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

    Questions & Answers:  Shell Markings

Answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding shell markings are described in this section.  Additional topics can be explored by linking to one of the subject areas listed below.

 

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Will the codes marked on my German helmet tell me where it was made?

 

Yes. The alpha-numeric codes are designations for the shell size and maker of a given helmet.  The series number also stamped into a helmet shell relates directly to the production run to which the helmet can be attributed.  Unfortunately, neither the series number or the alpha-numeric code will tell you the date or year of manufacture.  Information on maker codes can be found in the Factory Production section located on German-Helmets.com.

 Will the codes marked on my helmet shell tell me when it was made?
 

No.  Unfortunately there are no records that can clearly pinpoint the date of manufacture from only the shell series number.  In theory, this may have been possible during World War II when the factories kept production statistics.  However, these records are no longer in existence.  As a result, the best method for determining the date of manufacture is the stamp markings on the right side of the liner band ring.  However, this is not always 100% correct since many helmets were factory assembled using parts manufactured and stored from earlier stock.

My helmet has no shell stampings.  Is it original?

 

Generally speaking, almost every German helmet manufactured during World War II received shell stampings denoting maker, size, and series number.  However, some helmets did not receive these markings and the reason is not fully known.  It is known that some transitional model helmet shells manufactured in Austria as well as a handful remanufactured shells from the mid-1930's had no maker marks.  This is also true of some civic model police helmets manufactured during the war.  Readers should also be aware of the fact that many former West German police and border guard helmets bear no maker's marks.  In some cases, these helmets are repainted or sold as "original" but are in fact easy to identify as postwar shells.  One final note relates to the fact that some M1942 helmets appear to have shallow markings due to the rapid manufacturing process employed at this stage of production.  In other words, the shell stampings were applied but did not strike hard enough to leave a full or partial impression in the steel.

I have an original helmet with an odd maker code not normally seen.  What is it?

 

The majority of helmet shells that appear to have odd or non-standard maker marks impressed into the shell are in fact original helmets with poor stampings.  In other words, when the marks were applied in the factory there was a partial or double strike of the original code designations.  The partial or double results combined with a shallow strike result in the appearance of an odd or non-standard code designation.  Frequently encountered odd strikes include "kp" or "hp" (for hkp), "BT" (for ET), "BF" for (EF), "bkl" (for ckl), and "ES" for (FS).

I have a helmet marked 'Q64' but it doesn't have a series number.  Is it original?

 

The Quist firm was the primary source of remanufactured M1940 style helmets for the West German border guards and police.  This firm reproduced the M1940 helmet in near perfect World War II quality steel in shell sizes marked "Q64."  Unlike wartime helmets, these helmets did not receive a series number because they were manufactured in a single production run.  As a result, any "Q64" marked shell that bears no series number is in fact a postwar remanufactured helmet of general World War II steel quality.

Were helmet shells marked size "60" and "62" intended for children or Hitler Youth members?

 

Despite the fact that these helmets seem incredibly small for the average adult, they were in fact manufactured for adult military members not children.  German helmet shells were manufactured in a full range of sizes beginning with 60cm and ending with 70cm.  Smaller sized helmets were necessary when one considers the range of head sizes that were needed in order to accommodate all wearers.  Unlike today's modern sizes, most individuals living at this time in history were physically much smaller than the average North American.  This was due, in part, to nutrition standards that were generally below what they are today.  Physical characteristics of the common German soldier can clearly be seen in wartime photographs.  Basically speaking, some people were simply smaller as adults than what is commonly seen today.

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