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  1. #1
    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    Opinions on East German Helmets

    Decided last night that I need an East German helmet because it's somewhat unique in style. I'm aware they were farmed out to a few other countries and regions but for my purposes, I want to stick with East Germanyicon.

    Would it be better in the long run to have a well used early example with WWII style liner, some exterior rust, a few dents, etc or a near mint later example with a plastic no rivet liner top and foam padding?

    I'm leaning towards the early version even though they are considerably more than the later ones.

    And yes, I could buy both or even the third version with the plastic with rivets liner but for now, just thinking the one would be enough.

    On a side note, IMA has put their Finnishicon M55 helmets on sale for $49 at the moment, haven't seen them that low in a couple of years and no idea how long they will last at that price. I ordered one. Never bought on before because I didn't feel like spending $79 on one.

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    Contributing Member BEAR's Avatar
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    Some years ago I purchased an M56/66 in excellent condition to help with my growing collection. It was then I learned that the helmet was designed in 1944 but was rejected by Hitler due to it's shape. East Germanyicon adopted it because the Soviets wouldn't let them use the M35/40/42 design (bad Ju Ju).
    Have you found an early model M56 with the early liner? What's the cost of that version? I have never found one.

    BEAR

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    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    I did find the early one. There were four on ebay from the same seller at $100. A fifth was $80 but one half of the straps were missing. I bought the one with no surface rust on it. The other three all have some surface rust. The one with the broken straps was probably the nicest of all but for the broken straps. So if you're still interested there are 3 complete ones still on there.

    I read the same information. I did not know that until I started my quest.

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    Contributing Member BEAR's Avatar
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    I did see those helmets on ebay and searching thru found a few more at varying prices, though most were in rough condition.
    The original M56s were worn by the Kasernierte Volkspolizei (affectionately known as VOPOs) and only served for 10 years before they were replaced by the M56/66. The new helmets were worn by the new Nationale Volksarmee (NVA).
    The old helmets were sent to other communist countries like North Vietnam.

    BEAR
    Last edited by BEAR; 02-23-2021 at 04:23 PM.

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    Contributing Member BEAR's Avatar
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    Oops! my mistake. It was the M56/76 that used a rivetless helmet shell.
    Last edited by BEAR; 02-23-2021 at 04:23 PM.

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    Contributing Member Flying10uk's Avatar
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    I purchased a late unissued example in near mint condition a few years ago on the basis that there is a finite number of unissued examples in existence and they will only get less common. I would still buy a used early example if I saw one at a reasonable price.



    My understanding is that this helmet proved very good under testing but didn't have the "X Factor" for Hitler and so wasn't put into production during WW2. When East Germanyicon needed a new helmet all of the design work and testing had been done on this helmet and so could easily be put into production, without too much additional cost.

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    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    Helmet came already today totally unexpected. I thought the Finnishicon helmet from IMA was coming because they usually only take a couple of days due to close proximity to my location.

    I like it. It fits and it's comfortable. This one was made in September 1960 and is a size 2.

    .






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    Contributing Member BEAR's Avatar
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    Nice looking helmet.
    Oh yeah, don't smile when you wear that helmet. VOPOs never, never smile. We used to see them when the Duty Train would stop in Potsdam at 02:00. They would clump along the roof with their helmets on and carrying submachine guns. We were not allowed to look outside the train windows and kept the blinds pulled down. If they came on board the train you were not to engage them in conversation or look them in the eye.
    Questions would be asked only by their Sovieticon handlers. Now a different kettle of fish were the Soviet soldiers. They were friendly and talkative, and always wanted to trade for western items like cigarettes and blue jeans. I still have a Soviet Army cap star I traded a Coca Cola for.

    BEAR

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    Really Senior Member matthanne1's Avatar
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    IMHO, they were useful, mostly for shrapnel and dirty looks, but four-point straps were an improvement. Mine 'rang' when tapped, like striking an empty 55-gallon drum, so I put the camo cover on it and wet it, tying it tighter and flattening the net flat under it until it fit better It sits high on the head like the M1icon did (bobblehead effect). Turkeyicon, Egypt, Syria, and a couple others got the surplussed helmets if I remember correctly.

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