|Since publication of Russian Helmets, it has become clear that the section on factory stamps especially during The Great Patriotic War included some serious errors. Some of them can be addressed at this time, though it is important to note that there are still some distinctly gray areas.
First, it is clear that almost all helmets produced between 1939 and 1945 were fabricated at only three huge plants. The first was the Stalingrad Tractor Factory which had been converted to military production by 1939 and, among other things, was producing tanks. The correct producers stamp for them was CT (Latin ST). The other factory was the Red October plant (3KO - Latin ZKO) also in Stalingrad. They both produced military equipment along with helmets until the enemy was virtually at the gates in late 1942. It is estimated that more than 4 million helmets were produced there bearing dates up to 1942. When they came back on line is not clear at this time. Because of its name, Stalingrad had a high priority for rebuilding but those were desperate times.
Also in the first days of the war in Europe, helmet production, first of SSh-39s and then of SSh-40s was developed at the Lysma Metallurgical Factory in the town of Lysma, about 100km from Perm in the western foothills of the Ural Mountains. The factory was a very old one, having been chartered first during the time of Catherine the Great. It was greatly enlarged for war production. Their code was LMZ. After Stalingrad was attacked and virtually destroyed, LMZ was the sole mass producer of Soviet combat helmets. They were far beyond bombing range and continued to turn out military equipment throughout the war. During the period 1939 through 1945 they produced over 10 million helmets. Thus the obvious reason for most wartime helmets bearing the LMZ code.
So what about the other producers? Production archives at the Russian MOD are still not conveniently open, but correspondence suggests the following. The Leningrad Metallurgical Factory (also LMZ) apparently produced between 16,000 and 20,000 helmets of both the SSh-39 and SSh-40 design, generally regarded as being made of inferior alloy because they had to rely on stocks on hand at the beginning of the 900 day blockade. All of the other factories listed in Russian Helmets also produced helmets, but in small numbers. Stamping practice for these small producers was not consistent.
So the only wartime helmets in any numbers would bear the CT, the 3KO, or the LMZ (for Lysma) stamp. Other stamps should be regarded with great caution.
Immediately following the war, Lysma changed its stamp to the overlapping LMZ. Those bearing the overlapping stamp with a 1943 date are clearly 1948 helmets that have had the 8 changed to a 3 by chemically removing small bits of the number. Leningrad also began using an overlapping LMZ and to differentiate itself, Lysma began using a broken version with space where the letters overlapped.
Much of this information was provided directly by Lysma. They proved to be very cooperative and did a thorough search of their archives for information almost forgotten. They now make high grade consumer goods. Leningrad MZ proved a disappointment. LMZ in St. Petersburg has been absorbed by a much larger conglomerate and has not responded to what must seem like questions of ancient history.
This is far from a complete explanation, but it is important to note that Lysma LMZ was able to produce more than 10 million helmets and it is unlikely that any helmets with other than CT, 3KO or LMZ stamps can be found to have been manufactured during the war. I have heard of Leningrad blockade helmets being identified, but they seem mainly to be in severely degraded condition.
As noted in the book, steel helmet production beginning with the SSh-60 was shifted entirely to the Red October Factory (3KO) in Volgograd (ex-Stalingrad).
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