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Battle damaged German M16 helmet

Article about: A recent find at an arms fair last weekend, a battle damaged M16 helmet with entry and exit holes along with damage to rear skirt. Overall condition is better than a relic, and there are tra

  1. #1

    Default Battle damaged German M16 helmet

    A recent find at an arms fair last weekend, a battle damaged M16 helmet with entry and exit holes along with damage to rear skirt.


    Battle damaged German M16 helmet


    Overall condition is better than a relic, and there are traces of the original green paint - mostly to the outside. This shell once formed part of the exhibition at the Cloth Hall at Ypres where it hung on a wall with other damaged helmets. During the refurbishment of the museum in 2010/12 when the museum was 'modernised', many of these helmets were taken down from the display. If it was being worn when it was hit by the missile, there would be no chance of the wearer surviving. But I always prefer to think that it might have been hit when discarded.

    Battle damaged German M16 helmetBattle damaged German M16 helmetBattle damaged German M16 helmetBattle damaged German M16 helmetBattle damaged German M16 helmetBattle damaged German M16 helmet


    Manufacturers code is for Isenhuttenwerk, Silesia... and according to internet information, they only produced up to size 66. Now for me this creates a problem, because this shell is size 68. I've tried to photograph the stamp as best I can, but the first letter is indistinct - although there is no doubting that the second letter is a lower case 'i', so it poses a bit of a conundrum - as Isenhuttenwerk Silesia was the only manufacturer to include a lower case 'i' in the code.

    Cheers,
    Steve


    Battle damaged German M16 helmetBattle damaged German M16 helmetBattle damaged German M16 helmet

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    Congratulations on acquiring this example Steve! It’s in great condition. I always find items that have been in museum collections very interesting as they have that added layer of history.

    Regarding the shell size, yes, Si only made 62 and 66, however I agree that the stamping does look like a size 68. I feel it’s mostly likely a 66 with a very poor stamping which combined with the advance of time is now looking more like a 68. Below is an Si66 stamping for comparison. I also measured the exterior of this example with the tape measure running directly below the vent lugs and over the rear liner pin and came up with 65.5 cm. Not the most accurate way to do it perhaps but would give you something to compare with.

    Happy to show it to some very experienced WW1 helmet collecting friends for further opinions if you would like me to?

    Andy
    Battle damaged German M16 helmet

  5. #4

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    It most definitely is size 68 Andy, and I took the trouble to measure it with a tape! That's why I said that it creates a problem, it goes against the accepted production sizes for that company. Viewed through a jewelers eyepiece, the stamp is clearly Si 68... Its a shallow stamping though, and extremely difficult to photograph. thanks for the offer of showing it to your collector friends for opinions, but I am quite happy with my own findings. Over the past 60 or so years I have occasionally come across items of militaria which challenge the accepted view of certain artefacts.

    Cheers,
    Steve

  6. #5

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    Nice helmet, thank You for sharing photos.

  7. #6

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    Quote by HARRY THE MOLE View Post
    It most definitely is size 68 Andy, and I took the trouble to measure it with a tape! That's why I said that it creates a problem, it goes against the accepted production sizes for that company. Viewed through a jewelers eyepiece, the stamp is clearly Si 68... Its a shallow stamping though, and extremely difficult to photograph. thanks for the offer of showing it to your collector friends for opinions, but I am quite happy with my own findings. Over the past 60 or so years I have occasionally come across items of militaria which challenge the accepted view of certain artefacts.

    Cheers,
    Steve
    Thanks for the comments Steve. To my eyes its still an Si 66, however I took the liberty of showing it to some advanced Imperial German helmet collectors, one of whom included an internationally recognised author in the field, and all agreed it was a 66, as I initially stated. While it would be exciting to think that a rusty relic with a light stamp has broken new ground in our understanding of WW1 steel helmets and was a discovery that had caused the revision of years of research, I think sometimes our eyes simply see what they want to see.

    This of course takes nothing away from this interesting relic which shows the destructive nature of projectiles such as those that filled the air on the battlefield during WW1.

    Cheers,
    Andy

  8. #7

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    Quote by AndyM35 View Post
    Thanks for the comments Steve. To my eyes its still an Si 66, however I took the liberty of showing it to some advanced Imperial German helmet collectors, one of whom included an internationally recognised author in the field, and all agreed it was a 66, as I initially stated. While it would be exciting to think that a rusty relic with a light stamp has broken new ground in our understanding of WW1 steel helmets and was a discovery that had caused the revision of years of research, I think sometimes our eyes simply see what they want to see.

    This of course takes nothing away from this interesting relic which shows the destructive nature of projectiles such as those that filled the air on the battlefield during WW1.

    Cheers,
    Andy
    Hello Andy,

    This shows the reluctance of some collectors and 'recognized' authors to accept evidence presented to them which throws into doubt previously believed production information. As I have already stated, I measured the shell, and checking it again, the measurement is EXACTLY 67.5cm in circumference. We have already established that your collector friends believe that the stamp is definitely Si followed by (possibly) size 66 - although I still say 68, so there is no mistaking the manufacturer. Maybe your collector friends can explain why a helmet shell measuring 67.5cm in circumference is really a smaller size 66cm shell? As you have already said, your Si 66 helmet measures 65.5cm, so perhaps your friends can explain the 2cm discrepancy in size between the two? I await a plausible answer!

    Cheers,
    Steve

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    That's some serious damage to the shell

    Hard to say if the stamp is a 66 or 68 but certainly something that needs to be researched further. Would be great if you found a helmet that expands our knowledge
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  10. #9

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    Regardless of the the “measurements”, I still see “66”. A very weakly stamped 66, but 66 nonetheless. Unless multiple 68 stamped Si manufactured shells are discovered we will not have what is known as a correlation. But without that, all we currently have a is a relic shell. Not exactly the type of evidence to change the known facts about this manufacturer activities during WW1. A small discrepancy in shell size of one shell again does not form a correlation. We would need to have more than 1. If you can find these other examples, then perhaps it’s time the re-visit our current understanding. I applaud your search for the truth Steve and agree that it sets a dangerous precedent not to investigate new information that could lead to a better understanding, however, I also think it can be very dangerous to try to re-write accepted knowledge based on one very poorly stamped shell.

    One of those whose expert opinion I sought was prolific Militaria author and author of the recent Regimentals work Stahlshutzhelme: The German Steel Combat Helmet 1915-1918, Oliver Lock who is a world renowned collector. He underlined that Si only made size 62 and 66 shells, and without proper evidence I really can’t refute that statement. And while we’re here, I’d like to recommend his books to anyone with an interest in WW1 German helmets as the book is a very well researched work filled with wonderful images and factual information.

    Battle damaged German M16 helmet

  11. #10

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    Quote by AndyM35 View Post
    Regardless of the the “measurements”, I still see “66”. A very weakly stamped 66, but 66 nonetheless. Unless multiple 68 stamped Si manufactured shells are discovered we will not have what is known as a correlation. But without that, all we currently have a is a relic shell. Not exactly the type of evidence to change the known facts about this manufacturer activities during WW1. A small discrepancy in shell size of one shell again does not form a correlation. We would need to have more than 1. If you can find these other examples, then perhaps it’s time the re-visit our current understanding. I applaud your search for the truth Steve and agree that it sets a dangerous precedent not to investigate new information that could lead to a better understanding, however, I also think it can be very dangerous to try to re-write accepted knowledge based on one very poorly stamped shell.

    One of those whose expert opinion I sought was prolific Militaria author and author of the recent Regimentals work Stahlshutzhelme: The German Steel Combat Helmet 1915-1918, Oliver Lock who is a world renowned collector. He underlined that Si only made size 62 and 66 shells, and without proper evidence I really can’t refute that statement. And while we’re here, I’d like to recommend his books to anyone with an interest in WW1 German helmets as the book is a very well researched work filled with wonderful images and factual information.

    Battle damaged German M16 helmet
    Nobody is trying to re-write anything, and I only report what I see. I already know the importance of proper and diligent research myself with being a three times published author. I am fully aware of what is said about helmets produced by Isenhuttenwerk and the helmet sizes they made, but a 2cm difference in size from the accepted size 66 they made is a lot and cannot be ignored... After all, its not as though the helmet could be stretched by 2cm from the largest size they made is it? I have the advantage of actually having the helmet in hand, and I would not stick my neck out like this unless I was sure about what I see with my magnifier. I will try and get a better picture than the previous one's I took, but any author worth his salt knows the importance of not dismissing things out of hand for no apparent reason other than it does not conform with current knowledge and thinking. Keeping an open mind to any possibilities is how we advance our knowledge. To do anything else is a retrograde step.

    Cheers,
    Steve

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