SSK 90 helmet

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The SSK 90 helmet was a short-lived World War II Luftwaffe helmet manufactured by Siemens. It was introduced on 8 May 1941, but withdrawn from service only 18 days later.[1]


The helmet's core of interlocking hinged steel plates, intended to protect against shrapnel and small-calibre machine gun fire, was covered by padding and dark brown leather.[2][1] A large section of padding at the front both provided extra padding in the event of a collision, and served as a "grab-roll" to quickly put on or remove the helmet.[3] On either side was a cut-out for earphones, and a chinstrap used the same components – including buckles, leather, and snaps – found on German paratrooper helmets.[1] The helmet weighed about 1,900 g (4.2 lb).[4]

The SSK 90 was extremely similar to another model, the LKH W, which differed only in its sloping neck guard, lack of chinstrap, and (frequently) embroidered Luftwaffe eagle.[1]

Despite the millennium separating the close of the Viking Age from World War II, one archaeological find has been identified both as an SSK 90 and as a Viking helmet. In 1992 a helmet was published as a Viking piece.[5][6][7] Only the iron core remained, and it was suggested that "the helmet was worn over a leather or even mail garment".[8] Thought to be the best preserved Viking helmet—better than the Gjermundbu helmet, for which only a quarter remains—the helmet was alternatively compared to patent diagrams of the SSK 90 in 2002, and suggested to instead be the remnants of its iron core.[6][7]


Designed by Siemens, the helmet was adopted for use by the Luftwaffe on 8 May 1941.[1][2] The heavy steel plates were so burdensome, however, that it was taken out of service on 26 May 1941.[1] Some helmets nonetheless continued to be used after the model was withdrawn.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g German-Helmets.
  2. ^ a b Baer 1985, p. 339.
  3. ^ Baer 1985, pp. 339, 427.
  4. ^ Baer 1985, p. 340.
  5. ^ Tweddle 1992, pp. 1083, 1086, 1125, 1128, 1130–1131.
  6. ^ a b Strong 2002.
  7. ^ a b Nederlandse Munten.
  8. ^ Tweddle 1992, p. 1128.


  • Baer, Ludwig (1985). The History of the German Steel Helmet: 1916–1945. Translated by Dahl, K. Daniel. San Jose: R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 0-912138-31-9.
  • "ijzeren German luftwaffe helmet.SSK90/ME262". Nederlandse Munten. Retrieved 20 April 2017. open access
  • "Luftwaffe (Air Force): Fliegerstahlhelm SSK 90". Retrieved 3 January 2018. open access
  • Strong, Doug (12 July 2002). "Not A 10th Century Scandinavian Helmet". Talbot's Fine Accessories. Retrieved 20 April 2017. open access
  • Tweddle, Dominic (1992). The Anglian Helmet from 16–22 Coppergate (PDF). The Archaeology of York. 17/8. London: Council for British Archaeology. ISBN 1-872414-19-2. open access