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Soviet ShZ helmet

Article about: Received this ShZ-58 winter helmet today. It's unusual in that it's brand new, unissued, and still in the box after having sat in a warehouse in the Ukraine since 1960. At some stage it's be

  1. #1

    Default Soviet ShZ helmet

    Received this ShZ-58 winter helmet today. It's unusual in that it's brand new, unissued, and still in the box after having sat in a warehouse in the Ukraine since 1960.
    At some stage it's been re-packed, as it came with the user manual for the later Sh-78 series and an LA-5 laryngophone.

    This is the helmet that was a further development of the ShL-50, re-designed to accomodate the advent of the first occipital bladder pressure compensator (externally worn) and the first wholly Soviet pressure demand mask, the KM-30.



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    Side view showing the mask attachment setup.

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    Rear view. The bladder fastens externally via loops held in place by the helmet strap press studs.
    All up, with the occipital bladder and mask attached, it was a very clumsy arrangement. I'm sure the pilots wouldn't have missed it one bit when it's successor was introduced.

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    The dog hair lining is as good as the day it was made, 54 years ago.
    Rover would be proud.

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    I've got an identical, unissued one arriving next week, along with an unissued ShZ-50 from the same source.
    I can post a photo when they arrive if anyone's interested in this sort of stuff.


    Cheers, Willie.

  2. #2
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    Nice bit of kit.
    Hope the pilot wasnt allergic to dogs (dont think they had hypoallergenic Labradoodles in the USSR back then).

    Layngophone - sounds like a weird Spike Jones musical instrument, LOL

    Yes, please post pics of more kit.

  3. #3

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    You can see alot of points copied from the German ww2 flying helmet , interesting dog hair lining

  4. #4

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    Quote by kradman View Post
    You can see alot of points copied from the German ww2 flying helmet , interesting dog hair lining
    Yes, they certainly show their ancestry. The top mask attachment hook is near identical to some WW2 Russian helmets, and German as well, I think.

    One reason the 4 pin comm plug was copied directly from the German helmets was so they could use captured helmets in Russian planes. It's the same plug that was still in production in the 90's. I don't have any German helmets to test the electronics on, but the Russian helmets, post 1950, all had 1600 ohm speakers to give a combined 3200 ohms. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has put a multimeter on the WW2 German helmets to see if they were the same back then.

    They copied the German continuous flow O2 masks for a while as well. I guess it's the ultimate compliment of the German engineering, that everyone wanted to copy it.

    Cheers, Willie.

  5. #5
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    They copied Luftwaffe fighter joysticks as well, lots of Mig 15 examples being 'adjusted' and sold as Me109/Fw 190. Interesting helmet, would love to see more.

  6. #6

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    Quote by Scout View Post
    Nice bit of kit.
    Hope the pilot wasnt allergic to dogs (dont think they had hypoallergenic Labradoodles in the USSR back then).
    Funny you should mention Labradoodles, Scout. I've never found out what dogs donated their hides, but the likely contenders, the Moscow Water Dog and the Black Russian Terrier, both had similar wooly hair to the Labradoodle.

    I doubt they just rounded up stray mutts off the street, as there seems to be a certain amount of quality and consistency in the finished product. My main suspect is the now extinct Moscow Water Dog. It was a post war breed and bred only by the Red Star Kennels which was a state organization to provide working dogs for the armed services. It was a search and rescue dog that had a tendency to bite the people it was supposed to be saving, so maybe they decided to make hats out of them.

    Cheers, Willie.

  7. #7

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    Here's some photos of the mask/occipital bladder combination that the helmet was originally modified for. This helmet isn't the one in the original post; it's the same model but has seen extensive useage and wear.


    This has the PO-1M goggles fitted along with a KM-30M mask and pressure compensating bladder.

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    Rear view showing the occipital bladder strapped into place.

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    L.H. view showing the small air hose connecting the mask and bladder. The KM-30 differed from later masks in that it had no provision for an internal microphone which would normally be visible from this side.

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    Front view showing the main features of the mask.

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    The rubber bladder usually only inflated during high 'G' loads, when extra pressure would be fed into the mask. Without a compensating bladder, the higher pressure would be subject to leakage where the mask seals to the pilot's face. Basically the mask's internal pressure increases to a point where it diverts out the bladder's supply hose and inflates the bladder. Because the mask straps are attached to the bladder, they tighten up and provide a better mask seal enabling higher pressures to be acheived.

    As far as collectability goes, this setup is a bit on the harder side to find, due to the limited number of years it was in production.

    Cheers, Willie.

  8. #8

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    Here's some photos of the ShZ-50 that arrived yesterday, also in new unissued condition.
    It's dated 1957, so it was one of the later production runs of the ShZ-50 helmet.


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    It's a funny game, collecting. Just when you think it's getting a bit quiet on the Western Front, up pop little gems like these. In a few years of collecting these helmets, I've never heard of, and never seen any unissued examples of these two models for sale. They even smell new.
    It's quite common to find unissued ShL/ShZ-78's and 82's, but not these ones from the 50's.


    Cheers, Willie.

  9. #9

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    Congratulations on your finds, and Yes, items always seem to pop up when you are least expecting them.

    Always a nice feeling when they do!

  10. #10

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    Quote by Allegra View Post
    Congratulations on your finds, and Yes, items always seem to pop up when you are least expecting them.

    Always a nice feeling when they do!
    Thanks, Allegra. I research these fairly seriously, as well as the collecting side of it, so it's a bit of a double benefit.
    Another link in the chain, so to speak.

    Cheers, Willie.

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