Friday, August 21, 2015

France m.1915 engineer's combat helmet

If this helmet could talk...actually, it does. 

Stick with me to the end on this one.

A great merci beaucoup to friend Matthieu Gall of France for patiently providing me with information on the regiments of engineers as well as his wonderful translations, which you will encounter presently.

Previous entries to this blog have made it pretty clear that the m.1915 Adrian is my favorite type of helmet; I have thirteen in my collection, five of which are French.  I decided enough is enough and that I had a representative grouping of them and I could taper down on my addiction.  But then I saw this particular piece on ebay.

I'm so glad that I decided to backslide.  This helmet has such a magically cool story and has become my hands-down favorite of the collection.

Come share my admiration with this close-up examination of the m.1915 engineers helmet
 of the Great War

(You can also access my video on Adrians  here)

The French m. 1915 "Adrian" helmet was the US M1 of its day as it was copied by so many nations for such a long period of time.  Countries which used or emulated the Adrian include:

Albania, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Cuba, Dahomey-Benin, Ireland, Finland, Greece, Italy, Japan, Yugoslavia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, The Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia and the Soviet Union, Thailand, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Uruguay, and The United States of America.

There's a lot in this helmet to admire.  Let's take a closer look.

For a general overview of general Adrians gift to the general soldiery see my earlier post here.

Side view, showing both the distinctive profile of this beautiful helmet and , at the same time, exposing its inherent weaknesses. The helmet consists of four separate parts: front visor, rear visor, bowl, and crest. Both visors have a folded edge providing adding strength though each seam and rivet represents a weak point - a place of potential failure.

The distinctive crest of the Adrian was more than simply decorative...

It was slotted on the sides and it covered a hole in the crown of the shell, the positive air flow provided ventilation, and, one hopes, a little more comfort for the wearer.

Rivets fasten the front and rear visors.

Split pins secure the crest.

      Regiments of engineers - "genie" were formed after 1914, prior to that time they were known as the "sapeur" but by the Great War the genie was a regular part of the army.  The engineers were responsible for destroying the barbed wire entanglements of the enemy, laying and connecting field telephone lines, digging tunnels, digging trenches, and constructing bridges and fortifications. They were lightly armed.

The flanged seam where the bowl joins the visors.

The chinstrap bail is flexible and is an extension of one of the metal prongs upon which
the liner is secured.

The terminal end of the chinstrap is fastened with a split pin.

The goatskin leather chinstrap is adjusted with a simple slider-buckle. Traces of the original black paint are still in evidence.  

Brass eyelets in the sheepskin-leather liner for the adjusting ribbon.

The manufacturer's mark: Les Establissements Duperyon in Paris.  Of all of my Adrian' this is the only one with such a mark.

The corrugated spacers between the shell and the liner are a typical feature of many helmets of the era.  This spacing, along with the vented crest,  provided ventilation and was critical in keeping a denting blow from fracturing the skull of the wearer.

Now, check this out...

What's this peeking out at me from this hole in the liner?

 Just as I insert folded-up brochures into the sweatband of my hat to make it fit better, so too did the poilou who wore this helmet, using a sheet of newspaper to make it fit more snugly

What a delightful surprise!

Monday, 9th December 1918
 Holy Leocadile
 Sunrise: 7.33 am; sunset: 3.53 pm
Moon: the 11; full the 17
Probable weather: rain
29th armistice day

"The 3rd US Army continuing to progress in Germany, reached today the general line Rupperath..."

Location disorder in Berlin

Ebert refused the presidency
Fights in the suburbs

It is still very difficult to draw a picture, even approximate, events that occurred in Berlin last Friday and derive its scope. It seems that the Spartacus group had wanted to overthrow the government agents of the Fulani, and he even held some of the strength in suburbs of the capital.
Bloody collision ensued. It was then that NCOs, sailors and soldiers from the front, hostile to the "extreme left" (=communist, marxist parties...), and can be inspired by the circles of the high command, have parades in the center of Berlin.

The information that their numbers are rather mediocre. Still, they ordered the imprisonment of the Executive Committee of workers and soldiers in the capital, committee revolutionary tendencies and they offered the presidency of the German Republic to Ebert.

We announced that former Chancelor become "representative of the people" had asked for time to think. It was initially believed that he had consulted with the protesters, but no certainty not formed in this regard. Zurich Gazette says he would have declined to ....
Ebert tried to calm troops. Spartacus group, which holding many meetings, was informed about all these events by persons who participated to assembly . Then, a procession was formed and went to the north of the city, next to the barracks, where it met a detachment of troops. Fierces gun battles broke out and protesters were dispersed by soldiers.

The ambassador of Spain said to the France that nine French war prisoners were assassinated in Germany in Langensalza camp and fifteen prisoners had serious injuries. The prisoners were executed at close range.  Two delegates from the Spanish embassy were sent to the camp to investigate this odious crime.

An account of the Marxist revolution in Germany and the fights between Spartacus group (Marxist) and the German army.  Some German regiments joined the marxist movement.
It is the birth of Weimar Republic.

President Wilson arrives at Brest escorted by US warships.

Bolcheviks are the only defenders
of Germany
said Mr Noulens, ambassador of France

Arkhangel, 8th December
Mr Noulens, ambassador of France, wanted, before leave Arkhangel, to visit French troops currently in service on the railway line of Vologda, to realize by himself, of their installation, of their needs  and to explain to soldiers the character of the mission that they still have to complete, to complete the work of their comrades of French front.

How to conduct the peace conference
Advice of Mr Balfour
New-York, 7th December
Interviewed by the representative of Associated Press at London, Mr Balfour has made known his point of view at the peace conference.
Mr Balfour believes that, this month, there will be at Paris, between the associated governments, just preliminaries interviews to the conference to be held at the beginning of next year.
At the conference, we will fix all the conditions....

A little art nouveau time capsule...

How cool is that?

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