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Polish prewar helmet liners and paint colour

Article about: Hi. I'm attempting to recreate a Polish M16/M17 helmet as used by the 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade (the Black Brigade). This was the only functional Polish mechanized brigade in 1939 and w

  1. #1

    Question Info needed on Polish prewar helmet liners and paint colour - with photo

    Hi. I'm attempting to recreate a Polish M16/M17 helmet as used by the 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade (the Black Brigade). This was the only functional Polish mechanized brigade in 1939 and was the basis for the Polish 1st Armoured Division in the west.

    I've managed to find out that the Poles used both the German and the Austrian M16/M17 helmets (no real surprise there). However these helmets are a little bit different in chinstraps and liners. Did the Poles use the same liners and chinstraps as originally produced by the Germans and Austrians? Its also possible that the Poles made new liners and chinstraps or used the ones for made for their own helmet designs (Wz 31). I just don't know. I was informed that there were upgrades to the M16/M17 liners in the interwar period.

    So... does anyone have any info or pics of the liners as used by the Poles? Here is a photo of the helmets in use by the Polish brigade in 1938.



    Also I need to match the paint colour as used on Polish helmets (I have an Finnish Army Austrian M17 that will serve as my Polish helmet for my display). Does anyone have a recommendation on a modern paint that matches the colour of Polish helmets used in the 2nd Republic? Thanks.
    Last edited by dastier; 12-05-2011 at 12:32 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Polish prewar helmet liners and paint colour?

    In Jerzy Majka's book it mentions that in 1938 the 10th Cavalry Brigade was issued German M16s and some Austrian M17s that were in storage at the Central Ordnance Depot (Glowna Skladnica Uzbrojenia) since the end of WW1. Photos of these helmets appear to have German chinstraps.

    However I know that the later Polish helmets had a different chinstrap and Austrian M17s that I have seen had a cloth chinstrap. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be any photos of Austrian M17s in Majka's book.

    Anyone have anymore info to contribute? Did the Poles upgrade the liners in the interwar period? Still need info for a paint match for my restoration project.
    Last edited by dastier; 12-06-2011 at 05:06 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Polish prewar helmet liners and paint colour?

    The good folks at War Relics are helping out...

    From Greg Pickersgill in the Steel Helmets forum...

    Quote by Greg Pickersgill View Post
    I have had a response from my Polish friend - and it would appear that the liners of these helmets were not systematically replaced, but that at some point the chinstraps were replaced by the same type as used in the Wz.31. That's going to be easy to get, isn't it!
    So it appears that the Poles did replace the German and Austrian chin straps on the M16/M17 helmets. And that the liners were replaced as needed. NB. From Majka's book 'Invincible Black Brigade' the M16/M17 were not issued to the 10th BK until 1938.

    For photos of the Wz 31 and its chin straps I would like to thank meyle77 and Tony...

    Quote by meyle77 View Post
    Check out this link for some photos of the wz.31 helmets - http://www.helmy.w8w.pl/polski%20wz.31.htm
    As well as where to get a repro Wz.31 chinstrap:

    Quote by meyle77 View Post
    Chin strap was made by Armian so check them out.
    Quote by A.J. Zawadzki View Post
    Chin strap: PODPINKA DO HE
    ... and specifics for the paint colour:

    Quote by meyle77 View Post
    As to the paint, there is and was discussion about Salamandra and colour matching on Polish Odkrywca forum and the results vary. In general colour needs to be mixed and application of cork is not easy. The off the shelf paint would olive drab but it is not 100% match. The proper colour is Bronze green, RAL 6031 (RGB:73,87,70 decimal).
    Quote by A.J. Zawadzki View Post
    It appears from the photo in post #1 and from Majka's book that the M16/M17s in the 10th BK were not painted with the Salamandra mat paint. I now have the specifics to match the colour of my FAKE M17 helmet to the original colour of a Polish M17 as used by the 10th BK.

    Thank you gentlemen!
    Last edited by dastier; 12-11-2011 at 01:12 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Polish prewar helmet liners and paint colour

    Dastier, thank you for updating this thread for us

    Regards,
    Tony
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  5. #5

    Default Re: Polish prewar helmet liners and paint colour

    FYI for anyone that interested here are pics of my Finnish use Austrian M17 that I plan to restore as a FAKE Polish M17.

    If anyone can provide info on the liner and chin strap that would be most appreciated. I'd like to know if the liner is indeed Finnish or original to the Austrian shell and possibly the date of manufacture. (ie WW1, preWW2, WW2, or post WW2) Same for the chin strap. (I'm pretty sure its not Austrian) Thanks.

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Polish prewar helmet liners and paint colour

    As far as i know nobody in Poland is not yet producing good replicas of liners. Those from allegro to wz.31 helmet are not really the best copies. The quality is always not good enough. There is also problem with original helmets - there is always some level of uncertainty if helmet is really an original one from 10th cavalry or it was converted to only look like one. I do not own an original one and to be honest never have seen 100% pure original. There are always doubts ... so it's difficult to judge on known helmets which one could be used as a base pattern to creating a modern copy ... anyway - maybe those two pics will be helpfull - source "Archeologia Wojskowa" magazine.

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Polish prewar helmet liners and paint colour

    Just to make myself clear - my helmet is an Austrian M17 shell described as being used by the Finns.

    As far as I know Austrian M17 helmets originally had cloth chin straps so this one is a replacement. But is it Finnish and when?

    This helmet is not in pristine condition so it will be the basis for my FAKE Polish M17 for my 10th BK display. I have already found out that the Poles replaced the chin strap utilizing the wz 31 chin strap and that liners were not systematically replaced. But I certainly would like to use an original Austrian liner or at least one that's not post war. I can't see the Finns replacing a liner during WW2 unless it was absolutely needed. You can see that the helmet was refurbished at one time - it has stainless steel rivets holding the liner to the shell. But whether or not it is an original liner or what the date is, that what I'd like to know. It is different from the 1950s Finnish liners that I have seen.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Polish prewar helmet liners and paint colour

    BTW Pat ...that is a nice photo of the Sokol motorcycle. Would you mind posting them in the Sokol thread? I'm assuming its an reenactor with an authentic Sokol.

    I do like his uniform. How much is authentic and how much is a reproduction. Would you be able to provide details of the leather coat (ie dimensions, where to get repro buttons, size of the epaulettes, etc - I'm going to need to alter a leather coat for my display). Thanks.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Polish prewar helmet liners and paint colour

    If i remember corectly that was all original items and the photo session was arranged specialy for this article. Unfortunately it was made in early 90's so there is no chance to getting more informations about details. It was published in "Archeologia Wojskowa" no.1 from june 1992 in article about Sokol 1000 by Jan Tarczynski.

    Here is another example from one of museums in Warsaw:
    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #10

    Default Re: Polish prewar helmet liners and paint colour

    Thanks Pat. I do notice some differences between the coat from the museum and the one from "Archeologia Wojskowa". Do you know if there was local variations from manufacturer to manufacturer or were there detailed army/government requirements for the manufacturers to follow? For example the shoulder epaulettes on the museum coat seem to go past the edge of the shoulder. Also the length of the museum coat goes past the knees whereas the one in "Archeologia Wojskowa" seems to stop at the knees or slightly above. (shorter for motorcyclists?). Also the strap on the sleeve seems higher on the motorcyclist's coat though it may just be pushed up by his gauntlets. This may seem picky but if I'm going to alter a modern leather coat for my display I want to get it right. Thanks.

    PS. perhaps we need someone to post a thread on the black leather coat used by the 10th BK.

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