by Greg Pickersgill
Even Germans find Baer's syntax a challenge. Initial development of the M56 was by VEB Thale (our old friend ET - Eisenhüttenwerk Thale, which had developed its wartime precursor the B/II) but while Thale continued to provide the steel, the main producer of helmet bodies from 1957-on was VEB Schwerter Emaillierwerke Lauter (the former Sächsische Emailler und Stanzwerk, Lauter). The liners were produced by VEB Schwerter Emaillierwerke Lauter.
02-15-2015 09:13 PM
RVLucy is correct, I did a comparison with my 1971 dated shell and a 1987 dated shell, the earlier 1971 shell is the same shape as the original M56 while the later post 1976 dated shells had a slightly different shape around the brim, it was a little more flared out on the edge and the top is flatter and not as rounded.
so it depends on the date markings on the shell
Sorry a duplication here, the liners were in fact made by VEB Leder und Sattlerwaren in Tauche.
Last edited by RVLucy; 02-17-2015 at 12:46 PM.
Thank you for this interesting info, Roger. Mostly new to me and much appreciated. For years I thought the differences mentioned were due to pressing differences between sizes of shell - eg only the large (size 3) shell had the more pronounced rim turn. By the way, do you know if it is the case that at some late stage (1976?) sizes 1 and 2 were discontinued leaving size 3 as a one-size-fits-all? I don't know where I picked up this idea but as I've never found size 1 or 2 examples of the M56/76 it seemed to ring true. Incidentally, I've never found a size 3 M56 with or without the I-31 liner. Almost all that I've examined have been 2s, the single exception being a 1 a few years ago with the I-31 liner. All I have in my collection now is an M56 2/I-31 and an M56/76 3.
According to Baer (vol.II page 3) the Size I M56 body disappeared sometime between 1967 and 1970. "Zu diesem Zeitpinkt (1967 bis 1970) fiel aus die Kalottengroße I weg."
I have not seen a size III M56 either, and have only one size I - T1/56. With respect to sizes II and III, I have 1989- dated M56/76s in both sizes, as well as 1978 and 1984-dated size IIs.
Well, I've just recently found a M56/66 Size 3 - after 20+ years of looking! So, I thought I too would compare the 66 with the 76 and here are the results.
The 66 is dated 1971, the 76 1978. The 76 also has a faint bluish 'E' printed inside the crown:
76 on the left, 66 right:
The 66 shell has a darker textured (on the outside) finish. The 76 is smooth inside and out and slightly matter - this may explain the 66 looking darker. 66 above, 76 below.
The liners of both are identical.
The 66 weighs 1279g, the 76 1131g. These are the shell only, with the liners removed.
Placed rim against rim, the shells are very nearly exactly the same in all directions.
The 76 has a slightly more pronounced rim upturn than the 66, as mention before in this thread.
The 66 rim front:
The 66 rim rear:
The 76 rim front:
The 76 rim rear:
Placed upside down, the 66 shell wobbles slightly more freely than the 76 which has a tendency to re-balance faster due to it's slightly flatter contour.
Looking down on the shells, with them upright or upside down, the different crown contours are distinguishable by way of different light reflexions. Likewise, seen upside down on a surface with light behind, the differences can just be made out. 76 left, 66 right.
Looking down on both but swopping sides to even out light effect:
66 on the right:
The depth of the shells, at the deepest point measured to a line level with rim extending from side to side, is very slightly different - in the region of 1 to 2 mm with the 66 the deeper.
Last edited by JBR; 04-01-2015 at 05:58 PM.
well done ,looking forward to the pictures
I've added the pics. Hope it all makes sense. My PC keeps throwing me out when I try to Edit Post, so I'll try tidying up another day.
Some cautionary notes:
1. The differences are quite slight, if you discount the finish and weight differences. But they do bear out other peoples comparisons and observations.
2. This was not a scientific comparison. My measuring tools, for example are basic.
3. Individual shells vary a great deal (maybe not so much in DDR production as in other countries) due to production techniques even without changes to the processes.
Looking forward to comments!
well that truly is a fascinating study between the model differances ,thank you for your time and effort
Thank You JBR for that great comparision between the 2 models.