Thursday, April 22, 2021

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By the way,  If you ever have the need to contact me, my email address is:



Friday, January 29, 2021

Spain:Spanish Legion M1 airborne combat helmet

The Empire of Spain and Craig VanderBright - football hero.


So, trwo years ago I went to the 50th class reunion of my old high school graduating class.  It was great seeing old (old) faces, and catching up.  Many of the attendees were classmates that, as a kid, I had never been in the same orbit as...that included the star quarterback of the football team - Craig VanderBright.  Craig, in his salad-days was powerfully built, of supreme athletic prowess, a known Casanova, and a notorious bully.

Craig was the terror and tormentor of underclassmen and classmates, alike.  If he saw something he wanted, he merely took it, pencils, hats, jackets...girlfriends.    In my mind I voted him "student most likely to be indicted by age thirty."

Well, imagine my surprise, and unveiled delight, when, at the reunion, I saw Craig VanderBright, stooped, bald, fat, with the remnants of cake on his chin and most of a spilled drink down the front of his shabby shirt.  As I got closer, I found that he was drunkenly lamenting his four bankruptcies, three failed marriages, and chronic toenail fungus.
 I handed him a second piece of cake...extra frosting.

As goes Craig VanderBright, so goes the Empire of Spain.
One has only to look at the Americas to see the VanderBright-like ruthlessness Spain used to build her Empire.  And, one only has to look at the Spanish place names of the world to see the global reach of Spain at the height of her glory.

Well by 1975, that was all pretty much over, and a paunchy, fat, and much divorced Spain was left among the former colonial football stars, with cake on her face.

Today, the tatters of the flag of the Empire of Spain exist only in five, tiny, plazas de spberania (places of sovereignty) off the African coastline. 

As with the mighty do fall.

That preamble, brings us to this installment's very cool helmet - a Spanish Legion M1 paratrooper's helmet from the period of the Ifni war of 1957-58, one of the last embers of a dying empire in the Sahara desert

 Hut, two, three, four...Spain's elite airborne forces on the way to the Sahara.

In a nutshell, and very generally, at the height of the anti-colonial movement in Africa, Moroccan freedom fighters were making raids into the Spanish Western Sahara. The elite Spanish Legion airborne battalion was called in to bolster Spanish army forces.  The struggle culminated in the siege of Ifni, a Spanish enclave within the borders of Morocco.  It ended in a nominal Spanish victory, but it also made clear that Spain's days in Africa were coming to an ignominious end, and sooner rather than later.

This Spanish airborne helmet is a reconfigured US M1 helmet of the Second World War.

Conceptionally, the harness and suspension design is nearly identical to the American version, though with different materials and attachment points.

The chinstrap bails of two war-time McCord shells are pictured above.  The Spanish-service helmet featured in the post is at the top.  Note the uniformity and precision of the fasteners, the robust wire of the bail, and its rectangular shape; also note the rim.  Compare, now, with the Spanish-made M1 clone below.

Compared to the McCord model, this bail fastener is quite shabby, and folded differently, the metal is cut imprecisely, the spot-welds are shallow and off-center, and the square bail is made of lighter wire.  Also note that the Spanish clone was manufactured without a rim.

In October and November, respectively, two significant changes were made in the production of the US M1 shell; the stainless-steel rim (which as the photo demonstrates, did not adhere paint well) was changed to the same metal as the shell, and the rim seam was moved from the front of the shell to the rear.

That this shell has a stainless-steel rim, and a rear seam suggests, to me at least, that this is a late-war shell, and the stock of stainless rims was being expended in making the new rear-seam shells.

McCord Helmet shells have a steel shell lot number stamped under the visor brim.  When this particular example was remanufactured by Spain, it was stripped down to bare metal and the typical sage/olive paint of Spanish helmets was brushed on in a fairly heavy-handed way, the result, unfortunately, is that the lot number is completely obscured with only parts of two numerals barely visible.

The liner is a war-time Westinghouse that has been completely stripped of all original suspension components and replaced with the Spanish-configured suspension.

Above, is the Westinghouse liner retrofitted with Spanish airborne suspension, compared to a war-time Westinghouse US airborne liner below. 

A Westinghouse imprint appears in the dome of the liner.

Although the Riddell-style suspension is nearly identical to the original American, 
the webbing material is entirely different. 

The "A" washers and alligator spring fasteners are nearly identical to the American versions. Note that the head-band adjustment buckle is more robust than the American version.

All buckles are entirely dissimilar from the American version. And were the American version's shell chinstrap fastened to the liner with snaps, the Spanish version uses buckles.

Compare the Spanish-configured Westinghouse airborne above with the American, Westinghouse airborne, below.  Note the two vacant rivet holes in the Spanish version, indicating a slightly different suspension attachment scheme than that of the American,

Above, the Spanish. Below, the American.


Another really nice helmet, that I'm pleased to add to the collection and to share with you.

As always, corrections and clarifications from you are always welcome in the comments.

By the way, if there's a helmet, or a series of helmets that you'd suggest I make a video about, I'd be happy to hear from you.

I'll see you next time with another cool helmet from the collection.

Your pal,


Thursday, January 7, 2021

 Hi gang,

I was just scrolling down the facebook page of a helmet group that I belong to, and I found a question from a member, it was a simple question which he was asking in all honesty.  He was met with some derision by some other members for asking such a fundamental question.  I thought that that was unfair.

Coincidentally, I just uploaded this video today, which I forwarded to speaks directly to his question.

I hope it helps him.

Anyhoo, now in my retirement, I'm able to turn my attention to making videos more often, and here is the fruit of the past week. I hope you enjoy it.


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

 Hello everyone.

I have had many people asking me for another video, and now that I'm retired I have a lot more time to produce them.  I hope that you enjoy this one, and please know that there are two more being edited, and they will be posted sometime in January.

Welcome to the helmet collection: with Mannie Gentile - YouTube

Have a happy and HEALTHY new year!