Without a doubt, the M35 Stahlhelm is one of the most influential and successful designs in combat helmets ever produced. That is in no way intended to serve to detract from the influence of other extremely effective models like the U.S. There are many other designs out there that have been widely lauded for their efficacy or cultural significance. Various versions of Pickelhaube come to mind, along with the Adrian helmet that saw so much use across battlefields in the First World War. That being said and brooked, the M35 WW2 German helmet is not just culturally significant, it was also one of the toughest helmets produced during the war.
The aptly named M35 German helmet designed in the year 1935 was a significant improvement over other helmets that preceded it. It was designed to offer superior resistance to fragments and projectiles and was capable of turning steel and other hazards that otherwise would have proven fatal to the wearer. It has even been claimed that the M35 was the best helmet in the war when it came to prevent fatal head trauma, whether from impact or percussion.
Though its common nickname, Stahlhelm, means “steel helmet” in German, this was not the first model of steel helmet produced. However, the M35 steel helmet provided for nearly 2mm of steel plating as a part of the steel pot that provided protection for the head of the wearer. Some of the original M35 helmets had improvements in design that gave them an advantage over the models of competing forces. For one is the thickness that has already been covered and provided a great deal of protection on its own. In addition to the thickness of the helmet, it also was made of a harder grade of steel including nickel and and silicon that increased its strength. This made it more difficult and expensive for the helmets to be produced, but it resulted in a finished product that was stronger than many, if not all, other contemporary designs.
In addition to the improvements made to the chemical composition of the steel, it also was a relatively deep helmet. In contrast to the Brodie helmet, whose wide brim afforded relatively little protection to the back of the head and the neck, the M35 WW2 German helmet rolled relatively far down the sides of the head and the back of the neck. This afforded the troops that wore them enhanced protection and likely was responsible for the survival of many soldiers who would have otherwise met other ends.
Today, though you can still find original M35 helmets, they tend to be relatively hard to find and those in good condition command quite a price. If you are building a collection of historically accurate pieces, you should check out Sarco Inc. on their website, SarcoInc.com, where you will find not only reproduction German helmets, but original pieces of collectible militaria from many periods in history and places in the world.
For example, their reproduction M35 helmet is highly authentic and comes with a rolled edge and leather liner much like the originals did. In addition, it is finished in the same “Feldgrau” color and many original helmets were and would make a fine addition to any collection. Check it out on their website where you will find a wealth of other collectibles alongside it. In addition to this, you can find historical firearms, parts and accessories from many services and conflicts, including popular models like SKS, Lee-Enfield Rifles, Lewis guns and many more. If you’re looking for something specific and could use the help of the professionals in finding it, don’t be shy about reaching out to their team at 610-250-3960.