Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mexico m.26 combat helmet


Mexico declared war on Germany in 1942 after two Mexican ships were torpedoed by German U-boats. With that ties between the Rio Grande neighbors became stronger as they faced off against a common enemy; indeed, a squadron of Mexican fighter planes - Escuadron 201 - fought alongside US Army Air Forces squadrons in the Philippines in 1945. Mexican citizens served not only in the Mexican National forces but there were many Mexicans who enlisted in the US armed forces for the duration of the war.  On the homefront, over 300,000 Mexican citizens entered the United States to work in defense plants, shipyards, and other strategic industries. 

Mexico was a true friend of the Estados Unidos.

To promote unity with our friends south of the border, Walt Disney, in 1944, produced the animated movie "The Three Caballeros" starring Donald Duck from the USA, Jose Carioca from Brazil, and Panchito Pistoles from Mexico.  This attempt at building good feelings between neighbors left us with a very peppy song sung by the trio which can be viewed here.  Feel free to sing along; it's pretty infectious.

Mexico adopted the French m.26 Adrian helmet for use by their armed forces in 1935.

When France became entangled in the war no more m.26 helmets were exported and Mexico produced its own version in which the rivets and split pins were replaced by spot-welding.  This example is of French manufacture.

 As with all Adrian helmets, the comb conceals the ventilation system. 
Air flows through slits at the base of the comb...

 and passes through holes at the crown of the shell. 
Note that the comb is affixed with split pins.

 Rivets pass through the shell...

 and attach the liner bracket.

 The liner, which is missing in this helmet, is attached by clips to four brackets.

What appear to be rivets affixing the comb...

 are actually split pins.

The chinstrap is connected to the shell by thin, rectangular, wire bails.

 The chinstrap is adjusted by two sliding buckles.

A small leather strap grommeted to the chinstrap forms a simple chincup.

Crossed rifles and an intersecting bugle is the insignia of the infantry.

Adios amigos y amigas!
I'll see you next time with another cool helmet from the collection.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Italy m.15/16 combat helmet (part two)

A Roman soldier walks into a bar, holds up two fingers and says: "Five beers please".

That's my Italian joke.

And here we have jolly Italians during the Great War wearing the m.15/16 steel helmet.

Obviously influenced by the French Adrian helmet, this attractive Italian manufactured gem, also known as the Lippmann helmet, simplified the construction process and eliminated many of the weaknesses of it's French progenitor. The Italian soldier of 1915 - 1916 had the next step in state-of-the-art helmet design.

This elegant improvement of the French Adrian design included a two-piece construction rather than the four-pieces of its French counterpart. Fewer pieces meant fewer points of failure when impacted by debris, fragments, or shrapnel.

The steel of the m.15/16 was slightly thicker than it's French cousin, providing 
slightly better ballistic characteristics.

I've often read that the crest on the Adrian-style helmet was to deflect saber blows.  I don't believe this for a moment.  The helmet design was based upon the French fireman's helmet. A fireman has many things to worry about, but a crazed bystander wielding a sword is seldom one of them.

This model did come in three sizes, the largest of which weighed 1.6 pounds.

Another improvement to the integrity of this helmet was the elimination of rivets. The French Adrian helmet was riveted together, each rivet providing a weak point. Note that the ventilator crest of this little Italian job is spot-welded, all rivets are eliminated on this helmet, giving it improved structural integrity over its French cousin.

As with the French model, slits in the base of the crest communicate an opening in the crown of the shell...

which allows for ventilation.

The rim has a folded edge.

There is no liner, though two of the corrugated spacers remain.  These shallow pieces of rippled metal are the only spacing between the shell and the skull of the wearer.  Compared to the German m.16 and the American m1917, this method looks primitive.

And now some photos of the m.15/16 in action.

I see a lot of knives in this picture...

it seems to be a theme.

See you next time with another cool helmet from the collection.