Nazi helmets

Even the Nazi desert camouflage looks familiarAre you thinking that you’ve seen this helmet before? You’ve seen it on Nazis, you’ve seen it on Darth Vader. Space Balls’ Lord Dark Helmet was nothing but Rick Moranis in an oversized Nazi helmet.

In WWII the German helmet became the ubiquitous black hat. It was also regarded as perhaps the best designed military helmet. Maybe there’s a correlation to Hitler’s Volkswagen. The VW design was so utilitarian its lines are seen today in countless cars. The Nazi helmet may be said to have been similarly evolved, but no one has dared duplicate it because of its visual stigma. I guess until now.
Our modern Kevlar helmet follows the same lines as the German M35. While the armies of other nations have emulated the original GI or Soviet models, the US adopted a new helmet with the side skirt and squared top of the prototypical Nazi headgear. I’d like to postulate that this design was not chosen for the intimidating deaths-head symbolism. The Nazi/US helmet offers superior protection at the expense of a soldier’s peripheral view. I think this is purposeful.

Nazi paratroopers and elite shock troops wore a more practical helmet, a decidedly ordinary straight bowl. Their helmet resembles what today’s motorcyclists refer to as a shorty, which offers the minimal protection acceptable by state motorcycle helmet laws. Riders prefer shorties because they can see more.

The majority of military helmets appear to offer the more egalitarian view of the field. It’s hard to picture Yanks getting a lay of the land, excercising their American ingenuity, and maintaining their bearing in anything more encumbering.

The infamous German helmet kept their infantrymen’s eyes forward, unquestioning, in the direction they were ordered.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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1 Response to Nazi helmets

  1. It’s also an Occupation helmet.

    The Romans had a similar design, because they spent so little of their time in actual field battles and the vast majority of their time amongst the subject populations.

    It works wonders for urban crowd control, because somebody can’t come up behind you in the crowd and put his fist right between the first and second vertebrae and thus kill you with one punch.

    You notice though, both the Roman Empire and The Nazi Empire fell largely because they couldn’t occupy very well.

    And nobody else can, either.

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