General Information: The SSh-36 was the first full production military helmet of the Soviet era. Production began in 1936 and ended in 1939 when the SSh-39 was introduced. The helmet was first used in combat by Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War. The first major use of the helmet by the Soviets was in the Khalkin Gol battle against the Japanese in mid-1939. The Soviets used the SSh-36 throughout the Second World War, particularly in conflicts early phases during the invasion of Poland and the First Winter War against the Finns. The helmet was gradually replaced by the SSh-39 and the SSh-40.
“SSh” is an abbreviation for “stalnoy shlyem” or “steel helmet” in English. The SSh-36 was produced in four sizes. The helmets were painted olive drab. Some had stenciled Red Army stars on front. There were two basic patterns; One had thin lines with a hammer and sickle inside, the other had thicker lines with no hammer and sickle. The helmets were also produced with no stars. Black ink stamps indicated the year of production, the size “POCT,” the factory where it was produced and a lot number.
Displayed Example: I bought this helmet on eBay in 2007 from a woman who mostly sold plastic models. You can find cool stuff on eBay; You just have to be careful. The seller told me that it had come from a local helmet collector near La Mesa, California.
The helmet is an untouched, not mucked around with, example of the type. It is marked POCT 1, which was the smallest size. The date “19[xx]” is not fully legible. Most of the original Red Army star with hammer and sickle is still present.
Collector Notes: These are not very easy helmets to find, although the do pop up in collector markets from time to time. They are moderately expensive, particularly if you want one in good shape. There are some good quality reproductions circulating, although the ones I have seen are advertised as such; I have not seen these being fobbed of as originals.
* citation pending