Saturday, November 29, 2008

Spanish M.42/79 Steel Helmet

Here is a variation on the classic "shell game".

Pictured below are three seemingly identical Spanish helmets; the model 42/79, the German manufactured M. 35, and the "modello Z".

Your objective is to determine which is the M42/79.  It is concealing the image of Francisco Franco.   You may want to go with your instincts on this.

If you instinctively thought "hmmmmm, Franco...far right?"

You would be...

                                     ¡Hola, mi nombre es pequeño Francisco!

The M.42/79 is essentially a rehash of that which has gone before (the model Z) with a more highly engineered suspension and chinstrap system.

Its handsome looks still draw from its ancestor the German M.35 which saw Spanish service following the Civil War and accompanied Spanish troops as they assisted the Nazis in their campaign against the Soviets.

Like the "modello Z", the M.42/79 is made of much lighter, thinner steel than its German forebear.

As can be  seen here:
note the bent profile, no doubt after an encounter with an aged Bolshevik.

The liner, though much improved from earlier versions, is still an overly-complex design that provides little of the critical space between the shell of the helmet and the head of the wearer.

Comprised of a leather band, riveted to the shell, the liner is a series of fabric and leather straps radiating toward a hammock-style apex.

The chinstrap is almost identical to the U.S. Army airborne M1C liner jump chinstrap.

The  finish on this particular helmet is much finer than on other examples.  The lack of those typical multiple layers of slopped-on paint lead me to believe that his helmet was in service only a short time.

Spanish police also used the M.42/79 for many years, eventually making the transition to composite helmets:

as seen here actively protecting Spanish society from rampaging gangs of old people.

Speaking of old people who were on a rampage...

now it is time to leave Francisco Franco and his nasty legacy behind as we bid farewell to the Nazi inspired design of the Spanish helmets of the 20th century, and return them to their places in the gallery.

Join me next time for as I begin a two installment series on the Danish helmets in my collection.

accession number: MOA hmar249.68.14
Spanish M.42/79 steel helmet
Acquired 2008, ebay
Purchase price :$36.53
Condition: excellent

Helmet Holiday Hiatus

I'm taking the Month of December off, returning with regular weekly posting beginning on January 4.  In the meantime catch up on earlier posts, click on the links below for other great helmet sites and resources.

Otherwise I wish all a happy holiday season!


Anonymous said...

Mannie, I think you're going way too easy on Franco. I bet he is is in a very hot place right now. Guess he didn't need that fur coat after all.

Mannie Gentile said...

Dear Mr. Anonymous,

Despite his current location, I think its always important to look ones best!

Helmet on!


Anonymous said...

By any chance would you happen to know what grade of steel these Spanish helmets are made out of?
And are they about the same weight and thickness as normal German made helmets?


Saunders361st said...

Hi Mannie!

I'm a big fan/collector of vintage helmets like i occasionnally browse your site from time to time just to compare notes and decide which helmet i want to buy next. anyways, i came across a DVD of the old 60's TV series GARRISON'S GORILLAS and for all the 26 episodes or more of this series you will see the modelo z or german m35 being used by the "germans" painted in matte or field gray complete with the side decals. at close ups you will see the mounting bracket in front of the helmets.i guess the guys in the costume department figured the audience wouldn't be able to tell the difference.i'm just curious where they got them from.imported from Spain?