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M33 RSI Navy helmet

Article about: Hi here are a few pics of my M33. the shell is stamped to the rear M.R.M, and only just noticed while taking pictures outside in the sun that the chin strap has a little ink stamp with what

  1. #11


    Busman, I didn't state your helmet is 100% postwar, but instead that not every M33 with anchor WITHOUT crown is a '43 - '45 rsi Navy helmet.
    These helmets were in use (not only in storage) way after the end of the war, at least 'till late '90's and over, and, since the plain anchor was the symbol of the RSI Navy but also of the Republican, modern Navy, it's not easy to say for sure if the helmet is a pre '45 specimen or not.
    About stencils, pre and post war, there are many, even more than one for the same arsenal. Yours is actually very similar to some (see the pic below) crowned, in use pre 8/9/43 (and after the armistice in south Italy, where the Italian Navy was still 'royal'), but frankly, by the pics above, I'm not able to discerne the hand made "correction" of the crown: and this job would involve not only the yellow but also the green paint.
    Anyway, again, it's hard to state if that job would have been made in '43 or after the war, when tens of thousands of m33's, still bearing the crown, have been "de-monarchized" and reissued in service as Republican Navy helmets.
    About the paint (and stencils): these two M33 came from the same arsenal (La Maddalena), but as you can see, the paint is very different (the first one matches in colour the one you have) and different are the anchors.
    Consider that the second one is an almost mint specimen, not messed in any way, with all the war period features (rivets, liner, chinstrap and rectangular chinstrap rings)... I wish I could be sure that it is a genuine RSI specimen, but I'm not.

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  2. #12


    A question busman: is your anchor a decal or stencil painted?

  3. #13


    The two helmets you show are to me definitely post war, going by the stencils and the stencil shown on its own is a war time stencil,the anchor even without taking the crown into account in totally different.

  4. #14


    Also the paint colour of the first is post war green,it definitely does not match my example.

  5. #15


    I didn't introduce the two helmets as surely war time specimens; but, as for the green color, by the pics the first seems to me very close to your, while the second has the war time "gray green"... And the other features mentioned above.
    About the anchors, below is a pic of some genuine war time, RSI specimens, exposed in a museum here in Italy: as you can see, the one in the middle bears an anchor very close to the two I posted above.
    I asked you if your anchor is a decal, because that design is typical of the crowned decals (and not stencils) used by the Royal Navy.

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  6. #16


    here are a both my navy helmets with closer shots of the anchors
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  7. #17


    Ok, nice shots busman.
    Now, for what I can see, you have two war time decals (not stencils!), with the crown erased and some paint job on it to add the "ring" (maybe my eyes, but in the first one it looks to me there are traces of the crown).
    By the decal, production code, rivets and chinstrap, I'm pretty sure you have a nice, war time Regia Marina helmet.
    The question is still the same: when that job has been done.
    Actually the RSI Navy used also leftover sheets of Royal Navy decals (with crown removed), but on some pics i've seen, they didn't add the shackle (ring). Around May '44, they also started to apply a shield with national colors on the right side (but not always).
    So, as I stated above, with these helmets it is very hard to be 100% sure about their fascist Navy issue, because the decal could have been either used or reworked post war, as for the stencils (there are many versions, some unnoticeable if war time or post).
    To add confusion, our Navy reworked (or simply used, if already anchor devoided) old helmets in storage, but also produced helmets using old war time leftover components: for example, the grayish specimen I posted has chinstrap, rivets, chinstrap rings and shell (stamped P2, early Pignone factory production) from WWII period: but is minty.
    I wish to clarify the only purpose of my posts: just be careful with Navy m33; while a crowned one will be 99,9% genuine, one without crown could be a post war specimen. Keep also in mind that the RSI helmets were much more scarcer than those issued by Regia Marina.

  8. #18


    many thanks for the info and advice,i have certainly learnt from this post about the m33 and the decals. i will still keep them in my collection with just a little less certainty of their ww2 heritage.

  9. #19


    Not meaning to highjack this thread.
    While doing some cataloguing of my helmets tonight I had a good look at my navy M33 helmet again and came across this thread.
    Anyway I thought my one originally had P43 stamped on the back of the shell. But on close examination it has P4 and a crowned anchor. Never seen this before does any of your helmets above have a stamp like this?. Is this unusual? and could this be a sign that this one may have been a reworked period ww2 helmet. It has been repainted while the liner has been in place using the same shade of green as what’s on the inside of the dome.
    Here is a link to my original thread.
    M33 opinions please
    many thanks
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  10. #20


    Well... P should stand for Pignone factory. This facility was almost destroyed by a bombing raid in '44, and didn't produce helmets any more after its rebuild. The highest lot number known is around 280, so your should be an early production, and yes, the small anchor has already been seen on WWII M33's (not only associated with P code, it is believed to be a specific lot for the Navy).
    About the erased symbol, it could be a rank insignia; while about the painting, it's hard to judge from the pics; any way, rivets and chinstrap look good to me.

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