the Helmet Chinstrap
reenactors have chosen to refinish their own
stahlhelms to restore them to actual wartime
appearance. To help in this effort, below is an
article on the proper way of attaching the German
helmet chinstrap. It is a minor detail, but
remember it is the little details that count.
WW2 German helmet had a two-piece chinstrap
made of leather. One side was most
commonly dyed black with the opposite side
left natural. Wartime straps had a
signal-pronged buckle made of either
aluminum for earlier production or steel of
later productions. The buckle was
attached to the shorter of the two straps by
two rows of stitching. The longer
strap had 13 holes running towards the
pointed end. Both long and short
straps were attached to the "D"
-rings of the helmet liner by use of metal
studs. The studs were passed through
two pear-shaped buttonholes that were cut
into the leather ends.
wear the chinstrap was first dictated on 14 November
1934 as part of Army Directive 122 describing the
Model 31 helmet liner. According to a later
order (HV 35, No. 691, with description in HV 36, No.
112) which was dated November 22, 1935, the shorter
buckle strap was to be attached to the left side of
the helmet for those who are right-handed. If
the soldier was left handed, then the buckle strap
would be affixed to the right side of the helmet.
Examples of this can be seen below:
As you may
have guessed the reason for this placement of the
buckle was based on how the Landser fired his rifle.
This was done to avoid having the buckle and the long
strap-end from getting in the way of the soldier
working the bolt of his rifle. When one is
working the bolt of the k98, the hand of the soldier
comes very close to the chinstrap. Thus, the
placement of the buckle and strap end is opposite that
of the shoulder you would fire your rifle on.
- Uniforms & Traditions of the
German Army Vol. 3 by J.R. Angolia & A.
- Wehrmacht Combat Helmets
1933-45 by Brian C. Bell
- Der Meldeweg Nr.3, Nov.-