Combat models and makers

Contents of this page

  • The different German combat helmet models explained in detail
  • Factories and shell markings
  • Inspection stamps

I. Models M16 and M18

These 2 models were produced during World War 1. After World War 1 the Reichswehr continued using them and when Hitler came to power in 1933 these helmets saw continued use up till 1945.

I show 4 models here , the basic M16 and M18 and one Austrian made variant of the German M16 and one M18 earcut specially made for cavalry units.

Click on the photos to enlarge.

II. Models 35 , 40 and 42

There are only three models of Third Reich era produced combat helmets. Collectors have named them M35 , M40 and M42. It is easy to spot the difference between them.

The M35 vent hole is a separate produced piece and was pressed into the hot shell. Note the sharp features when compared to the pressed vent holes. The M40/M42 vent hole was made by punching a hole through the hot shell.

While the difference between the M35 shell and the M40 shell is just the vent hole , the difference between an M35 / M40 and an M42 is more visual. To shorten production time the rim or edge was not folded anymore creating an outward flare.

III. Factory stamps

5 Factories produced in German combat helmets during World War II and each helmet has its factory  marking stamped in the shell.

The Maker stamp together with the helmet size stamp are found on the wearers left side or for a mid to late war helmet the maker and size stamp are found above the lot number on the back.

Following helmet sizes were produced with the most common size of the day being size 62 and 64. Size 70 and 72 helmets are very rare.

  • 60 with 52 or 53 liner band
  • 62 with 54 or 55 liner band
  • 64 with 56 or 57 liner band
  • 66 with 58 or 59 liner band
  • 68 with 60 or 61 liner band
  • 70 with 62 or 63 liner band
  • 72 with 64 or 64 liner band

Eisenhüttenwerk Thale / Harz

  • M35 : E.T. or ET
  • M40 : ET
  • M42 : ET and from 1943 : CKL/ckl (stamped in the back)

F.W. Quist / Esslingen

Quist marked all of its shells with Q.

M40 stamps were moved to the back around 1943.

Quist only started producing M42’s very late in the war , by estimation in late 1944. Those M42’s all bear the Q stamp in the back above the lot number.


Sächsische emailler und stanzwerke A.G. / Lauter

  • M35 : SE
  • M40 : SE and HKP
  • M42 : hkp (found both rear stamped and side stamped)

Vereinigte Deutsche nickelwerke / Schwerte

  • M35 : N.S. and NS
  • M40 : NS
  • M42 : NS (found both side stamped and rear stamped)

Emaillerwerke A.G. / Fulda

  • M35 : E.F. and EF
  • M40 : EF
  • M42 : EF (Found both rear and side marked)

Mystery maker qvl/qvL

  • Always rear stamped and found on M42 helmets without a decal.
  • Production is estimated to have took place between 1944 – 1945
  • The visual resemblance with ckl/CKL helmets from Thale is great , also the font of the maker stamp and lot number is identical so this could possibly a continuation of the CKL production line. Addendum a QVL helmet was found with a Thale (ET/CKL) dome stamp , this confirms that QVL helmets are late war ET/CKL factory helmets. 

IV Inspection stamps or dome stamps

It is unclear if all helmets received such an inspection stamp but is present in many but not always very visible.

The early dome stamps have a year in them and you find them only in M35 helmets. The inspection stamps differ between the factories.

The early stamp refer to the factory by a Roman numeral and the dome stamps without a year have the city of manufacture in them.

A 1938 Inspection stamp in an EF M35
An inspection stamp in an NS M40 helmet , notice the reference to Schwerte where this helmet was made.
An inspection stamp in an M42 CKL helmet
An inspection stamp in an ET M42 helmet , you can see the reference to the Thale plant in the bottom line.

Photos courtesy of George Petersen

Inspection stamp in a QVL helmet confirming the origins of this mystery maker as the Thale (ET/ckl) factory
The lot number of the QVL with the Thale dome stamp