Sunday, March 26, 2017

Italy m. 1915/16 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.



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