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What do helmets actually say?

Article about: I was going to reply in this thread http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/fallsc...09/#post810136 but my thoughts are so comprehensive as to warrant its own post and discussion and so as not to dist

  1. #1
    ?

    Default What do helmets actually say?

    I was going to reply in this thread

    http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/fallsc...09/#post810136

    but my thoughts are so comprehensive as to warrant its own post and discussion and so as not to distract from the fine battle damaged Fallschirmjager helmet Jersey Shore presented. They are also not meant to be inconsiderate to those who collect battle damaged or relic helmets, in fact I own a semi-relic and a few battle damaged helmets myself and love them. I start this thread but to simply provoke some thought and discourse.

    So that said, what does a helmet "say"? We all look at our helmets, whether it be we have 1 or 1000, and imagine where they have been, what they have seen, and if they could talk what would they say? In other words, each helmet is a book. And the shell is it's cover. So, do we judge a book by its cover when we say a mint or top condition helmet has no soul, no story and saw nothing? Does a helmet have to have a bullet hole in it (by someone, a GI target practice, postwar target practice, who knows?) But what does each book say, and is the cover the real story?

    I say that a mint helmet not telling a story couldn't be further from the truth. I say the story is the man the helmet belonged to. For example, I've a near mint double decal Heer Q M35, named to a Knights Cross winner. His story is unbelievable. Was this helmet worn in combat? I do not know, but it had a nice golden patina that a collector removed (argghhh...) I have 3 camp helmets named and researched to SS men who were at these infamous places, Natzweiler, Dachau and Sachsenhausen. The helmets themselves are in good to exceptional condition. Imagine the stories those would tell, the pain and suffering, internal conflict, the private thoughts of these men as they had power over all and later saw their world collapse around them. A helmet named to a senior SS General. His file is about 2 inches thick, with many mentions and letters to Himmler, Heydrich, and even Hitler is mentioned in some files.

    A top LAH black parade helmet, a near mint named twice black M35 parade helmet. Imagine channeling in to one of the massive rallies and hearing the crowds, wondering if you might be enchanted by the atmosphere, knowing the horrors the regime perpetrated. A unit marked and named SS-VT helmet, from the earliest days of the regime. What would that say? Did the soldier believe the clap trap of the master race? I have a named top condition SS M42 helmet that has several small shrapnel holes, brought home by a Canadian vet who captured it shortly after D-Day. Was the member a Hitler Youth? Was he killed? Did he live? What battles did he see, or fight in? Did he kill any of my countrymen? A factory mint SA parade M35 double decal helmet. Where was this helmet, given the nature of the helmet what guard duty or senior post did he have? An amazing, dead mint beaded M40 Q LUftschutze, named to a woman, Inge Hess. How old was she? 14? Or 40? Imagine the horrors of air raids, fighting fires, assisting moving the sick and elderly into bomb shelters and the horrors of the aftermath of a 1000 plane raid.

    These are just a few examples.

    So you see my friends, a helmet need not be shot up, or rusted out, or dug up, to have a story. I urge you to look past the cover of the book, and read the story within!

    Cheers.

    Doug

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  3. #2

    Default Re: What do helmets actually say?

    I take your point, but I was really talking about mint/unissued helmets with no owner other than they were made and stacked on a shelf in a quartermasters store or similar. My para helmet makes each and everyone who see's at least say "ouch", where a mint helmet of the shelf would get a "wow".

  4. #3

    Default Re: What do helmets actually say?

    A very thoughtful post Doug, and a very pleasant read.
    Ralph.
    Searching for anything relating to, Anton Boos, 934 Stamm. Kp. Pz. Erz. Abt. 7, 3 Kompanie, Panzer-Regiment 2, 16th Panzer-Division (My father)

  5. #4

    Default Re: What do helmets actually say?

    Quote by JERSEY 34 View Post
    I take your point, but I was really talking about mint/unissued helmets with no owner other than they were made and stacked on a shelf in a quartermasters store or similar. My para helmet makes each and everyone who see's at least say "ouch", where a mint helmet of the shelf would get a "wow".
    I agree, the mint M35 that was on here a couple of months did nothing for me.
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.



    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

  6. #5

    Default Re: What do helmets actually say?

    Quote by JERSEY 34 View Post
    I take your point, but I was really talking about mint/unissued helmets with no owner other than they were made and stacked on a shelf in a quartermasters store or similar. My para helmet makes each and everyone who see's at least say "ouch", where a mint helmet of the shelf would get a "wow".
    I tend to think like you D, my dream is to have a helmet from the Channel Islands occupation, itís not just from some anonymous person or organisation I have/had no connection with. The helmets left over from the Islands occupation are part of our History. I do like a nice combat worn example more than anything

    But after saying all that, I would be partial to a nice mint named SS-VT helmet ! haha

  7. #6

    Default Re: What do helmets actually say?

    Helmets with history are everyone's favorite , even the tiniest little bit of info (vet bringback for example) makes a helmet that little bit more interesting than a similar example with no story attached to.
    But history doesn't discriminate , ground dug , salty attic find , vet bringback , taken from a dead soldier , left behind in house , these helmets will be in varied conditions. From rusty to very good A+++ condition.
    Why some people feel the need to openly discriminate against helmets in A+++ condition I cannot understand. While some of these mint helmets may not have seen the battlefield they now serve another purposes as they are the best representative examples of their kind as if they just emerged from the factory in Germany or were worn by the rookie who got captured on his first day on the front. I find that really fascinating and these examples are hard to find. Generally the better condition the helmet has , the more it teaches us.
    And why not enjoy both battle look and mint together ? That's the way to go in my opinion.

    Here are two M40's , one used to have a whitewash and has a damaged decal and has a painted name and rank. Torn rear seam of the leather.
    The other is as clean as a whistle , with some light damage to the exterior paint , dead mint leather and chinstrap and a 99% decal.

  8. #7

    Default Re: What do helmets actually say?

    Though I no longer collect German helmets -or anything German- I still have lots of German items in my collection including a number of tropenhelms as well as insignia and I have items in both conditions and anywhere in between and all tell a story, or would if we knew their history, regardless of their condition and the same applies to militaria from any nation or period and all that interest me are welcome in my collection and are considered as being representative of the nations and periods that they are from. Both are the two sides of the same coin and you only get half the picture if you only collect the one or the other and you probably do not see the whole story that is there to see without having both in your collection.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  9. #8

    Default Re: What do helmets actually say?

    It depends. Do you want a history, or history.

    The battle damaged, rusty, well worn cap or helmet is the personal story behind one of the many fates during the war. Was he killed?, injured? maybe he survived without a scratch? If you can't find a name in it, you will perhaps never know.

    The mint helmet is the story behind the industrial might of the 20th century.
    It's a tale about a country, an idea, a political party, a king, an emperor, a dictator, an industrial magnate, an inventor or the worker that made the helmet.

    They are equally worth and both deserve recognition, although some will always prefer one over the other.
    Last edited by 37Webbing; 02-23-2013 at 09:37 PM.

  10. #9

    Default Re: What do helmets actually say?

    To me itís all about the combat. If a helmet never saw action, or was never used at it were, then it may as well be cup and saucer sat on some office clerks desk throughout the war. Obviously there are exceptions to that of course, but extreme ones

  11. #10

    Default Re: What do helmets actually say?

    Quote by 37Webbing View Post
    It depends. Do you want a history, or history.

    The battle damaged, rusty, well worn cap or helmet is the personal story behind one of the many fates during the war. Was he killed?, injured? maybe he survived without a scratch? If you can't find a name in it, you will perhaps never know.

    The mint helmet is the story behind the industrial might of the 20th century.
    It's a tale about a country, an idea, a political party, an industrial magnate, an inventor and the worker that made the helmet.

    They are equally worth and both deserve recognition, although some will always prefer one over the other.

    I agree, this is exactly how I feel.

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