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German Helmets of the Second World War

by Roger Gentry

Author, Branislav Radovic, author of Helmets of the First World War also published by Schiffer Publishing, has it seems, covered everything in these two volumes. These are large format books with over 300 pages each with well over 1000 color and black and white photos.

Volume One explains early development of the steel helmet. The French were the first who produced a supposedly ballistically tested steel helmet, Model 1915, called “Adrian” after its designer, Quartermaster General Adrian. The British designed their helmet, the “Brodie” named after its designer John Brodie.

The Brodie was introduced in camouflage colors of orange and green, but later production models changed to apple green and then lastly, to dark textured khaki. German armies quickly followed the trend; first appearing in 1916 around Verdun.

My favorite however, is Volume Two that depicts nearly 100 full color photographs of more than 180 helmets and covers, all shown in full- page size. It appears that all forms of are here: paratroop helmets, covers, goggles, aircrew helmets, liner systems, insignia, and lightweight helmets.

This volume is divided into paint, texture, wire, covers, nettings, straps, and interiors. I was not aware until viewing this publication the amount of personal involvement a soldier could have in camouflaging his helmet, or what extent he would go to in covering his headgear with single strand wire light-gauge medium chicken wire, corrugated flat metal strips, cloth-covered electrical cable, thin-gauge chicken wire over a roughly made Hessian cover, non regulation thick hemp netting cover, non-regulation artificial grass netting, captured net, possibly from British, Australian or New Zealand model helmet.

Volume One has two chapters. The first depicts in colored photographs 150 pages of painted camouflage, and then twenty one pages of the same subject but in period black and white period photos. Covered in this volume are models M1916/18, M32, 35, 40, 42, 42/45 — often with 3 views of each helmet.

Chapter two covers textured camouflage in 44 pages, and period photos of the same subject again in period photos; many evidently not shown in other publications.

The most amazing for me is of a second pattern splinter camouflage drawstring cover that could be used a sniper mask on page 466 to 473. Page 473 shows the face cover brought down over a mannequin’s face to reveal how the cover would appear when in use. This is certainly the most unusual and unique depiction!

Highly recommended, but pricy. Each volume sells for $79.99. This is by far the best source so far on camouflage German steel helmets of World War Two.