Friday, January 20, 2017

Denmark m.1923 combat helmet

Great Danes

Danish Queen Margarethe

Danish author Hans Christian Andersen

Danish author Karen Blixen

 Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard

Danish prince Hamlet

Danish idiot

And my favorite Dane of all...

the m. 1923 steel combat helmet.

This is the helmet worn by the Danish army on April 9, 1940 when
Germany overwhelmed Denmark.

The invasion unfolded so rapidly that Denmark didn't have time to declare war on Germany.  Danish military resistance was limited though spirited with the Danes knocking out many German armored cars and disabling a few tanks; the military resistance however lasted no more than six hours.  This was one of the shortest armed invasions of the war.  In all between 13 and 49 Danes were killed; sources vary widely but the number is generally agreed upon as 16. 

With this, Denmark was occupied by the Germans until the end of the war. 

Now for the walk around of the m.1923:

The profile of this helmet is one of the most distinctive and unusual of the interwar period.

The deep side skirts had a detrimental effect on the peripheral vision of the wearer.

Weighing at 3.4 lbs, this was one of the heaviest helmets of the war.

Made of Swedish steel, the 1.5 mm-thick plate this helmet provided very good protection.

Affixed to the front of the helmet is an oxidized brass badge of the Danish coat of arms
which was introduced in 1819.

The slot on the rear of the helmet allowed the helmet to be secured to the backpack
when in marching order.

The leather of the liner is of particularly high quality as is the
workmanship of the entire helmet.  The vertical slits at the lower edge of the leather
provided ventilation.

The eight fingers of the liner are gathered and adjusted by a leather thong which is passed
through brass grommets.  The significance of the crisply stamped numeral 3
is unknown to me.

The initials of the wearer are penciled onto the leather.

Split pins affix the liner band to the shell.

A brass plate riveted to the liner band notes the manufacturer as well as the serial number
of this particular helmet; another nod to the high quality of manufacture.

Flexible bales affix the chinstrap to the liner band.

A very robust brass buckles secures the high quality chinstrap.

The m. 1923 in action:

The Danish m. 1923; a favorite of the collection.

Although the military resistance to the Germans was limited it should be known that the Danes put up a spirited civilian resistance to the Germans, and that the Danish underground rescued and evacuated 8,000 of the 8,500 Danish Jews to safety.

In all, some 850 members of the Danish resistance died at the hands of the Germans.

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


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Finland m.35-38 combat helmet

 This is the second Hungarian 35-38 I've collected and you can see
the earlier installment  here. This Hungarian lid is one of the 75,000 which
saw service with the Finnish army.

 Finnish soldiers with imported Hungarian helmets.

This is a fine example of a Hungarian M35-38 which was refurbished into Finnish army service; it is an obvious copy of the German m.40 helmet.

Differences from the German m.40 include the rivet placement...

and the small bracket on the rear skirt.

This bracket was used to fasten the helmet on to the soldier's backpack while on the march.

The bracket is attached with two rivets.

Unlike the German m.40 the three exterior rivets are bolstered by washers.

As with the German m.35 the ventilator is a separate piece, passing through the shell and peened over beneath. (Thanks to Bill Magowan for pointing this out to me)

The liner is distinctly Finnish.

Brass split pins affix the shell to the liner band and the liner fingers are sewn to the heavy leather band, very similar to the German M.16.

The liner size is ink-stamped on the liner band.  The high-quality of the leather
is evident in this photo.

Of similar quality is the chinstrap connected by rivets to the shell by stout D rings.

The high-quality leather fingers of the liner are gathered by a cord passing
through metal grommets.

A very simple iron buckle graces the chinstrap.

Only one mark is stamped into shell under the rear skirt.

Now for some pictures of the m.35-38 in action:

A video of the Hungarian helmet in action here (with a nice view at 1:25)

In both photos above Finnish soldiers are wearing both the m.35-38 as well as the m.40.

The M35-38 served from 1936 well in to the Cold War, seeing two decades of service both with Hungarian forces and later in the livery of Finland.   German design, Hungarian manufacture, Finnish service; this is a well-travelled helmet.

An altogether handsome and well made helmet.

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