1. Thinsid

    Thinsid Loyal Comrade

    Greetings All!
    Can Anyone help with the following regarding Above?

    1) What is the correct inner to fit an M56, And can anyone tell me its reference number / ID code?
    2) Am I correct in assuming that I would need to remove it in order to find its ID? If so, does the inner simply pull off from the mounts (or is a tool required) AND will it simply push back on?
    3) I am aware that there is a code letter for each year of manufacture of an inner AND I have a list from 1970 - 1990 BUT can anyone provide the letter codes From 1969 Backwards?

    Many Thanks!
  2. Cold-War-Charlie

    Cold-War-Charlie Von Trabi Forum Donor

    There are a couple of different liners and the later type just pops off some rivets. You will see the helmet size and date on the rim. The helmets come in 3 sizes with size 1 being small to 3 which is large (size 3 is hard to get)
  3. Thinsid

    Thinsid Loyal Comrade

    Thank you for your response.
    I am aware of the Helmet id on its rim, my question applies specifically to the liner which is a separate item and has its own ID code. Please refer to the 2nd part of point 1) & point 3)
  4. Cold-War-Charlie

    Cold-War-Charlie Von Trabi Forum Donor

    I always thought the liner size relates to the helmet size otherwise it won't fit. (The liner is also adjustable) The only exception is the parade helmets. I will check mine tomorrow as I have all the different models of M56 (apart from the B2)
  5. Cold-War-Charlie

    Cold-War-Charlie Von Trabi Forum Donor

    All East German Uniform/helmets were letter coded to indicate the year of manufacture from 1968 onward. Prior to this the actual year and possible also the quarter was usually stamped into the item.

    K=1968, Z=1969, M=1970, X=1971, B=1972 ,L=1973, O=1974, S=1975, R=1976, A=1977, U=1978, F=1979, E=1980, G=1981, I=1982, C=1983, H=1984, T=1985, P=1986, L =1987, Y=1988, N=1989, D=1990


    Examples:

    1966-dated Hat

    1856 = Inventory/Stock #
    1966 = Year of Manufacture
    NVA = Armed Forces
    52 = Size

    1972-dated Tunic

    1862 = Inventory/Stock #
    K52 = Size
    IV/B = 4th Quarter, 1972
    ("B" = 1972)

    1984-dated Overcoat

    NVA = Armed Forces
    H/1 = 1st Quarter, 1984
    ("H" =1984)
    SG52 = Size
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
    Justin likes this.
  6. Cold-War-Charlie

    Cold-War-Charlie Von Trabi Forum Donor

    Meant to add the year code L was used twice
  7. Thinsid

    Thinsid Loyal Comrade

    I wasn't aware that the letter codes only go back as far as 1968. As You have provided the letters for '68 And '69 I now have a complete list! Thank You for that.
    Having had another look at the helmet it appears that the liner DOES have to be removed to find any code, since I am no expert I shall leave it alone. Helmet dated 1962, suspect liner is younger. At least I now know what to look for if/when the liner comes out.

    Also, do you know wether it IS True that the NVA officially supplied Plastic M56's for ceremonial duties? I had heard that Musicians got them!
    Thanks again.
  8. Cold-War-Charlie

    Cold-War-Charlie Von Trabi Forum Donor

    It sounds like your helmet is the first type with the early (ww2 type) liner. You are correct when you say there are plastic helmets they were used by the Guards regiments. If you look at my other thread on here you will see one of the plastic ones I own.
  9. Thinsid

    Thinsid Loyal Comrade

    Sorry to be a pain, What does the early (WW2 type) liner look like? Have you got a picture?
    I found your picture of the 2 M56's (labelled "later type") and assume that the liners in those are of the same period as the helmet. This is identical to the liner in mine so it appears I was right that it is a replacement.

    What would be the value of a 1962 M56 with later liner, and East German camo net (Not attached!) of unkown date?

    Many Thanks.
    Justin likes this.
  10. trabant601

    trabant601 Loyal Comrade

    This is all very interesting. One or both of you may be able to help me with a DDR uniform I have assembled for historical purposes.
  11. Cold-War-Charlie

    Cold-War-Charlie Von Trabi Forum Donor

    I will take some pics of the early and late type for you. Trabant601 I am more than happy to help
  12. trabant601

    trabant601 Loyal Comrade

    thanks, more on this on Laterday.
  13. Cold-War-Charlie

    Cold-War-Charlie Von Trabi Forum Donor

    Here is a picture of the liners of the two types of plastic parade helmets I have.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here is a pic of the two types of liner for the M56

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Note that the early type of helmet has the 3 rivet heads on the outside to support the liner as per the wartime helmets. This is what collectors look for.


    P.s the wallpaper is in my sons room lol
  14. Cold-War-Charlie

    Cold-War-Charlie Von Trabi Forum Donor

    Here is the liner of the second type removed. You can see how adjustable it is and it clips onto the inside of the later helmet.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  15. Cold-War-Charlie

    Cold-War-Charlie Von Trabi Forum Donor

    I meant to add the early helmet I have is dated 1957 and is a size 2. It's one of the first made.

    Also just to clarify that there were four types of M56 Helmet.

    The M56 (B/11) which was designed in WW2 and Known as the M56 I with WW2 German M44 liner (rare as hens teeth and copied).

    The M56 which has the 3 rivets and the WW2 type liner. (pictured above)

    The M56/66 which is the same as the above with the three rivets (which were redundant) but with the later type liner (retained by six internal fixing points).

    The M56/76 which as the rivet less shell and later type liner
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
  16. Cold-War-Charlie

    Cold-War-Charlie Von Trabi Forum Donor

    This is the History of the M56

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    East German NVA Stahlhelm: Historical development.

    The East German Military Helmet has origins that can be traced all the way back to 1939, and to the Wehrmacht invasion of Poland. The Iron and Steel Specialty Division of the Third Reich Research Council undertook a study at that time, of the ballistic characteristics inherent to various military helmets of armies of several different countries. The Reich Institute For Defense Technology was tasked with this study, and two Professors, Dr. FRY and Dr. HAENSEL were instrumental in securing examples of different helmets from different countries for the test. These helmets, along with the Wehrmacht’s own M35 Stahlhelm, were tested with small arms ammunition fired from a multitude of angles and distances, for research purposes relevant penetration characteristics. The British “Tommy” helmet fared the worst. However, the Wehrmacht’s own M35 also was found to have serious shortcomings. Finding none of the helmets in current use by the different armies of the world to be satisfactory, the Reich Institute undertook steps to design an all together new helmet with the ballistic characteristics sought after. Several prototype helmets for testing were produced by the Voelkingen Stahlwerke. Upon completion of the tests in 1942, the results were provided to the Army Weapons Office. Despite objections by Hitler, this office, under the auspices of a memoranda generated by the Army Medical Inspectorate, went ahead and authorized production of a new pattern combat helmet. The passing of the memorandum was due in part to increasing pressure on the Army Weapons Office to find a solution to the ever increasing number of serious head wounds received by wearers of the M35 and the M42; and to encompass design changes that would address the increasingly scarce supply of necessary materials and labor required for production of the current M35/42 helmet. The M35/42 models were both very expensive to produce, and labor intensive. Subsequently, a total of four prototypes were designed, which were designated A, B, BII, and C. The latter 3 represented major departures from the M35/42 design. After preliminary testing, models B and BII were approved for further testing. Orders were then placed with the Eisen und Huettenwerke for production of no less than 50 examples of each type. They were referred to as the Thale/Harz helmets after their designers. The Helmets were then sent to the Doeblitz Infantry School outside of Berlin, where they were then put through rigorous “Hands-on” testing in a true field environment with Infantry Units at the school. The helmets subsequently proved to be of sound design for wear and use, and were far superior in ballistics to any helmet then made. It was only then that Hitler was approached with the final results of the research program that had gone on for several years without his knowledge. Both helmet designs, B and BII were presented to him in the autumn of 1944 for his approval of one or the other. The new helmet was to be designated the M45. Remarkably, Hitler took no action against anyone for the tests that had gone on behind his back. He did however reject both helmets, doing so on the principal that the current M35/42 in his eyes, best exemplified the German Soldier. His decision was based entirely on his own perception of how countries with whom the Wehrmacht was at war, viewed the German Soldier in Uniform. He felt the M35/42 best exemplified that look. Not surprisingly, memoirs recorded in diaries of some Soviet soldiers suggest the new helmets given to the Infantry School on the outskirts of Berlin for testing, received their baptism of fire when Soviet Forces first entered the Berlin Capital in the Spring of 1945. Reportedly, Russian Troops encountered two Infantry Companies from the Doeblitz Infantry School. The Dresden Museum has in its NVA Display, an example of a model BII Stahlhelm, believed to be a survivor of the last ditch effort by the Wehrmacht against the Russians, as they unsuccessfully strove to fend off the invaders as they entered Berlin.

    After the division of the two German states, and the designation of East Germany as a separate country in 1949, a seemingly new type helmet already had appeared, which was worn in limited numbers by the Barracks Police, or KVP. It actually was based upon the model A Stahlhelm and therefore resembled the M35/42. It, together with the Khaki type uniform then worn by the KVP, proved to be problematic with the East German Populace, who found it too closely resembled the uniform of the hated Soviet Military. Consequently in 1956, with the transformation of the KVP into the new National Volkes Army (NVA), the newly established NVA Rear-Services Administration and Office of Technology was ordered to develop a new helmet deemed suitable for an East German “Socialist” Armed Forces. It could not have physical characteristics associated with either the Wehrmacht M35/42 or the Russian helmet. Consequently the Model A helmet then being worn by the KVP was rejected. Yet the helmet still needed to project the “National” character of East Germany. It suddenly dawned on all, that the helmet in question had already been designed, and tested. And, the factory for producing the helmet already existed, with all the necessary tools and die. It just so happened that the Head Engineer appointed to and tasked with the development of the new NVA helmet was Erich KIESEN. Ironically, he had been affiliated with Eisen und Huettenwerke, which had produced the model B and BII helmets formerly approved by the Wehrmacht Army Weapons Office, but rejected by Hitler. Hitler’s rejection now proved paramount and profound, because it paved the way for acceptance of that helmet without connotations of it being associated with the “Fascist” Wehrmacht Army. Better yet, no monies were necessary for research, design and/or testing. The helmet had already been designed, researched and tested thoroughly, and had passed with flying colors on all accounts. Even better was the fact that Engineer KIESEN was the holder of former patents for an improved helmet liner with a new “Y” type chin-strap and ventilation bushings meant for the M35/42, but never implemented. With modifications, the Model B and BII could be quickly fitted with that liner. But most prophetic of all, was the good fortune that the factory in question was completely intact and located on East German soil. The BII subsequently was selected for production over the model B. So it was that in Jan 1956, production of the model BII was resumed. The new helmet was introduced to the East German Public via photographs published that February in a magazine for the German Youth, or FDJ. The new helmet was officially introduced at the introduction ceremony of the NVA on May 1st, in Berlin. It was painted in a “Stone Grey” matte and bore a Tri-color Shield on one side in Black, Red and Gold.

    Eventually, the helmet under the direction of Gen. Willi Stoph, went through more rigorous testing, resulting in superficial design modifications over the passing years - the removal of the “Rivets” being one of the later design modification improvements. In principal however, the helmet was found to be superior to anything then being fielded by any army anywhere. Not until the advent of the Kevlar Helmet by the U.S. Military, did a helmet surpass the ballistic qualities endowed to the NVA Stahlhelm, officially designated the M-1956. In 1957 the helmet entered production in earnest in three sizes (60m, 64m and 68m). By September of that same year, 50,000 helmets had been produced and issued to NVA Troops. By years end, all NVA Troops had the helmet. The entire process – development to production and issue, was accomplished in a single year. Also in 1957, the first “Resin” or plastic NVA helmets were produced for issue to and wear by special elite or honor guard troops.

    It should be noted that the first production helmets had a liner similar to the M-42, but were configured with a double “Y” chin-strap. Consequently, any NVA Stahlhelm found to be configured with an M-42 type liner and the single type adjustable chinstrap, could very well be an example of a model B or BII produced during the era of the Wehrmacht. The “Rivets” of course should be found to be positioned lower on the helmet than on subsequent 1956 production models.


    In 1956 development of this helmet was deemed necessary due to experience with the model 1935 and 1942 german helmet. Many head wounds were experienced by wearers of the earlier designs.
    The design team led by Erich Kiesen started with the last developmental versions of the Nazi German steel helmet and steeply sloped the form to increase the glancing effect of the helmet.
    The final design was tested using :
    Direct shots from TT33 pistols at 10 to 25 meters.
    MPi PPSch 41 at 25 to 100 meters.
    Sharpshooter Rifle D from 300 to 600 meters.
    SMG fire from 600 meters.
    Also from the effects of:
    Hand Grenades from 10 meters.
    82mm Grenade Launcher from 10 meters.
    76mm Cannon from 20 meters.
    122mm Howitzer from 25 meters.
    Taken into account were also the weares comfort and utility.
    Wind and Rain were also not to diminish perception of sound.
    The users eyes were to be shaded from the sun.
    It was to be comfortable whether the user is Standing, Lying, rolling, running, or getting up.
    Also the suspension was not to cause any pressure pain. A well known phenomenon of even todays helmets.
    The VOLPO helmet is perhaps the most scientifically developed Alloy helmet of the 20th century."
    Justin, Keri and trabant601 like this.
  17. trabant601

    trabant601 Loyal Comrade

    OMG. I knew it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for that Patent Sheet. Outstanding, please add 1000 likes for that. Wow.
    Justin likes this.
  18. trabant601

    trabant601 Loyal Comrade

    Did you go to the Patent Archives in any city to get that?? I had a little job with a company (I can't tell you the name) that sent me to search patents in Munich, Berlin, and in the company archives of Mannesmann in Düsseldorf. In Berlin, someone, perhaps the USSR authorities when they borrowed (I mean searched), or at the orders of the commission administering Berlin, crossed out all of the swastikas. If your Patentschrift was from Berlin, the Hakenkreuz would have been blacked out, as if by censors. Thanks for the flashback.
  19. Thinsid

    Thinsid Loyal Comrade

    Regarding the WW2 type liner SEE Above! The picture Directly Above appears to show a later type liner with the plastic piece. I beleive the WW2 type is the Lower Liner in the picture you posted at 12:14 yesterday (Your Time!) The one with the 4 metal square loops on the strap & NO Plastic.
    Please Confirm - Thanks.

    Also, regarding your Parade Helmets: -
    1) Is the red foam genuine and if so was that for parade use only? The other one has what I would call a regular liner.
    2) Were these marked with the same size/date codes as the steel versions?
  20. Cold-War-Charlie

    Cold-War-Charlie Von Trabi Forum Donor

    This is the WW2 type liner

    [​IMG]

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