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KuK M16 helmet question

Article about: Had a question regarding Austro-Hungarian use of German M16 helmets. When these were purchased, were they complete helmets or were they just the shells? I saw one a month or so ago -- brown

  1. #1

    Default KuK M16 helmet question

    Had a question regarding Austro-Hungarian use of German M16 helmets.

    When these were purchased, were they complete helmets or were they just the shells?
    I saw one a month or so ago -- brown shell and AH steel liner band with the first-pattern AH chinstrap (using the German attach points). It had an unreadable ink stamping inside (UO?) the rear interior of the shell similar to the AH M17 lids. But definitely a German M16 shell. Trying to figure out if this was a wartime depot refurbished helmet (if such a thing existed) ?
    Last edited by FtrPlt; 06-18-2021 at 03:58 PM.

  2. #2


    Hi they puchased a load of shells in 1916/17 and fitted them with their own liners. they painted them brown green and the UO markings are what remains of the acceptance stamps of the KuK.

    any pictures ?



  3. #3


    Unfortunately, no photos. I saw this while at a flea market with my wife. Said flea market rarely has any militaria so I left my phone in the car. Plus the guys selling was asking crazy money -- $2500 IIRC. It was just the shell and liner band.

    Thanks for your reply. Learned something new! I always assumed the helmets were purchased ready-to-wear. I'll have to take a closer look at some wartime photos. I thought some showed leather chinstraps. Plus with B&W photo's, you can't tell the color.

  4. #4


    $25.00 - that's a good price! Oh....uh... $2500? Never mind.

  5. #5


    Muddying the waters! This article suggests the purchased German helmets retained their field grey paint and German chinstraps. An AH-produced replacement chinstrap was available that would fit the M91 mounting system.

    "The German helmets were left in their original colour and with their original accessories, including the German M91 chinstrap. The German chinstrap was easily lost, however, and since there were no replacement parts, an Austro-Hungarian made canvas chinstrap was issued."

    "All AustroHungarian made helmets were painted field-brown, while the German import helmets were left in their original field-grey colour."

    (from pages 3 and 4 of the above link)

  6. #6


    Continuing down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out how/when a German made M16 helmet would end up with AH brown paint and components.

    The case for supporting Spandau's statement that the AH purchased German-made M16 helmets were shells and painted/assembled in Austro-Hungary.

    The two photos below are via website, Brendon's Helmets ( Austria M17 - Brendon's Helmets )
    The description listed is, "Early Austrian helmets were supplied by Germany, this example would have been amongst the first shells supplied as the chinstrap rivets are still in a lower position. The Austrians fitted their own chinstrap bales, chinstraps and liner and painted them in Austrian "Isonzo braun." These modifications were carried out with German machinery at the "Adolf Westen di Cilli" factory, which is now Celije, in Slovenia.
    The shell bares the stamp "ET 64" (E.T - Eisenhuttenwork Thale A.G, size 64). In addition there is a triangular Austrian Arsenal ink stamp on the inside skirt of the shell."

    The pictured helmet is clearly marked ET64 and the UO acceptance stamp clearly seen.

    What remains unknown: when was this helmet painted (was it originally issued in field grey and was later refurbished/reconfigured)?

    Arguments for the AH use of the imported M16 helmets in their German configuration also exist. Those with the book, "The Emperor's Coat" will find several photos of AH soldiers wearing their M16's complete with the leather M91 chinstrap.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture KuK M16 helmet question  

  7. #7


    Spent some time this past weekend further digging for more information. I'm leaning towards thinking the imported German-made helmets were left field grey. Primarily based on numbers. Of the 1-million odd helmets used by Austro-Hungary during WW1, about 416,000 (source: emperor's coat reference book on uniforms) were purchased from Germany. That's about 40% of the total helmets used. That's a huge percentage. If these were purchased as shells and painted brown, there should be large numbers of German-made brown helmets in collections, museums, etc. There don't appear to be many.

    Certainly some German-made helmets wore brown -- as seen in the photo -- but I'm betting the majority did not.

  8. #8


    I think I've found the answer to my question regrading AH-use of the German-made M16 helmets. I have yet to see documentation but ,via an Italian collector site, it appears the helmets could follow three paths.

    1. Helmets were purchased complete (I'm guessing this is probably the initial purchases) field gray paint; leather chinstraps and German liners

    2. Two AH helmet factories appear to have been designated to refurbish battlefield recovered helmets. Helmets coming in from south of the Danube went to A Westen in Cilli. Those coming in from north of the Danube went to Brüder Gottlieb & Brauchbar, based in Brünn.

    3. Raw helmets coming in from Germany were painted and completed at A Westen in Cilli. I'm presuming these are later orders of M16 shells. I don't know if AH purchased M18 shells. I've seen one German made M16 helmet with the square AH Cilli acceptance stamp and believe this is/was an example of a A Westen completed helmet.

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