The chinstrap consists of a long end which measures 36-40 cm and a short end that is approximately 5 cm. The long end has 13 circular or oval shaped holes for the buckle prong. The short end has a metal buckle where the chinstrap can be adjusted. Both ends are secured to the bales (D-rings) on each side of the liner with retaining studs.
The tip of the long end is normally stamped with the manufacturer’s name, location and year of production. These markings are often illegible due to wear and/or faint stampings. It was also common for soldiers to shorten the long end by cutting off the tip.
There are several variations in color, thickness, materials and buckle design. With some exceptions, the Luftwaffe used brown colored leather while the other military branches used black. However by 1940 all branches utilized straps of both colors. Early chinstraps were manufactured with aluminum buckles and retaining studs. As the war progressed, chinstraps were fitted with painted or unpainted brushed steel buckles.
The rear chinstrap is an early example (dated 1938) with brown leather and aluminum buckle. The chinstrap in front (dated 1941) has black colored leather and a painted steel buckle. Notice the wear on the middle part of the early chinstrap. Several years of hard use has resulted in a narrowing of the leather, sweat stains and stress damage.