Sunday, October 17, 2010

Greek M. 34-39 Combat Helmet

This helmet is one of my favorites, acquired just five years ago, from the estate of noted helmet collector and authority, Floyd Tubbs.  

A fairly uncommon helmet on the collecting market, I was happy to get this helmet from such an impeccable collection and for such a charitable price, for which I'm still thankful to Mr. Tubb's son.

Now, on to the Greek Army and this particular helmet.

Don't let the dress and the clownshoes fool you -

without a doubt...

Greece fights!

If the Greek m.34-39 looks familiar it's probably because it's essentially the Italian M.33 without vents and with a different liner and chinstrap.

Manufactured in Italy prior to World War Two, this lid was intended for Italian use but was eventually rejected as too lightweight.  Italy opted for the slightly heavier, and more ballistically sound M.33.

So, what to do with a surplus of pretty nice helmets?  Export!

Stocks of this helmet were unloaded to the Greek military and designated the M.34-39.

The shell is nearly identical to the Italian helm save for the lack of those three distinctive ventilation washers.

Sold sans liner to the Greeks, the helmets were repainted by the Hellenic forces and used during the conflict between Italy and Greece in 1940.  I can only imagine that the close similarity between the helmets of the opposing forces must have caused some battlefield confusion.

Aside from the paintjob and lack of external ventilators, the eye immediately picks out one more difference from the Italian M.33; four very small screws along the rim on the sides of the shell.

Those screws support the simple suspension frame for the Greek-manufactured liner.

With a typically European seven-fingered leather liner the shell sits a comfortable distance from the head of the wearer.

Marked with the size, and insignia of the Greek Army this is a handsome, if somewhat lightweight, liner.

The two-buckle sliding chinstrap is also of Greek manufacture and, like the liner, it is well-made from fine leather with two handsome brass buckles.

My helmet is in particularly choice condition save for  one tear and one dry-rotted area in the leather liner.  This is a great piece for any collection of combat helmets.  And I'm happy to have it.

 The prowess of the Greek forces should come as no surprise considering the long and storied military tradition of that proud people,


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