A Pictorial Comparison of Austrian Helmets.

tony v

Well-known member

I thought I would do a show and tell of Austrian Stahlhelm to try and demonstrate the different styles, types, chinstraps, liners and paint.

At first glance they do look basically the same as the German one, and with a cursory inspection it could be argued that they are remarkably similar but as with all collecting, the devil is in the detail.

With the introduction of the Stahlhelm in 1916, the Austrian Army immediately thought they might be onto something. Research had been underway for a while and several test examples had been submitted by Austrian manufacturers but nothing agreed.

They initially relied on the limited German stocks that were made available to them and their lack of any appropriate steel pressing facilities meant they remained reliant on German deliveries.

In order to speed up the numbers available the Austrian's put in an order for just the helmet shells from several different German companies which they then fitted with their own liners and chinstraps upon delivery.

Once plant equipment arrived and they started pressing their own helmets they began to be more self sufficient.

Any questions please shout but the pictures hopefully will help demonstrate the variants.




The six examples here are, two imported German shells fitted with Austrian liners, a Berndorf made helmet, a "German Model" made Austrian helmet and two "Hungarian Model" made Berndorf helmets, late war.
First example shows how the Austrian,s used a steel band to attach the liner to the shell and a canvas strap rather than a leather one. The pads are the same except they had metal grommits at the end of the tongue to stop the leather ripping. In order to accommodate the m91 lug they made their own rather clever fitting. This example has the acceptance stamp from the factory quality control.al2.2.jpgal2.3.jpgal2.4.jpgal2.jpgal2.1.jpg
Second example is another German shell but this one had had the m91 fitting removed and replaced with a bale for the strap to go through. Again the Austrian liner and acceptance marks from the factory inspector. This system of fitting the chin strap made it much more secure.

Third example a pure home made helmet based on the GERMAN style.

A different take on attaching the chin strap to the bales.

These two are the Berndorf made helmet in the Hungarian model style but with the later liner where the chinstrap bales fit directly onto the steel band.

For comparison here is the Berndorf system first introduced in their initial offering of 140,000 helmets. This one is a "parts" helmet, all original bits but just not to this helmet.

The paint colour differences I will address later...

Now paint is often described as earth brown when compared with field grey for the Germans and this is not a bad rule of thumb. You will see from these shots that the colour varies and some are greener than others,

The interesting point is that on Berndorf allows us to see how the paint has changed tone over the years with the original colour showing under the chinstrap......

Thanks for looking..

Learned something new today! didn't realize just how many variations there were, and to think that some may have been lost to time that we will never know about.
Tony- this is great information on Austrian helmets where there is not a lot known or written about.

I appreciate the hard work and detail on this, I learned a lot.