10 Days ago the most insulting and useless publication ever made was released. Peter Nash’s German combat helmets. The book was universally rejected on all collector communities where dedicated helmet collectors roam.
It’s not difficult to understand why the book was dismissed , apart from the many high amount of fake helmets (paint , decals and horrible liners) the author also attacks many well established facts about German WW2 helmets in order to support his collection of fakes.
I will explain here what any collector that wants to get into German helmet collecting can take as fact.
THE DECAL VS SHELL CORRELATION
What is it ? To put it short. We found out which decal types were applied to which helmet makers. Hold on while it may look simple it really isn’t. Some companies used several decals , some just on M35’s etc… All decals have been mapped now and it helped collectors worldwide a great deal.
Anyone who has not read the books released in the last 15 years about German helmets has missed a great deal. On top of that a lot of that knowledge comes from collectors that interacted via forums. People like Nash tend to be dismissive about what they call internet collectors. You can be conservative and anti internet but that doesn’t mean the world stops turning. There are just as many generations of collectors interacting via the internet than there are off line collectors. It’s not just the new kids on the block. Online you can find Ron R’s fabulous collection of over a 1000 helmets. That one collection in itself blows all false intent of Nash’s book right out of the water. Pick up 5 , 10 or 20 ET/ckl factory ET helmets from Ron and they will all have the what we call ET-style decal. Ron’s collection all by itself makes the decal vs shell correlation fact. But we didn’t stop there. People that have a passion for research know that before theories become fact that they have to be tested repeatedly and helmet after helmet it all fell into place. This has never been a one man’s project but a group effort by passionate collectors.
Jan Meland is a very well known Norwegian collector who build his collection almost purely by sourcing helmets via ads out of the Norwegian woodwork. His book German combat helmets a Norwegian collection showcases his finds with super high definition photos. Just scroll through that book and look at the factory helmets. You will see time and time again the decals we mapped out on the shells they should be on.
Already in 2003 Tom Kibler mentioned the relation between decals and helmet makers in his book German combat helmets of the Third Reich – a study in photographs.
Kelly Hicks’s SS steel did the same in 2005 but specifically on SS decals.
In 2006 collectors of the German Helmet Walhalla forum started reference sections where decals posted on the forum were grouped by decal style for making the mapping easy and accurate.
In 2009 Ken Niewiarowicz’s study Germany’s combat helmets appeared with again confirming the finds within the community. This book was followed up in 2016 with a study purely on decals. The helmet decals of the Third Reich. (made with help from Anders Lehrman).
And in 2015 another great work from a passionate collector was released , Frederik Suppo’s Le casque Allemand. tome 1.
That’s 15 years of knowledge right there which covers data from many thousands of helmets , probably far over 5000 helmets (not 300 as Peter Nash falsely claims in his book). Helmets found today in veteran’s footlockers , attics or basements all fall into the same patterns.
Below M35 helmet was recently found in an attic in Holland , the ET style decal while a most common decal is not even featured in Peter Nash’s decals gallery. Photos courtesy of https://www.ww2-militaria.nl/
CKL is ET and HKP is SE
For some strange reason Peter Nash does not believe the ET factory changed over to CKL/ckl mid war and he does not believe SE became HKP/hkp.
So did the Thale plant stop producing mid war ? Of course not ! It changed to CKL/ckl.
There are so many indicators that confirm the change over : CKL/ckl continues to have Thale dome stamps , they still used the same decals already mapped out which are the ET style Heer decal , the unbordered Polizei eagle (unique to that factory I might add) , the very well known ET style SS decal , the same Luftwaffe adler and so on.
ET is also the only company that made Fallschirmjäger helmets which also changed to the CKL stamp mid war.
On top of that the font of the stamps is identical. Recently even a QVL helmet was discovered with a crystal clear Thale dome stamp.
For SE we can make the exact same case , SE started later with the M42 so they started marking their M40’s mid war with HKP/hkp.
Also SE did not stop making helmets mid war. They continued as HKP/hkp.
Same decals , same font used in their markings and same typical bulgy vents are found SE and HKP/hkp shells.
It does not take a rocket scientist to add this all up.
HELMET LOT NUMBERS
If your read Peter Nash’s ramblings about lot numbers you would think it’s some kind of Voodoo pseudo science. The problem is that he doesn’t understand what it is about. Like with everything he is afraid of what people in the enlightened 21st century have learned.
Simply put a lot number database is a list of helmets.
Data we collect in such a database is :
- Lot number
- Helmet model
- Branch/decal type
- Liner type
- Liner date
When enough data is gathered one can derive conclusions from it. The list does not authenticate other helmets with similar lot numbers as that would be silly , it exists to get a bigger view on decal applications , how long liners were used , basically to see patterns emerging from it (or not). And we do see patterns.
Certain decals correspond to certain makers , you see also the lot number list seals the discussion on that matter.
We can see decal drops in the database (late 1943) corresponding to lot numbers
We can even see which makers produced KM helmets and which did not. Which produced SS helmets and which did not.
It’s a fantastic tool that has helped further the hobby in conjunction with many other projects started by passionate collectors. Like there are collectors that have taken it upon themselves to study liners and liner stampings , dome stamps and using the USB microscope to get 200x zoom signature close-ups.
THE HELMETS IN PETER NASH’S BOOK
The book is a gallery of Big foot fakes. A decal that’s known to have been reproduced since the eighties in various forms. While Peter Nash himself talks about variations he shows in fact the same fake decal over and over again.
Nowhere does the book have any connections with reality , it is completely disconnected from all previous book releases which have great support from the collecting community.
An original Big foot decal is only found on Quist shells.
This one is from the book page 166 , on an ET shell.
We know thanks to the lot numbers list that tricolors were not added by the factories on M40’s anymore. Only a handful of M40 helmets with tricolors are known to exist. The idea being that these must have been added for reasons unknown after the helmet left the factory.
In Peter’s book are 3 ET M40 DD Kriegsmarine helmets again all with a Big foot fake decal and fake tricolors.
ET only used the ET style Kriegsmarine decal and on M40’s never with a tricolor.
For comparison a real ET Kriegsmarine decal with ridge as universally accepted by collectors worldwide.
Some USB close-ups. All authentic decals have the same look under high magnification. Polizei eagles , Heer , SS , etc…
FAKES under high magnification. Flat , lacking depth and the metallic content looks like cheap plastic which they often are.
If you think filling a book with a sub standard fake Heer eagle is a feat than the low quality fake Luftwaffe decals in the book will blow you away.
I actually got HQ photos of a helmet that’s been used in the book because it was already discussed in a topic on German Helmet Walhalla in 2017. Click here for the topic.
The second type eagles fakes on the helmets in the book are even more disturbing.
CONCLUSION : FAKE NEWS
While I could further break down the SS decals and the reproduction liners , I have I think with this article covered the many aspects of what is wrong with Peter Nash’s book. Why this book was released with its many errors and attacks on known facts we might never know but I am sure time will tell.
In any case it put our noses on the fact that anyone these days can write a book , the days are long gone when the collector only had a book to guide him and was at the mercy of information he did not have control of. Today the German helmet collector is probably the best informed collector of Third Reich militaria. Forums have inspired collectors to study for themselves and share knowledge and information. Now we can say without a doubt , writer your book is full of mistakes.
Enjoy your Sunday.