Austrian SS M-16 Style Transitional Helmet
This is an Austrian M-16 style steel helmet commercially manufactured in the Post-WWI period and issued to the SS in the 1930s. It is a copy of the WWI Austrian M-16 steel helmet. Although the exact origins of this type of helmet are unknown, it appears to be a type issued to either Austrian gendarmes or policemen during 1930s due to the two small holes punched on the right side. These would have been used to attach some sort of identifying badge. “The SS routinely sourced equipment outside of Germany because as a political organization they had little access to the Wehrmacht procurement system for personnel, weapons, equipment, and training. Thus, a wide array of helmet patterns found their way into the fledgling SS organization.”1
The exterior paint finish is an earthy greenish brown. This coating, however, is over the factory field gray as well as a middle layer of black, indicating its former use with the black uniform of the Allgemeine-SS. Kelly Hicks, a leading authority on SS helmets, mentions in the article “The Enigmatic ‘Austrian Pattern’ Transitional SS Helmet” featured on our site that an SD unit likely put on this paint finish when they received their new uniforms.2
The decals are the “Austrian” pattern. The SS runic shield is very similar to the CA Pocher pattern, but the runes are elongated and the silver is smooth metallic, not granulated. Also, the distinctive Pocher raised border around the runes is not present on this example. The “Austrian” pattern Nazi party shield, however, is a different story. It has no similar in regards to other manufacturers. It features an oversized swastika with a large white circle that covers a large portion of the decal.
This helmet is also featured in the publications SS-Steel: Parade and Combat Helmets of Germany's Third Reich Elite by Kelly Hicks on pages 58-59; as well as SS Helmets: The History, Use and Decoration of the Helmets of the Black Corps by Michael D. Beaver on pages 36-37.
|Austria, Germany||Interwar Period|