I fully agree with you there Jim I took the time to look at that helmet and the post last night and it is one of the nicest lids I have ever seen .
Regards Mark K
Jim your explanation makes perfect sense. I have handled a M42 SS helmet that had a decal on the front but was removed, and was there for a long time. There was a clear patination difference where the shield was and it was the exact shape of a Heer or SS decal. If it wasn't applied wartime it was there for a long time to create that patina difference. I suspect a collector later removed it as it would have been so unconventional.
I wonder if for some reason a decal applied on the front was for some rapid identification purposes, much like a double runic was suspected of being. The German's typically didn't do things like this on a whim, everything had a plan and purpose. Perhaps it was a late war way to identify an ammunition runner, signals tech or something along those lines. All we can do is speculate but a period photo or two would be nice. I wonder if Ron R has a period photo like this maybe.
I am certain your decals were period applied and later denazified. The ad hoc camo pattern indicates a fast application of camo and more than likely for Volksturm or someone in a supporting combat role. Whatever the case, I am sure the wearer was not a hardened front line combat veteran, but more likely a young teen or elderly veteran of the World War. I love it Jim, great helmet.