Saturday, May 16, 2015

Belgian m.1951 combat helmet - air force

Stick with me to the end on this one; you'll be glad you did.
 
 
This is the ensign of the Belgian Air Force.
 
 
 
This is the jolly king of Belgium - Albert II.  He's happy because he's just had breakfast.
 
 
 
This is a Belgian waffle...
 
 
and these are Belgian soldiers sporting some very nice M.26-31 helmets...
 
 
 
And this is the Belgian Air Force helmet from the 1970s and 80s.


 
It is, as we shall see, nearly identical to the venerable US M1 helmet. 



 
 




 
The rim seam is to the rear as on all US M1s manufactured after 1944.
 

 
A very nice decal of the Belgian tricolor is one the left side of the shell.
 

 
The liner strap served to hold the liner and shell together - no surprise to M1 enthusiasts - and the adjustment buckle it identical to its American cousin.
 
 

 
The liner, in sky blue with black rivets is very striking.
 

 
The liner has an insignia grommet as did the M1's prior to the 1960s.
 
 

 
The tricolor is repeated on the left side of the liner.
 
 

 
And note how this little flag, about the size of a commemorative stamp, is recessed
 into the surface. 
 
 
 
The Riddell suspension is no surprise, nor is the sweatband...




 
 

 
Unlike the US twin, the "A" washers are held in place with a spring clip washers.



 
The garter fastener for the liner strap is identical to the M1 as well, though the leather of the strap is a little thicker.

 
The manufacturer's mark is in the dome of the liner as well as the year it was made.
According to their website, Levior has been making helmets since 1904.
 
 

 
The chinstrap bails are the same as the M1...
 


as is the clevis-and-ball connector buckle.
 
 
Okay, so with all these references to the American M1, let's do a side-by-side.


 
The American M1, on the right appears a little deeper from the front...

 
and from the side...

 
though not from the rear.  I'm thinking that the camera angle must have influenced this.
 

 

 
Within she shell is an ink stamp bearing the maker's mark and the date of manufacture.



 
The Belgian NATO m.1951 is a very nice twin of the good old US M1.
 
 
 
 
 
And now, my very favorite Belgian of all:
 
 
 
 
 
 

gasp...it's her!




 

1 comment:

Kitoko50 said...

Hello !

My name is Thierry Gonçalves (from Belgium). Former Belgian Army officer.
I am a war helmets collector.

My blog : www.casquescollection.skyrock.com

Congratulations for your work ! Very instructive .... and sometimes really funny !

You give very sharp descriptions of Belgian helmets.

Just to inform you that the stamp EVL Gd RW you find in one supposed Air Force helmet (light grey-blue) is a mystery !

"Gd - RW" stands for Gendarmerie - Rijkswacht (Police force with military status; now disbanded). "EVL" is unknown!
Usually, the Gendarmerie used dark blue helmets without national flag. It could be test helmets. But no evidence till now!

Regards

Thierry