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Battlefield Dug M42

Article about: Hi, I am new to the forum and I recently purchased a German WW2 helmet. This is the first one I have bought and I have no experience with them prior to this. I think I know what it is for th

  1. #1

    Question Battlefield Dug M42

    Hi, I am new to the forum and I recently purchased a German WW2 helmet. This is the first one I have bought and I have no experience with them prior to this. I think I know what it is for the most part, but wanted some further insight.

    Description: It is quite rusty, though I believe it is mostly surface rust. The right side is bent/dented where the edge starts to curve out, the lip on the front is curled upwards, the left side has a crack, and the top is messed up. It appears to have had a large hole in the top, and as it sat in the ground it may have rusted and became larger. There are two noticeable dents that I believe are battle damage of some sort. The top is dented, cracked, and somewhat caved in. The metal around the holes and edges is darker, like it is wet. However, it is not wet and I don't know why it is like this.
    As for decals and paint, I cannot see either of them. There looks to be some sort of greenish colored areas that are smooth on the inside of the helmet. I don't know if this is a trace of the original color, or just from being buried. Also, where are the factory markings located? I have searched and cannot find any, although they may be rusted away by now.

    History: I bought this helmet for $20 at a local shop. The owner said that he only had a story passed by word of mouth about it. His story is: It was uncovered in the area where the battle of Stalingrad took place. Some workers were bulldozing for a new building and while working, this helmet and a few other things rolled out. He said that the Russians, having lost so many men in WW2, still care nothing about the German relics and regard them as trash. They were going to throw them out when someone said they wanted it. Somehow it made its way over to the U.S. and here I am with it. The story seems so bland that I see no reason that anyone would want to make it up. The bulldozing may account for some of the dents in it. I have noticed that the battle of Stalingrad was in the winter of 1942-43. I assume that the M42 helmets would have had time to be distributed by then. If they were still painting decals on the helmets by this time, that means that mine has worn off. As for the date, the inside of the helmet says 1943. This would put it at the end of the battle. Would this just be a guess at a date, or is there something I just don't know?

    Any help and information would be greatly appreciated. Did I get a good deal? Also, would it be worth it to try to clean some of the rust powder off of it? Every time I pick it up my hands become brownish-red. Thanks, and I look forward to any answers!
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Battlefield Dug M42

    Unfortunately there's no hard provenance that this relic was at Stalingrad, only a word of mouth story and an inscription which was obviously penned by someone later , also there is a great deal of heavy corrosion on the dome ,so much so that the metal has thinned to a very fragile state and will decay more until the dome collapses, take it for what it is, just a relic M42

  4. #3

    Default Re: Battlefield Dug M42

    It is a nice original M42 helmet but in bad condition. Found from Stalingrad or not - impossible to tell and it actually does not matter - Stalingrad battlefield relics do not have any special value and there are even today very many relics. But as most people know only Stalingard battle from the WWII it is of course easier to sell "Stalingrad" relics...

  5. #4

    Default Re: Battlefield Dug M42

    Thanks for the responses guys! I know it is in bad condition, but it just grabbed my attention and I had to have it. $20 didn't seem like too bad of a deal. The history of these helmets and just knowing that it was right there in the heat of battle, wherever that may have been, is something that grabs me every time I look at it. Is there anything I can do to help preserve it? I have heard that Renaissance wax is good for them. Should I try to gently wash some of the dirt off before applying the wax? Sorry for all of the questions but I just want to keep it from becoming a complete pile of rust.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Battlefield Dug M42

    I think you'll have a hell of a time trying to coat that corrosion with renaissance wax, the wax will build up in the low spots and all you'll see it the white wax everywhere. If you work out a system of application that is acceptable, please post photos of how you did it as i've only had luck with smooth surfaces. There are plenty of threads in the restoration forum that will help you in your quest to clean/stablise/preserve your helmet.

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