Friday, May 6, 2016

United Kingdom airborne forces mk.II combat helmet


Members of the British 16th Parachute Brigade during "Operation Musketeer", Suez, 1956.

The Luftwaffe was an early entrant to the airborne realm with their first operation against Denmark in April 1940.  It wasn't until October of 1941, a year and a half later that the British airborne arm was operational.
The design of the mk.II was clearly influenced of the German Fallschirmjäger helmet.
The mk.II airborne helmet was introduced in late 1942. 
Made of manganese steel it weighed just over three pounds.

 Ovoid in shape, it came in two sizes.
The mk.II shell was repurposed as a dispatch rider's helmet, and armored vehicle crewman's helmet, and was utilized by the Royal Navy well into the 1980s. 


 The three-point chinstrap provided a great deal of stability though it did not allow for a particularly quick release or wide range of adjustment of the chin cup.



 The rim is finished with a folded, non-magnetic strip.
This shell was produced by the British firm - Briggs Motor Bodies
and was manufactured in 1953.

 The ovoid shape is apparent from above.

 Thick sponge rubber provides a firm cushion between the shell and the wearer's head.

Anyone familiar with the US M1 helmet recognizes the Riddell-style suspension.  This simple method of adjustment could make the shell sit higher or lower on the head.

 The leather headband is of high quality, and in this example, manufactured by the
 London firm of Christy & Co. Ltd in 1953.

The liner, and chinstrap bails are attached by three screws.  Also visible is the rough, non-reflective, finish of the shell.

The bails are quite robust, as is the webbing of the chinstrap.

 Square brass ferrules are riveted to the ends of the straps.

 The intersecting web straps encompass a brown-dyed chin cup worn rough side in.

The sponge-rubber shock absorber is about an inch thick.

British paratroopers operating in the Suez, 1956.


The mk.II paratrooper helmet was also used by Israeli forces.


A British paratrooper of the Second World War.

An altogether handsome helmet and a welcome addition to the collection.
See you next time with another cool helmet!

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