SSK 90 helmet

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 It was introduced on 8 May 1941, but withdrawn from service only 18 days later.[1]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that it was taken out of service on 26 May 1941.[1] Some helmets nonetheless continued to be used after the model was withdrawn.[1]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. German-Helmets.
  2. 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. Strong 2002.
  7. 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.
  • "Luftwaffe (Air Force): Fliegerstahlhelm SSK 90". Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  • Strong, Doug (12 July 2002). "Not A 10th Century Scandinavian Helmet". Talbot's Fine Accessories. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  • 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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 February 2017.
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