|German Helmet in "Apple Green"|
I love the black helmet that uncle brought back from Normandy, still well preserved after seven decades, but the helmet is not a combat helmet. It is a civilian police helmet. It is in the standard M-34 Nazi helmet shape, but the steel is is a lighter gauge, and it has a different kind of vent holes. Why my uncle picked this helmet among the thousands available, I do not know. In any case, I have always wanted a Nazi battle helmet. Why? Just curiosity, I suppose, or a desire to own a piece of history. In any case, I have been scouring the internet for sources of such helmets. A well preserved German army helmet can be prohibitively expensive, so I have been looking for bargains.
|Uncle's German Police Helmet|
So far I have bought three helmets. Ironically, one is another police helmet, authentic and identical to the one I already have. Another is a reproduction of the M-35 German combat helmet, my favorite model, painted in German field gray, the most typical color. It has the proper liner and chin strap, and I will use it for reference. A third is an actual German M-40 model helmet, but it was repainted black after the war and used as a civil defense helmet in Czechoslovakia. It has minor rust spots, the liner is wrong, may have come from another type of helmet. I intend to strip it of paint and rust, and spray paint it in early war apple green, with double decals, one on each side of the helmet. I have also ordered a replacement (reproduction) inner liner.
Last night I watched a film about the Battle of Kursk, Russia. I was interested because Kursk is where "my Nazi," Corporal Franz Schmid, was killed. Schmid's life and mine intersect only in a very oblique way: his photo and death notice were in one of the wallets my uncle retrieved at Normandy. Before last week I had never heard of the Battle of Kursk, but it was an intense fight, probably the greatest tank battle in history. Hitler, his big fat ego punctured by the German loss at Stalingrad, was eager for revenge on the Russians. The Battle of Kursk was to reverse his fortunes on the Eastern front, and inflict heavy damage on the Russian army. However, the Russians kicked his butt in a serious way, largely destroying his armored divisions, and put Hitler into a steadily deteriorating, defensive position.
In my opinion, Adolph Hitler was a fool, a lousy military leader who wasted his splendid military by overreaching (his invasion of Russia was particularly stupid) smashing his armies against the brick wall of impossible goals, in a do-it or die bravado. They didn't do it, and a great many died.