Thursday, February 6, 2020

Taiwan M1 helmet, Navy

“I had never expected that the China initiative would come to fruition in the form of a Ping-Pong team.”
Richard M. Nixon

Well, yeah, that, and throwing over Nationalist China in favor of cheap consumer goods made by slave-labor

You see, Nationalist China and the United States were boyfriend/girlfriend from the end of the Second World War until the early 1970s...That's when Richard Nixon (boyfriend) got a look at the passing ass of Red China (slutty new girl in town) and dumped Nationalist China (sad girlfriend).

Until then, the United States recognized Nationalist China as the "legitimate" China...despite the twenty quadrillion Chinese on the mainland.

Here's a graphic to help put things into perspective:

Finally, Nixon saw the benefits of free-trade with the Red menace and changed partners. and danced..and presto!  we can buy unlimited cheap crap at the local Walmart.  See how that works?

During the happy years when the US and Nationalist China were still going steady lots of American surplus military hardware started flowing into Taiwan -

the roster of cool hardware included:

surplus tanks,

really nice destroyers,

and cool retro jets.

This hardware also Included the always fashionable and effective U.S. M1 helmet. What better way to signify a link of common democratic values than to eqip your allies with the steelpot of the American G.I.?

Well, as it turns out, Taiwan (nee Nationalist China...she kept her name after the divorce) is doing nicely, thank you very much.  Though it takes some backbone, and perhaps some denial, to flaunt its independence in the face of the Red Chinese...who are becoming increasingly intolerant of the situation.

Anyhoo, finding its footing as a nation, Taiwan has been manufacturing it's own helmets for quite some time.  That brings us to the feature of this post, the Taiwanese-manufactured M1

In front-line use from 2000 to 2019, The Taiwanese M1 is one of the last production steel combat helmets.

Now for the walk around:

Fans of the US M1 can appreciate the form as well as quickly spot the differences.

The Naval insignia painted on the front is quite attractive.

There are three external screw/rivets which secure the suspension.

The chinstrap is identical to the final generation US M1.

The chinstrap clips to the flexible bales, making it very easy to replace.

The suspension includes a rubbery plastic which provides good separation between the shell and the head of the wearer.  It's flexibility provides good resilience to blows.

The adjustment point is in the rear and provides a generous range of sizing.

Dozens of these spongy cups provide cushion between the shell and the head of the wearer.

The plastic sweatband is surprisingly cheaply-made, in this otherwise well-crafted and intelligently engineered suspension.

Here are plenty of action shots of Taiwanese sailors sporting this handsome and well-made helmet.

This lid is a much welcomed addition to the wall o' helmets.

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


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

South Korea m. 76 combat helmet

South Korea is a country on the brink.  

To the north lies its traditional and seemingly eternal enemy - The People's Democratic Socialist Republic of Spiders and Flies -  ruled by a hare-trigger nutcase with a whacked-out haircut named Kim Jong Un.  Un, like his father before him, has found a way for his people to live on a diet of nothing more than twigs and meth-amphetamines, thus allowing him to pump all of the nation's meager resources into offensive weaponry.

Whether feeding relatives to dogs or firing ballistic missiles in all directions like your uncle Elmer on the Fourth of July with a fist of bottle rockets in one hand and a cold Budweiser in the other.  Kim is nuts and unpredictable.

Neighbored by a heavily-armed man with bugs in his brain, South Koreans are keenly aware of the precarious armistice that has been holding since the end of the Korean war in July of 1953.  South Korea's capital city, Seoul, is only 31 miles from the border with N. Korea - within easy range of Kim's long-range artillery...of which he has an abundance.

South Korea has relied, in varying degrees, on the assistance of the United States to maintain the balance of power and keep the armistice intact.  Indeed, since the nearly the birth of the new nation the South Korean forces have been almost entirely equipped with American materiel including the standard US M1 helmet.

The M1 was the front-line helmet for S. Korean forces until 1976 when the new composite helmet was introduced.  Although different in most ways from the venerable M1,  the m. 76 still retains the distinctive profile of it's American progenitor.

Here's the walk-around:

Only the external rivets and the squared-edge of the brim distinguish the outward appearance of this helmet from the American M1.

The chinstrap is a near-twin to the final generation American M1 version.

Made of a synthetic material  called corlon,  this helmet has ballistic capabilities that are superior to the Hadfield manganese steel of the American M1.

The m. 76 entered service in 1976 and is still the front-line helmet of S. Korean military forces.

The distinctive pyramid-pattern of rivets at the brim secure the chinstrap-bail bracket.

This helmet does not have a separate liner as did the US M1.  Although the suspension is a near dead-ringer for the M1, it is connected directly to the shell.

The top view demonstrates the least imaginative photo I have ever shot.

Chinstrap brackets are riveted to the shell.

The sweatband, like the M1, is leather, and the clips that secure it are the same spring-loaded type as found on the M1

The m.76 also has the same nape-strap as the final generation M1.

Also identical to the M1 is the chinstrap.

The manner in which the strap is fastened to the bail makes it easy to replace.

It fastens with a robust snap.

The only markings reside in the dome of the shell.

South Korea also manufactures the m.76 for export, including to Iraq.

The Iraqi m. 80 is on the left.

The suspension is very similar to the m.76 although the material is comparatively flimsy.  Note the attachment of the simple chinstrap.  The manner in which it is affixed makes it impossible to replace.

The suspension is leather and the cotton material is of a very loose weave.

Now for some photos of the m.76 in action:

One last look.  This helmet came with a pretty cool digital camouflage cover.

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