of all German military forces in the Wehrmacht.

During the early days of the Luftwaffe, World War I helmets were worn during basic military training and ceremonial events.  These included the M1917, M1918, and M1918 ear cut-out versions often referred to as “transitional” in nature.  Once the M1935 helmet was introduced, the Luftwaffe was one of the first to receive it in large numbers along with the German Army (Heer).  With the advent of the M1940 and later model M1942 helmets, these too were incorporated into the standard headgear of men serving in all branches of the Luftwaffe.

One can not examine the helmets of the Luftwaffe without including those of the German parachute forces (Fallschirmjäger).  Organized as a fighting force in 1937, these men wore a variety of prototype helmets which eventually resulted in the standard M1938.  The prototype helmets were limited in number and are today considered highly collectible but extremely rare.  Worn in a variety of combat theaters, the Fallschirmjäger helmet is one of the more interesting helmet designs to come out of World War II.  Its unique profile is unique among all helmets ever manufactured for warfare. 

In addition to combat helmets, both Officers and NCO's of Germany's Luftwaffe were authorized to purchase and wear lightweight parade helmets.  This practice was most common in the early years prior to the invasion of Poland.  However, photographs taken as late as 1944 often show young men destined for the front lines posing for studio photographs wearing lightweight parade helmets.  These helmets were produced by private manufacturing firms which often sold military items to authorized personnel.


Each section of 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 steel helmets worn by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) from 1935-1945.  Individual links related to this subject are outlined below.

Main Tracks

Lightweight and Parade Helmets

Fire Protection Helmets

Aircrew Protection Helmets

Helmet Decals

Helmets Worn By Related Organizations

Veteran Accounts

The personal recollections of German veterans serve to enhance our collective knowledge regarding the use of steel helmets.  Accounts such as these are drawn from the 'living memory' of men who depended on their helmets for lifesaving protection.  - The Online Reference Guide to World War II German Helmets 1933-1945

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