M34/18 prototype helmet (2024)


Well-known member
  • Oct 24, 2022
  • #1

A period photo popped up showing this rare helmet. I call it the M34/18. When the modern mobile 'lighting war' was being planned, it seems a new helmet was needed to fit this mobility. I believe this to be a prototype, a cut-down M18 design, albeit retaining the large ventilation lugs and the raised rim of the M18, bridging the gap between the M18 and the M35. (T81 steel stamp) The last photo is of an M16 for comparison. Both shells 66cm metric size. Partial restoration.


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"Ach du lieber!"
  • Oct 24, 2022
  • #2

Doesn’t show the necessary high edge wear…. Fake


Well-known member
  • Oct 28, 2022
  • #3

I have seen these both with and without the large M16 style ventilation lugs, and with several factory stamps; T81 and ET66 R. I think these were produced and rejected in 1934. The army uniforms without breast eagles would indicate early TR period.

The single R marking has been seen on different helmet models from the 1934 period:

- early M34 civic helmets single R mark, in addition to other letters
- commercially produced transitional helmets ET66 R + lion mark.
- early ET M35s with single R mark with no lot#, believed to be the actual prototype M35 helmets.



Senior Member
  • Oct 30, 2022
  • #4

Great period shot! M34/18 prototype helmet (11)
Photos showing experimental helmets do not grow on trees!
Are there any details on the photo to date it more accurately?

My photo showing the Vulkanfiber helmets is dated autumn 1932. It likely shows soldiers from 12th (machine gun) company of IR9. A unit that participated in the very first trials.


Well-known member
  • Oct 31, 2022
  • #5

I found the M34/18 photo on facebook. No additional details.

Very nice photo of the M33 (as detailed in 'German Helmets 1933-1945' by T.V. Goodapple pp 10-11. Page 51 shows and example that had the Reichswehr shield removed and replaced with DD Heer decals. That example has a civic style leather liner. RE: the vulcanfiber, it appears as if the Reichswehr was toying with the idea of a smaller helmet but were not ready to invest in steel prototypes. They may have been produced in non-ballistic vulcanfiber with the understanding that they would be relegated to parade or civic duties after testing was complete. The below example appears to have been reconditioned. (from warrelics.eu forum)


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Well-known member
  • Dec 24, 2022
  • #6

Happy Holidays All !

Stahlhelm progression (L-R)

M16 (M17/M18) 1916-1918
Commercially produced transitional helmets (not shown - same design as M18) to 1934 ET66 R.
M33 Vulcan fiber prototype - 1933
M34/18 steel prototype ET66 R - 1934 estimated date.
1934 prototype unknown (M34/35) ET66 R (precursor to M35 - estimated date - 1934. Differs from standard ET M35)
M35 prototype ET64 R (1934 estimated date. Identical to standard ET M35 - 1935-1940)
M40 - 1940-1942
M42 decaled - 1942-1943
M42 non-decaled - 1943-1945
M45 ventless M42 - 1945 estimated
B/II prototype - 1944 (intended to replace M42)


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Joseph Burke

Senior Member
  • Dec 26, 2022
  • #7

Ah, the ventless M42 in that lineup. Here's the one I have. Trust me when I say tell it's been called a fake more than once and that prototype M44 liner and related fasteners have revealed more than one self-proclaimed expert as anything but. As for the external wire, who's to say. That wire, wartime or not, wasn't the reason I acquired the helmet.

M34/18 prototype helmet (29)

M42 hkp 64 Ventless

Explore this photo album by Joseph Burke 1 on Flickr!

M34/18 prototype helmet (30)www.flickr.com

Last edited:


Well-known member
  • Dec 27, 2022
  • #8

Joe, thanks for posting that great looking M45-B (ventless with M44 liner). I find the study of late war German helmets quite interesting as it gives us glipses into how helmet factories were struggling to produce helmets in late 44-45. The M44 liner with the 3 spring V-clips had made an appearance (also seen on the B/II prototype) was easier and cheaper to produce and would have eventually superseded the M31 liner had the war lasted. Your example matches those that I have in regard to the low-grade leather, rope-style liner string, size stamp font, and corrosion of steel parts (also steel liner brads- zinc coating had apparently been dispensed with).


Well-known member
  • Dec 27, 2022
  • #9

Some more photos of that unusual prototype helmet, we'll call it the M34/35 (restored). The R mark is consistent with that found on some commercially produced transitional helmets, some M34 square dip civic helmets dated to 1934, the M34/18 steel prototype above, and the M35 DD Heer prototype (Thale/ET production).


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