Soviet SSh-40

General Information: The SSh-40[1] was the most widely used helmet in the history of the Red Army and was the basic helmet of the Soviet soldier in the Second World War. The SSh-40 was an improvement over the previous model, the SSh-39. Externally the helmets are nearly identical, but the SSh-40 had a liner system that could accommodate the use of regulation winter headgear under the helmet. This addressed a significant deficiency of the previous model which could not easily be used together with a cap or other head covering. The main external difference between the SSh-39 and SSh-40 is that the former has three rivets for securing the liner, while the latter has six rivets located lower down for attaching the improved liner. The SSh-40 liner was made of three pads constructed from leatherette or oil cloth type material. The two-part web chinstrap with slider buckle attachment was the same as that used on the SSh-39. The helmets have lot numbers stamped into the metal at the back interior rim section. In the same area there were black ink stamps that indicate the factory where the helmet was produced, the size (1-3), and the year of manufacture.

Following a test period that started at the end of 1940, mass production of the SSh-40 started in mid-1941 at two factories: the Lysva metallurgical factory and the Red October metallurgical factory in Stalingrad. The Red October factory produced 2,673,400 SSh-40 helmets before production ceased due to the German army advance on Stalingrad. By war’s end the Lysva factory had produced more than 10,000,000 SSh-40 helmets. The SSh-40 remained in service for decades after WWII.[2]

Displayed Example: I bought this helmet from a person who advertised on a prominent collector website. It is in typical field-used condition. The date is a little hard to decipher, but it may be 1945. The size stamp is not legible, but it seems to be a large.

Collector Notes: The SSh-40 was produced after the Second World War. Sometimes unscrupulous sellers will try to fob off less valuable post-WWII SSh-40s as war-time pieces. Examine the year stamp for signs of doctoring. The Czech Vz.53, which are nearly identical to the SSh-39 externally are often mistaken for Soviet WWII helmets or falsely identified as such. These helmets had rough lives and many remained in service for years after the war. For these reasons they tend to be in fair condition. Of course, this appeals to some collectors because it shows that the thing has a certain history.


[1] SSh is an acronym for “stalnoy shlem” which means “steel helmet” in Russian. In collector nomenclature it is equivalent to “model.” The helmet is also referred to as the “Model 1940” or “M40.”

[2] Karabanov. 2016.

Published by maplecreekmilitaria

I am a collector of military headgear from 1915-1945

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