just some daft questions , if east germany was under soviet rule during the cold war why did they allow a design m56 helmet so reminicent of the stalhelm and was the ssch 68 conehead helmet copied from it i think they look very similar cheers james
08-06-2011 06:27 PM
Re: ddr helmet
I cannot comment on the design process of the Soviet SSH-68 helmet, but the steel helmet of the NVA was indeed based on a late-war helmet development project of the Wehrmacht intended to replace the M35/M40 helmet.
This new-model helmet's all-around-sloping, conical shape was chosen as it had turned out that the older "coalscuttle" helmets had a structural weakness at the line were the helmet's "dome" broadened into its "skirt", causing many projectiles and bits of shrapnel to penetrate the helmet at that line. The new shape eliminated this problem and was generally better in deflecting projectiles and in terms of stability/ballistic protection. Read more here:
The BEST steel helmet design in the world! - Page 2 - Wehrmacht-Awards.com Militaria Forums
As for the heavy traditional German design influences on the uniforms of the East German armed forces: This was a very conscious decision, with the East German armed forces understanding themselves as the keepers of the old military traditions of Germany's "armies of national liberation" as opposed to the West German Armed forces who were denigrated as "mercenary formations under American command", clad in "American uniforms".
The Soviets didn't mind at all. In fact, there is a famous anecdote about this. The forerunner of the NVA, the KVP [Kasernierte Volkspolizei or "Garrisoned People's Police"] had worn uniforms that were heavily influenced by the Soviet ones.
On the occasion of the signing of the Warsaw Treaty in 1955, the KVP's Commander Hoffmann met the Soviet Union's Chairman of the Ministerial Council and former Defense Secretary Bulganin, who took him aside and asked: "You are Germans! Why aren't you wearing German uniforms then?"
Re: ddr helmet
many thanks for enlightening me hpl your input is most appreciated