Sunday, August 31, 2008
Soviet Ssh40 Steel Helmet of WWII and beyond
"Let's go Marching Through Georgia!" is the rough translation of the poster above. This is the second of three installments of Soviet helmets of the 20th century in recognition of the Sovi...er, that is "Russian" invasion of neighboring Georgia.
The Ssh40 typifies the Red soldier of the Second World War as well as the Cold War, and represents the exported image of Marxism globally. This commie lid would end up on the heads of Reds from China to Cuba and became symbolic of the "bad guys" to us Amerikanskis. From the front the deep dome and flaired skirts reveal a well designed, cheap to produce, and very protective helmet. Unless, of course, one chooses to wear it like Comrade Numb Nutz pictured second from right (below)... all that his helmet is protecting is his pompadour. Side views show a very simple, worker-friendly design, with very clean lines and simple assembly. This particular specimen, with a nearly perfect finish, is in unissued condition and I'm happy to have it in my collection Only the slightest storage blemishes are evident. This is one very clean lid.
Let's follow Ivan and Boris as they go... Charging toward the details! (Поручать к деталям!)
There are numerous markings and stamps throughout this helmet: On the shell, (I'm assuming that this is the date of manufacture - 1958) and on the liner pads. A robust cotton cord joins the three pads and provides a good degree of adjustment for setting the depth of the head into the helmet. The chinstrap, of olive canvas with a metal buckle and ferrule, is both cheap to manufacture and very durable as well as easy to adjust. A close-up of the horse hair padding, the liner band, and the split end of the attaching rivet. The helmet is finished rough in a very even coating of grit and olive paint. The Russkis could never design a decent sportscoat, automobile, ball-point pen, or calculator, but they sure nailed this one. All in all a fine helmet which came, in the last half of the 20th century to symbolize the scourge of Nazis and (ironically) freedom-loving people throughout the globe.
But, that was then...
Stop by next Monday for a look at the Soviet Ssh68 "high dome" steel combat helmet.