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M33 Helmet and Cover Identification Help

Article about: So I was looking around a local antique shop today and this M33 helmet for sale caught my eye. The seller (who has a very good reputation for being legit) told me that it was an original fro

  1. #1

    Default M33 Helmet and Cover Identification Help

    So I was looking around a local antique shop today and this M33 helmet for sale caught my eye. The seller (who has a very good reputation for being legit) told me that it was an original from the Second World War, and that it was used in combat (how he could tell, I do not know). I took some photos and was wondering if you lads could give me any information about it. I noticed that in the back it has a wee stamp that read "B84."

    Here's a link to some photos I took

    M33 Italian Helmet and Mystery Cover - Album on Imgur

    It also came with a strange camouflage cover over it. I tried looking up some information on it but I couldn't find anything. To me it looks like it fits the helmet, and I thought maybe it was one of the covers the RSI boys would wear, but as you can see in the last image of the album it has a cord that looks fairly modern built into it. This makes me suspect that it's much more new, or if it is authentic it was restored in some manner.
    Any info?
    Thanks for all your help boys

  2. #2
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    I'm posting your pics - so this thread won't be useless later on...

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  3. #3

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    Hi welcome to the forum, I know the drill so here goes ... can you post the pictures on this site, as when the images get deleted off the hosting site we have no record for other collectors trying to improve their knowledge.

    How to here:

    New picture posting feature - How to guide !

    I'll add the images now:
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    Second this site has an excellent search facility, putting in M33, I got this with loads of advice and pointers:

    Italian M33 Helmet

    Heres an extract from Greg Pickersgill reply:
    Here are some notes, extracted from a website (presently offline) by Italian collector Michele Tagliavini - which should clarify a number of points. NB Michele prefaces his guide by saying "It sounds like a straightforward question, but with a helmet like the Italian M 33 answers are never unequivocal, especially if we keep in mind that it has been in service for over 60 years. Despite, a series of details can put us on the right track and give us a pretty precise definition, even though we often have to rely on experience, intuition and good luck rather than on precise documentation."

    The shell

    It has remained unchanged over the years, but different colours help us in identifying the era. In the first period the paint was the typical Regio Esercito grey-green, changed to a darker shade after 1936, until 1945(2). Specialty branch emblems(3) were stencilled in black on the front of the helmet, but one can easily find helmets of the same period without any on. Possibly in 1946-8, after the Italian Republic was born, the new army adopted a khaki-brown-reddish paint for the helmet, soon changed to a more greenish shade, which remained in service from the early 1950's to 1975. Front stencils have basically remained the same: the royal crown was eliminated or substituted by the castle-like "turrita" crown, as can easily be seen in the Navy emblem.Front stencils for the army were abolished in 1969 and one can find helmets re-painted khaki with the branch emblem still visible underneath the new coat of paint. In 1975 the helmet colour changed to olive green. Different shades can be found, especially on older helmets that have been repainted at army barracks.

    The leather liner

    Up to the end of the war it can be (sometimes stamped and dated) in shades going from dark brown to pale yellow, almost white, while post-war liners are generally yellow. The seam in the back is strengthened by two parallel rows of stitches, perpendicular to it. These two rows can be joined by a third slanted one, forming therefore a Z. Metal grommets can be found at the top of the leather leaves in the eyelets where the leather string goes through. Therefore "Z" stitching and metal grommets are characteristics that we don't find only on post-war helmets, as sometimes it is believed, although it is true that they were standardised on more recent liners.

    The chinstrap

    From 1933 to 1945 the chinstrap was made of grey-green leather, in two pieces with prong buckle and attached to the D rings by two rivets on each side. One can find specimens stamped on one or both sides. Probably well into the 1950's the chinstrap hasn't changed, on the contrary, it is logical to assume that huge wartime surplus has been used and generally one can find greygreen chinstrap re-painted khaki. Between the end of the 1950's and the 1960's a new canvas chinstrap was introduced: in one single piece, sand coloured and riveted on one side, it had a khaki sliding buckle. Beginning from 1975 buckle and chinstrap were coloured olive green.

    The chinstrap attaching metal strips

    Almost unchanged for the whole period, until 1945 we often find them stamped with a number or lettering (AT for example) under a royal crown. The ring to which the chinstrap is riveted is rectangular and painted greygreen. The only difference with post-war rings is that the colour bacame khaki. After the introduction of the new chinstrap, the ring became trapezium-shaped and its colour became olive green after 1975.

    As for the cover, that is definitely not a WW2 cord, as its nylon by the looks of it.

    So now to wait for the real experts
    "Per Ardua"

  4. #4

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    Fabe beat me to it
    "Per Ardua"

  5. #5

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    Sorry for not posting the photos guys, I'm new here and didn't know. But thank you so much! I didn't expect such helpful replies so soon!

  6. #6

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    Hi; I do like the helmet, that seems an original early WW2 production. There we have first type rivets, correct chinstrap and liner (except for the string), and I bet also period paint (the pics provided are not the best to judge). Would be nice to have a couple of pics of internal rivets and chinstrap "rings".
    As already stated, the cover seems to me a postwar one, having a synthetic string and weird mimetic colors.

  7. #7

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    Thanks for the info! I tried finding some natural lighting and took some more photos. I think I got some of the internal rivets, but I'm not certain.

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  8. #8

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    Ok, you have an original, early or even pre war M33 helmet. Paint, rivets, chinstrap, chinstrap squared rings and liner are all correct. About the internal pic of the rivets, you can see that they are fixed with 2 "flaps", and this is a good thing ;-)

  9. #9

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    Cool! Thanks so much for your help!

  10. #10

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    You're welcome; glad to be helpful

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