Chinese M35

Battle for Shanghai 1937*

General Information: Why is a Nazi helmet in the World War Two Allied Powers section? It is one of the ironies of the Second World War that the Republic of China was supported by both the Germans and the Allies, although German support wound down after the Second Sino Japanese War in 1937 and ended conclusively in 1941 when China formally joined the Allies. One of the features of the Sino-German cooperation was the shipment of military materiel, including German produced Model 1935 helmets, to China for use by General Chiang Kai-Shek’s The Kuomintang (KMT) army. It is worth noting that the Germans supplied these early-production Model 1935 helmets to the Chinese and the Spanish Nationalists before their own armed forces were fully equipped with the new type.

The Chinese contract helmets were made by the Eisenhuttenwerke firm and the Sachsische Emailler und Stanzwerke A.G. firm and are stamped with manufacturer codes “ET” and “SE” respectively. The ET helmet lot numbers range from 2790 to 3022. The SE ones run from 2072 to 3120.  According to one reference, the Republic of China purchased 220,000 of these helmets.[1] The Germans also exported Model 1935 helmets to Spain. The Spanish export helmets seem to be all ET manufactured and the lot numbers range from 2854 to 3238, which overlap with the helmets destined for China, but which start and end a bit later. Actual lot ranges for the export helmets were certainly broader, but this is the known range at the moment.[2] The paint color on the known specimens is always green parade finish for the ones exported to China. The Spanish export helmets are mostly green as well, but some were painted blue. (See also “Spanish Export M35”)

Displayed Example: I bought this helmet in 2015 on a visit to the Connecticut home of the late, great helmet collector, Joe Godfrey. The helmet came from the well-known dealer and book author, Kelly Hicks. Kelly, in turn, had obtained the helmet in the 1980s from an Englishman who was an HSBC executive posted in the firm’s Shanghai office for a number of years. After I purchased the helmet from Joe, Kelly produced a certificate of authenticity for me.

The helmet has a SE62 marked shell with a 3120 lot number which would date it to early 1937 according to Brian Ice’s book.[3] The non-reinforced liner band is marked “D.R.P. SCHUBERTH-WERKE, BRAUNSCHWEIG  1936.” The chinstrap is an interesting locally-made replacement. It is hard to tell for certain, but the decal appears to me to be a stencil.

Collector Notes: Like everything else in the stahlhelm field of collecting, there are fake Chinese M35s circulating. Fortunately, they are hard to replicate because “donor” helmets with the correct lot numbers are hard to find.

* photo credit being sought

[1] Marzetti. 2003. pp77

[2] Personal research

[3] Ice. 2013

Published by maplecreekmilitaria

I am a collector of military headgear from 1915-1945

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: