Thursday, November 19, 2015

Austrian, Bundesheer M75 combat helmet (part two)

(For part one go here)

What's not to like about Austria?

And what's not to like about the Austrian M75 helmet?  It's a clone of the US M1 that goes the original one better...or maybe two better.


The US M1 has been copied by numerous countries, perhaps more than any other type.

The walk-around provides no surprises to anyone familiar with the M1.

The helmet rim is butt-joined and spot welded at the rear.

Really nice and crisp date and manufactures mark are on the inside rear of the shell; Ulbrichts Witwe in Kaufing 34, 4690 Schwanenstadt (U SCH).  That Austrian eagle is very cool.

 The helmet with the "erbsentarn" side of the fabric camouflage cover, secured by a band made of a rubber inner-tube.


The camouflage cover is two-sided with distinctly different patterns: "erbsentarn" on the left and "sumpftarn" on the right.

Camouflage helmet covers were not a standard-issue item in the Bundesheer in the days of the M75.
Instead patterns were sent to individual units to convert pieces of shelter halves into covers.  Mats excellent helmet cover site at: provides more details on this and other camouflage covers.


This salvage of material can be seen in the miscellaneous seams and folds in the cover...

as well as the jagged and non-sewn edges of the fingers.

The sumpftarn side.

Though a near-clone of the venerable US M1 helmet, this helmet has two distinct
 and simple improvements.

The chinstrap release is elegant and far superior to the three versions of chinstrap closures that the US utilized over the course of fifty years, none of which was nearly as effective as the Austrian version.  It's a simple open garter fastner which fits around the circular washer (at top). the garter spring holds the washer securely and releases with a simple tug.

The second improvement is equally elegant. A simple spring clip on each side that securely holds the liner in place.  The liner and the shell of the US M1 often have a fit so loose that the shell will fall away from the liner when inverted.  These Austrian spring clips hold the liner while making it simple to separate the two components.  (This just in: see Greg's comment below)

Okay, so not everyone's perfect.

The liner is nothing like the US M1 but shares a similarity with the Bundeswehr of Germany (I just caught myself typing "West Germany"; am I old school, or what?).

The plastic liner has a much more trim profile than the US M1.

But like the M1 liner, it can be worn as a stand-alone piece of headgear.

The suspension is nicely marked, always a treat for the collector.


and date of manufacture perhaps?

The suspension can be adjusted by strap and buckle as well as by the usual
 cord through the fingers.

Like the Bundeswehr, the sweat band is ventilated.

The dome is padded and sports a crosspiece of wide webbing.

Thin foam buffers the suspension from the leather.

The suspension fingers are nicely grommeted.  The workmanship of this suspension is first rate.

As with the M1 the liner strap is secured by a garter clip...

and shortened or lengthened by a cam buckle.

I was fortunate to buy this helmet from a fellow collector who provided me with 
a very handsome helmet and a great addition to the collection.

See you next time with another cool helmet.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Canadian (US) M1 United Nations helmet

In observance of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations the time has come to look 
at my Canadian  UN helmet.

Please stand, remove your hat, put your hockey stick at present arms and join us in one of the very best national anthems on the planet Oh Canada (click here)

Canada is an active participant in the worldwide efforts of the United Nations. Since 1956 Canadian UN forces have participated in peacekeeping efforts in the following nations and regions: Congo, New Guinea, Indonesia, Cyprus, Israel/Syria, Lebanon, Sinai, Egypt, Namibia, Western Sahara, Cambodia, Somalia, Croatia, Haiti, Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Central African Republic, Central Africa, Kosovo, Sierra Leone,
East Timor, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Dafur. 

These are the three UN lids in my collection.  From left to right: a Belgian liner, the Canadian M1 featured in this post, and a French F1, all in the distinctive blue of UN forces.

This helmet is not an M1 clone; it is a US manufactured M1 helmet and liner.

It has the distinctive color and insignia which identifies troops in the field as part of the UN peacekeeping forces.

As with all post-1944 M1 the rim is joined in the rear of the helmet.

 The three-point spot-welded chinstrap bail is the same as always, but this last generation of chinstraps is entirely different than those which have gone before.
Introduced in 1973, the new chinstrap system was innovative and far superior
to the previous generations.
Replacement of the chinstraps had always been difficult in the M1.  The original WWII straps were sewn in, requiring removal of the helmet to a depot in a rear area to be replaced.  The later, improved T1 straps, introduced at the very end of the war were field-replaceable but still required a screwdriver or pliers to effect the change.  This final-generation strap was affixed to the bales by spring clips and made changing or replacing the straps quick and easy.  One wonders why it took so long to come up with this nearly obvious solution to a long-term problem.

The ends of the strap are adjustable by means of a ratchet buckle.

Another innovation is the sewn-in chincup, making for a more secure and comfortable fit.

 The liner is the last generation of a direct line going back to the beginning of the Second World War.

Although this liner bears the Marmac (Marysville, MI) maker's mark, the printed  paper nomenclature label that was standard in this, the Type 1, ground troops helmet liner is missing. 
 Production of this liner began in late 1972.

Only the merest trace of the label remains.  Shown to good effect here is the characteristic mottled orange color of the Marmac liner.

As with the helmet, the liner bears the distinctive UN logo.  The fact the liner is painted and fully marked indicates the liner was also a stand-alone piece of headgear.

A nice touch to this helmet is the Canadian maple leaf flag insignia affixed to the rear of the liner.

The placement of the rivets hints at the new Type 1 suspension system.


This final generation of M1 helmet liners had a very different suspension system. Rather than attached to the liner shell permanently with rivets as in the earlier generations, this suspension relies upon as system of six steel washers and clips to hold it in place.  This innovation provides a means to quickly replace worn or damaged suspensions.

Some things remain the same... the trusty spring clip, connecting the headband to the suspension, has been with the M1 suspension since the design phase of 1940.
Although the shell carries no markings, the components of the liner are well marked


Where the M1 liners of earlier generations utilized a nape strap to make the headband fit more snugly, this system has a separate T-shaped neck strap for that purpose.  It is much more effective than the old nape strap for stabilizing the helmet on the head of the soldier.
The ends of the strap are fastened and adjusted by means of three serrated buckles.

Though faint, the neck strap is also marked with manufacture's information and lot number.

In the crown of the helmet shell is the name of the former occupant.

Happy 70th anniversary to the United Nations!