Saturday, November 22, 2008

Spanish M.42 "Modello Z" steel helmet

"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy: I knew Jack Kennedy; Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
Senator Lloyd Bentsen to Senator Dan Quayle, Oct 5, 1988

And Francisco Franco may have draped himself in fur, but he was no Joan Crawford!

I think the same can be said regarding the Modello Z in comparison to the German M.35:

", senor, are no M.35"

And here we plunge in to Spain's attempt to replicate the German M.35, a superior helmet that Francoist troops got a taste of in WWII during their eastern expedition to bring destruction and madness  to Russia (as if the Russkis needed any help in those particular departments).

The war ended but the memory lingers on, memory of that classic M.35 design, replicated here, ersatz in every way, in the M.42 Model Z helmet.

I've read recently that the easiest way to tell a Spanish M.42 from a German M.35 is with a hammer.  

Let me, instead, save a little wear and tear on your collection with these photos. 

The insignia mounting bracket on the front of the helmet is not a sure  giveaway, as you'll remember from a recent posting that the German M.35 (in Spanish service) sported a similar bracket.  The actual differences are, rest assured, quite obvious.

The raw edge and lousy paint-job provide a glimpse in to the production abilities of a nation impoverished by civil war and foreign adventurism.

The rear view...

as well as the top reveal the typical M.35 profile, but also...

the multiple layers of paint, carelessly slopped on, over the lifetime of this helmet.  A typical hallmark of Spanish helmets is this clumsy ham-fisted finishing.

Peer through the multiple layers of flaking and runny pigment  and here is another big difference between the M.35 and its Spanish counterpart; the crudely punch-stamped ventilator.

That mounting bracket in closeup is quite shoddy when compared to the flush-soldered bracket on the German model.

The pay- off when making your i.d. comes when you look inside:

OUCH!  that very standard, very cheap, and very ineffective Spanish liner is revealed.  As in previous examples posted to this blog, the Spanish M.30 and M.26 share this same rudimentary liner, one which provides almost no space between the shell of the helmet and the skull of the wearer.

Here's the available padding, about 1/8 of an inch of felt.  My brain hurts just thinking about any impact to the shell.

The liner pads are sewn to a leather liner band which is riveted to the shell.

Visible here is the reverse side of the punched ventilator, a far cry from the applied ventilator of the German M.35.

The chinstrap is surprisingly well-engineered.  

Typical of Spanish helmets, this one bears no manufacturer's marks, batch numbers, inspection stamps, or other process marks of any sort.  The closest thing to a marking is this deliberate daub of white paint in the very crown of the shell.

Despite its shortcomings, pop on that brass eagle and the wearer is ready for any parade.

I think perhaps too much of Spain's military budget was being diverted to keep Franco in martial splendor as this cartoon may allude:

Now the final question: What becomes a legend most? Here is at least one trait shared by Spanish strongman Francisco Franco and Hollywood strongwoman Joan Crawford...
They both look good in fur.

Despite its shortcomings, I'm very pleased to have this example in my collection.

accession number: MOA hmar249.68.10
Spanish M.42 "Modello Z" steel helmet
Acquired 2008, ebay
Purchase price :$17.53
Condition: very good

Next week:  The Spanish M.42-79 steel helmet

1 comment:

Tullio Forteleoni said...

Dear Mr. Gentile,

I have been told by my cousin that a year ago you had found in a junk store the helmet of our grand father Mario.
I am Tullio Forteleoni, one of his nephews. I'd like to forward you to the comment left by my older cousin Mario in your post about the helmet, here's the link:

I'm sorry if this comment is not about the actual post you made, but this whole story is actually amazing and I thought, as your post was of 2007, you might not have read the other one that my cousin left. That said, I thank you in advance for your attention.
Best regards,

Tullio Forteleoni