Monday, December 13, 2010


Genuine DAK Helmet. Picture thanks to Andy
The army steel helmet was issued to all three branches of the German Armed Forces as well as some auxiliary organizations. The Model 1916 helmet was introduced to replace the old "Pickelhaube" - the decorative pointed helmet used by First World War German Infantry and was designed to give more protection to the neck and head and became symbolic of the German Army along with the Jackboot during both World Wars.

The model 1916 helmet was worn throughout W.W.I and during the Reichswehr period (including members of the Wachtruppe Berlin who would go on to form the Großdeutschland Division) and throughout W.W.II (although only by civilians, Volkssturm and foreign units during this time). It was replaced by the much lighter and smaller Model 1935 helmet.

The distinguishing features of the 1935 helmet was the less flared appearance of the peak and neck portion and from 1940 the absence of helmet transfers.
In 1943 a new model was introduced which for reasons of economy was stamped out of one piece of steel without the rim being crimped inwards around the edge. This gave it a more sharper appearance and slightly larger around the base.

Another Genuine DAK Helmet.
Picture thanks to Ralph Heinz
Helmets were coloured inside (to prevent rust) and out with matt field grey paint which varied in shade. Coming in five different sizes they weighed from 29oz to 42oz with a ventilation hole on each side. The helmet liner was made of padded leather covering a flexible aluminum band which was adjustable and was held in place by three cotter keys. The leather chin strap was adjustable and removable.

The Helmets were painted in varying shades of field grey but in the field various coverings were used to blend in with the environment. For example in Africa helmets were painted a buff colour and were covered in sand to give a non reflective finish to the helmet. In Russia and in other winter theatres the helmet was given a covering of whitewash which would be scrubbed off in spring weather.

As well as the official army camouflage cover numerous ways of applying helmet coverings were devised. These ranged from bicycle inner tubes, chicken wire, netting of various materials including woven string nets and captured Allied helmet netting and was used to hold foliage to break up the distinctive shape of the steel helmet. Hessian sacking held in place by an inner tube was quite common especially among Afrika Korps combat engineers to give the helmet a non-reflactive surface. Until the issue of the reversible helmet cover snow camouflage was improvised by means of tying white cloths to the helmet to give a non reflective finish that blended in with the landscape.

Net for "bugs" protection
Picture send by Dmitry Bouchmakov
NOTE: There was never a DAK palm tree decal and all the helmets that can be found today with such a decal are "FANTASY" pieces produced in recent years to deceive collectors.

Some Fake Helmets with fake DAK Palmtree Symbol found in the internet:


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