Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Austrian M.75 combat helmet (part one)


Hey, Austria isn't Germany, although Austria was the blushing bride of Germany in the Second World War and participated in many of the evil hi-jinx of the Third Reich.  Today however Austria is a member in good standing of both the UN and the EU.  Officially neutral, Austria does have a well-trained standing army, following Switzerland's example of needing a strong army to preserve the idea of neutrality in a complex world.  Ain't it the truth.

Three Austrians of note:

Christopher Plummer as Captain Von Trapp. Nice Jacket

Fictional American Harry Lime who hung out in Vienna
who was a fictional dick.   Nice smile.

Arnold Schwarzenegger former body builder, governor, actor and sex bully who is a non-fictional dick.  Nice pose, dick!

Hollywood must really like Austria

I really like the Austrian M.75 steel combat helmet

Another US M1 clone, this helmet has been around since the seventies and is even featured on a cool Austian postage stamp:

Is it just me or is there a resemblance between these two Austrian G.I.s and Bill Mauldin's "Willie and Joe" cartoon G.I.s?

Austrian soldiers in ranks with helmets or turbans (non-ballistic I'd imagine).

Let's take a walk around this nice lid.

The exterior porvides no surprises for the fan of...

the venerable,  and apparently, venerated US M1 helmet.

Save for the chinstrap...

and the non-textured finish, this is a dead-ringer for the American "steel pot"

The netting is uniquely Austrian, with a much larger weave than that of the M1 of WWII.

From above there are no surprises, but the big differences are apparent...

when you get a gander at the suspension and chinstrap.

The chinstrap has two garter fasteners including the anti-concussion one in use here. The open end allows the strap to give way should a concussive shock-wave, generated by a nearby explosion, pull at the helmet of the wearer; or so I am given to understand.

Taking a cue from its German neighbors (in a good way, this time),  the brow of the leather suspension has numerous rows of ventilation holes.

Nylon bushings provide impact space between the suspension and the shell.

The nine-fingered suspension is stamped with the size as  well as the wearer's name and branch of service, "Bundesheer" is the army, as opposed to "Bundeswehr" in Germany.

I used to see lots of young people here in the US sporting Bundeswehr athletic shirts prompting me to coin this marketing slogan:

"Bundeswehr is Fun to wehr"

Such a wag am I.

other, less distinct, markings are underneath.

This sliding buckle provides for some adjustment for the wearer.

The fingers are nicely grommeted and a very sturdy cord draws them all together at the center.

The liner itself if very similar, though certainly not identical to the M1.  It seems, in this view at least, to be slightly drawn-in along the rim.  It also has a riot of rivets.

Oddly, only about half of these rivets are even connected to the suspension, leading me to believe that there may be an airborne configuration of this liner which would utilize those otherwise idle rivets.

The helmet shell has one marking indicating, I imagine, the maker and date of manufacture.

Again, as with the M1, the separate rim is butt-joined and spot-welded.

The chinstrap bales are quite identical to the M1 swivel bales.

Behelmeted soldiers of the "Eastern Kingdom" blaze away at those who dare to challenge their neutrality.

Another very handsome helmet from Europe that owes its good looks to its progenitor the good old, reliable, and much-copied American M1.

"Stick with a winner" I always say.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembering the Great War

(photo by David DeJonge)

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by my old friend David DeJonge about helmets and how we remember the men of the Great War.

Please check out David's efforts to restore the First World War Memorial in Washington DC here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Spanish Military Police (M1 clone) Steel Helmet


Yankee go home! (but leave your helmet)

The classic US M1 helmet has been copied by numerous nations, some best buddies like Taiwan (go here), also some dear acquaintances like the Netherlands and Denmark (likewise, go here and here).
 Our Cold War allies (save for the British Commonwealth countries), even France (for awhile) adopted the M1 or started producing their own domestic clones of that classic design.  It was an anti-commie love-fest, everybody in matching helmets.

Spain is an interesting exception to that rule.

Spain and the United States have not been such good pals, some have gone as far as to opine that Spain is the most anti-American country in the galaxy (here).

[fun times in Barcelona]

Goodness, such fussing between two such nice peoples; and when one considers the histories of the two countries one will find some disquieting similarities.

Despite the ill-feelings, Spain after its long love affair with the German-style helmet (here) adopted (in 1983) the venerable, and very much American, M1-style helmet.

At last, something we can agree upon.

Two members of the policia militar, one martial, the other groovy.

Although very similar to the US M1 this home-grown Spanish clone is entirely of Spanish manufacture and the differences in the two helmets become immediately apparent when looking at that distinctive chin cup and cotton-webbing liner strap.

The "draw marks" visible in this view indicate a thickness not nearly as great as the M1

Another difference is the raw edge of the Spanish model. The M1 has a separate rim providing a very "finished" look and feel.

The "loop within a loop" chinstrap fasteners are quite handy and the bale is nearly identical to that in the M1

The distinctive chin-cup provides for great stability however the plastic material is 
not particularly rugged.

The liner has rivet placement unlike the M1 as well as...

a pair of ventilator grommets.

These ventilators lead me to believe that the liner is more likely to be stand-alone headgear than would the complete liner and helmet combination, witness the above picture of the two youthful PMs.

Here's the meat-and-potatoes of the liner suspension and where any similarities to the US M1 take their leave.  The five-leaf suspension is distinctly European as is the leather construction.

The liner strap bales are unique as well.  Note the crack above the bail.  The plastic liner, as with the chin cup, is not particularly durable.

Velcro, that great legacy of the space-age, provides size adjustment for a snug fit.

The liner is nicely marked with this manufactures embossment in the dome.

Although of very simple design and inexpensive material this liner clip does bear some resemblance to the similar fitting in the M1

A phalanx of PMs armed and ready for action.

Spanish soldier...
American soldier.

Why can't two such cute countries just get along?

A fine looking M1 clone in Spanish livery