There were 3 main helmets that served with the Red Army during the Great Patriotic War. They were the SSH-36, SSH-39 and SSH-40.


The SSH-36 was the first army helmet made by the USSR. Previously, they were using the Adrian helmet which were leftovers from WW1. The SSh-36 had distinct ear flanges and a comb on the top that covered a ventilating hole. Early production ones had a leather liner and chinstrap, but they tore quickly so later ones had a cotton liner and webbing chinstrap. Both are suitable for GPW reenactment. This helmet was used from 1936 to somewhere around early 1942. Reproductions can be bought from ima-usa.com or epicmilitaria.com . There are also restored ones (more expensive, they are repaired dug-out helmet shells with repro liners installed) available from Cyrill Mekhanitchev.


The SSH-39 was an improvement from the SSH-36 as it was more economical to make. Similarly it also had 2 types of liners, a leather and a cloth variant. It had 3 external rivets that held the liner in place. It was used from 1939 to 1942. Reproductions and restored originals can be bought from Cyrill Mekhanitchev.


The SSH-40 was a further simplified version of the SSH-39. It was the most commonly seen helmet of the GPW and was the only one in service from 1943 onwards. It saw service from Spring 1942 to the end of the war. The shape of the shell barely changed from the SSH-39, but a new liner was introduced, suspended by 6 external rivets. 3 cotton-filled pads replaced the crown liner, and the cotton was removable to allow further adjustments. Post war ones are aplenty on the market can be bought on ebay and so on.

converting postwar SSH-40 to wartime

Read this link: https://www.facebook.com/201stLRD/posts/the-ssh-40-ive-been-doing-some-research-on-the-ssh-40-helmet-in-researching-the-/574028996106868/

Also, further research suggests that webbing chinstraps were introduced 1944 onwards and before that, only cotton chinstraps were made. Cotton chinstraps can be bought from OTK87 on etsy.

Wearing Ushanka beneath helmets

Many soldiers wore the Ushanka underneath their helmets in winter months to keep their heads warm, and many reenactors portray this, but incorrectly!! Soldiers of the time tore out their liners on the SSH-36&39, and removed the cotton padding on the SSH-40, to allow their helmets to ride nicely on their heads, as the thick Ushanka has in a sense become the liner. What I see in a lot of photos of reenactment events however, are people who simply put the helmet ontop of their Ushanka which wasn’t stable, not to mention that soldiers back then didn’t do that.


Camouflage equipment for the helmets of the Red Army were rare. There were camo nets made early in the war but were rarely seen, and helmet covers in camoflague patterns (Amoeba etc) were also made but only issued with soldiers who had camo suits as well (scouts, snipers etc).

Therefore soldiers often simply smeared local mud to blend in to the environment.

Nets can be bought from Soldatskaya Lavka

Extra notes

certain helmets were not mentioned due to their scarcity in being used in the war, such as Adrian helmet, M17 Sohlberg helmet and the M38 airdefence helmet.

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