Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Finland m.35-38 combat helmet

 This is the second Hungarian 35-38 I've collected and you can see
the earlier installment  here. This Hungarian lid is one of the 75,000 which
saw service with the Finnish army.

 Finnish soldiers with imported Hungarian helmets.

This is a fine example of a Hungarian M35-38 which was refurbished into Finnish army service; it is an obvious copy of the German m.40 helmet.

Differences from the German m.40 include the rivet placement...

and the small bracket on the rear skirt.

This bracket was used to fasten the helmet on to the soldier's backpack while on the march.

The bracket is attached with two rivets.

Unlike the German m.40 the three exterior rivets are bolstered by washers.

As with the German m.35 the ventilator is a separate piece, passing through the shell and peened over beneath. (Thanks to Bill Magowan for pointing this out to me)

The liner is distinctly Finnish.

Brass split pins affix the shell to the liner band and the liner fingers are sewn to the heavy leather band, very similar to the German M.16.

The liner size is ink-stamped on the liner band.  The high-quality of the leather
is evident in this photo.

Of similar quality is the chinstrap connected by rivets to the shell by stout D rings.

The high-quality leather fingers of the liner are gathered by a cord passing
through metal grommets.

A very simple iron buckle graces the chinstrap.

Only one mark is stamped into shell under the rear skirt.

Now for some pictures of the m.35-38 in action:

A video of the Hungarian helmet in action here (with a nice view at 1:25)

In both photos above Finnish soldiers are wearing both the m.35-38 as well as the m.40.

The M35-38 served from 1936 well in to the Cold War, seeing two decades of service both with Hungarian forces and later in the livery of Finland.   German design, Hungarian manufacture, Finnish service; this is a well-travelled helmet.

An altogether handsome and well made helmet.

See you next time with another cool helmet from the collection.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Republic of Ireland mkII helmet

Before we get started, Google "YouTube WWII and the Shameful Actions of Ireland".  The short video gives background about Ireland's role in the Second World War and how Irishmen who chose to fight against Hitler were treated upon returning home. 

In the Republic of Ireland the period of the Second World War was termed "The Emergency".  Ireland chose not to ally itself to the forces of anti-fascism but instead chose to stay neutral and turned its attention to its own borders and welfare.

The political and military leaders of the Republic of Ireland envisioned two possible scenarios that they needed to protect the country against:  first, that the Germans would invade and occupy Ireland and use it as a staging area for a thrust into Britain.  Second that the British may possibly invade to occupy the treaty ports of Berehaven, Queenstown, Lough, and Swilly. 

Owing to the traditional hostility between the two nations the reluctance of the Republic to ally itself with Britain may be understandable though less so considering that the common foe was Nazi fascism and European enslavement, in this the Irish seem shortsighted and even selfish. Irish passive-aggressiveness toward Britain included an agreement with the Nazis regarding the acceptance of captured British materiel, including 10,000 rifles, 550 machine guns, and 46 field guns with which to supply and arm the Irish Army; the only reason this scheme wasn't realized was the difficulty of transporting the large amounts of booty from the European mainland to Ireland.

In 1927 the strength of the army of the Republic of Ireland numbered some ten thousand men, by 1940 it was 17,156, by 1942 - 38,000, and in 1949 well after the period of the emergency it was 40,000.

Despite the Irish enmity for Britain the Republic did embrace the mkII helmet perhaps to distinguish themselves from the Germans through the use of  the Germanic design of the m.27 helmet.

My previous post of the m.27 can be viewed here.

Now for the walk around:

ROCo is the maker's mark for the firm of Rubery Owen & Co Ltd of Leeds. Also noted is that this is a mk.II helmet manufactured in 1940.

The helmet rim is a separate piece of stainless steel spot welded along the edge of the shell and butt-joined at the rear of the helmet.

This marking is penciled under the brim.

The chinstrap clips are fastened with a single rivet.

The liner is secured to the helmet shell by a large screw and nut
passing through the apex of the shell.

The liner is the first version of the mkII liner which utilizes fiber
rather than rubber bumpers on its perimeter.

The bumpers are fastened to the pressed paper crossbands by split pins.

The liner's only marking is the numeral 7 appearing twice.

In addition to the fiber bumpers, the earlier version of the mk.II liner is characterized
by a large pad at the crown.

The liner fingers are gathered by a cord.

The blackened brass buckle is overly complex and doesn't lend itself to
quick fastening and unfastening.

The rectangular chinstrap loops are held in place with a tensioned clip.

The shield and six-pointed star is the insignia of the Eastern Command.

And now, some photos of the helmet in action:

President of the Republic of Ireland Eamon DeValera reviewing the troops
during "the Emergency".

I'll see you next time with another cool helmet from the collection.