Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Royal Dutch Army M.53 steel helmet


 Dutch treat II 
"Haven't I met you somewhere before?"

Ruggedly handsome, straightforward and reliable, the American M1 helmet design 
is a lot like Don Draper

The design was adopted by numerous "free world" countries following the Second World War.

These European "clones" are to the US M1 as muppet Guy Smiley is to Don Draper;  ruggedly handsome, straightforward and reliable...

yet slightly different.

Below are Royal Dutch Army soldiers of the 1970s and 80s wearing the M.53

(cool 'stash, bro)

The NATO M.53 is nearly identical to the US M1 in appearance and utility, with a few differences.

I particularly like the Dutch combination of camouflage covering their version of the NATO M.53.

There is quite a lot of versatility in this combination starting with the non-reflective burlap.

A net with a wrapped cord covers the burlap allowing foliage to further 
break up the profile of the helmet.


The whole affair is snugly held in place by a piece of rubber inner-tube.

As with the US M1 the separate liner is held in place by an auxiliary chinstrap.  Although executed in webbing the rolling-cam adjustment buckle is a dead-ringer for the American version...

 as is the stud and garter-style fasteners attaching the strap to the inside of the liner.

Similar to the American version, the M53 chinstrap is made of cotton webbing however the European twist is in the fastening buckle.

Unlike the American "claw and arrow" this fastener  sends a sprung claw into a slotted adjusting buckle, which I find not nearly as handy as the M1 version.

No surprise with the clips fastening the strap to the bales, this is nearly identical to the G.I. T1 chinstrap clip

The plastic (rather than US fiber) liner has a suspension that's a near dead-ringer for the American version save for the manner in which the sweat band "snaps" on to the inner suspension band.

The M1-family nape strap mirrors the M1...

as do the "arrow" washers that secure the webbing to the liner shell.

The sole marking on this helmet is this embossment in the dome of the liner.

Inside an out this Dutch version of the NATO version of the M1 is a solid, well-engineered, and soldierly helmet which held the line against generations of commies, but finally fell to the modern composite lids of today.

All good things do come to an end. 


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