Understanding German helmet sizes from WW1 & WW2.
The German helmet is one of the most iconic collectables from both WW1 and WW2. This means that we as collectors want to have them all, all variations, all sizes, all makers. We also want to complete sets. One of the most frequently asked questions when we list a helmet for sale with no liner or a liner on its own, is which size do I need? On this page we will give you a very basic guide to understanding WW2 German helmet sizes and their makers codes. This page is ideal as a quick reference guide and we hope you find it useful.
So, here is a handy size guide that should help you through. There are of course a few things to note up front. Although size 70 helmets do exist, they are VERY hard things to find. In all of our years of collecting we have owned 2 and they almost never come up for sale, the same can (to a degree) be said for the size 60s although they are slightly more common. It is estimated that around 25,000,000 German helmets were produced during WW2 but so many were destroyed, buried and yet to be found, or just hidden away. Another quick note, modern reproduction shells are being heavily produced the world over so be aware. Anyways, let’s get into it!
German helmet size guide
|German Helmet Shell Size
|German Helmet Liner size
|52 or 53 cm
|54 or 55 cm
|56 or 57 cm
|58 or 59 cm
|60 or 61 cm
|62 or 63cm
How to measure a German helmet yourself.
The size marking should be marked on the inside rim of the helmet proceeded by the manufacturer code (More on them later). For example Q64 which is a size 64 Quist made helmet. However, if your helmet doesn’t have the markings in, this is normally in relics where it has simply eroded, then either place a tape measure around the inside of the shell and you will find your size. Or, if you don’t have the appropriate measure or are finding it too fiddly. Run the tape measure around the outside of the shell following the red line in the photo below and and take approximately 2cm from the number you get. This is not an exact science, but should give you about the right size of the helmet.
WW1 German helmets.
During WW1 and WW2 the German armies relied on manufacture keeping up with demand and as such used factories spread all across their territories. Using original documentation and extensive research collectors and historians have put together lists of manufacturers and what they made. During WW1 there were 3 models of helmets, the M16, M17 and M18. The M17 in reality is an M16 with a different pattern liner, but the M18 was a slight change in model. You then also then have Austro-Hungarian helmets which were heavily used by the Germans.
WW2 German helmet manufactures and their codes.
|Manufacturers name & factory location
|Gebrueder Bing A.G., Nuernberg
|F.C. Bellinger, Fulda
|J. & H. Kerkmann, Ahlen/Westf
|Gebrueder Gnuechtel A.G., Lauter i./Sa.
|Vereinigte Deutsche Nickelwerke, Schwerte i/Westf. – N.J.
|R. Lindenberg A.G., Remscheid-Hasten
|Small bell logo
|Koerting & Mathiesen, Leutsch /Leipzig
|Hermann Weissenburger & Co., Stuttgart-Canstatt
|C. Thiel & Soehne, Luebeck
|Eisenhuettenwerke Thale A.G., Thale /Harz
|Siemens & Halske A.G., Siemenstadt Berlin
|S over H
|Eisenhuette Silesia, Paruschowitz Oberschlesien
|F.W. Quist, Esslingen/Neckar
WW1 Austro-Hungarian helmet manufacturers and their codes.
|A. Westen Cilli
|Brüder Gottlieb u. Brauchbar Brunn
|C. A. Scholtz,Mateocz
|Berndorfer Metal-Warenfabrik A Krupp AG
|M18 “Hungarian, M17
|Rottenman u. Warcholowsky
|Transylvania – (Kingdom of Hungary)
|Transylvania (Kingdom of Hungary)
|Bleckmann & Poldihutte
|Klando Boemia, Phonix
|Weiss Manfréd Acél- és Fémművek
|Csepel , Budapest
|Warchalowski, Eissler & Co, Wien
|Gebruder Bohler & Co., Kapfenberg
|GB “Star” Logo
WW2 German helmets.
During WW2 they equally went with 3 different models, the M35, M40 and M42. Each number represents the year that it came into service with the M35 replacing the WW1 helmets in July of 1935. Below I will show an example of each helmet and explain the basic differences to help you spot them.
The M35 is the earlier of the WW2 patterns and overall, the best quality. It is easy to spot with the air vents being a separate piece of metal fitted in (Sometimes referred to as doughnuts) and the rolled edge around the rim. As a general but not exclusive rule, M35s were double decals, meaning they had decals on both sides of shell. The below example is a double decal police double decal helmet. Note the heavy air vent.
The M40 in most ways is an M35, it retained the rolled rim, however they changed the air vent. Realising there was no benefit to adding in a separate piece, they made the air vent a part of the single piece construction of the helmet. Note how it simply runs as part of the main body of the helmet.
Finally the M42. This helmet was produced through until the end of WW2 and retained the built in air vent of the M40 with one major chance. They stopped rolling the lip. If you note around the bottom lip of the helmet the steelwork just runs strait out. This likely saved a lot of factory time per helmet.
WW2 German helmet manufacturer codes.
|ET, was changed to Ckl in 1943
|Eisenhüttenwerk AG, Thale Hartzuttenwerk AG, Thale Harz
|Emaillerwerke AG, Fulda
|F.W. Quist G.m.b.H., Esslingen
|SE, was changed to Hkp in 1943
|Sachsishe Emaillerwerke, Lauter
|Vereinigte Deutsche Nickelwerke AG, Schwerte