STANDARD CRASH HELMET
German Luftstreitkräfte, Döberitz 1918 issued standard hard shell crash helmet
About mid-way through the war the Germans developed their own crash helmet. Primarily intended for bomber crews it was made of pressed, hardened leather with bumper pads around the brim and across the crown. These bumpers were reportedly filed with straw, while another source states horsehair.
The chin straps buckle under the chin and thread-linked leather flaps inside the shell allowed some size adjustment.
A stiff leather bill in front provided some sun protection, while large side flaps with semi-circular ear pockets, and a large leather neck flap reduced the draught effect in the open cockpit. Originally these helmet were painted field grey/green for camouflage.
After WW1 remaining stocks of this type of helmet were “recycled” for use by the National Socialist Motorcycle Corps (“Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrerkorps”) N.S.K.K. Now painted black it sported a shiny metal eagle and swastika emblem on the front. Furthermore the side flaps were often trimmed to a reduced size. Further versions of this now motoring helmet featured holes for aeration on the side and narrow chin straps in lieu of the side flaps, while lacking the neck flap completely.
This specimen seems to have lived all the possible stages in its service life from WW1 until WW2. Stamped “Flg Bekl. Döberitz 1918” initially intended for aviation use it was repainted black, had the side flaps trimmed and the ear pockets removed. The former presence of the N.S.K.K. emblem is testified by three small holes on the front and on the top bumper. At a later stage a former owner of this helmet obviously decided to remove the black overpaint, now revealing the original field grey color, and even the brown color of the pressed leather.
Eye protection is povided by a pair of early style motoring/aviator goggles.