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Polish Para Helmet AT MK I/II

Article about: Ivan, I don't think this was a combat over paint, baring in mind that scrim nets seem to have been the order of the day whilst in combat. ... Noticing that most photo's taken at Driel show s

  1. #1

    Default Polish Para Helmet AT MK I/II

    Hello Everybody,
    I'm a newcomer on this forum. I would like to share with you some informations about helmet I owe and ask some questions, especially Gary. Last week I talked with GFC about my helmet and he told me that you can help me. Let start from begining. Around three years ago I bought on French Ebay AT MK II Polish para helmet. It have quite uncommon yellowish eagle stenciled from under outer layer of sandy paint and post war BMB liner (date rubbed, just size and BMB). On September I was in reopened Hartenstein Museum and I found there Polish para AT MK I helmet with same eagle as mine. So after return to Poland for the first time I removed liner and ..... surprise, mine is also AT MK I converted to AT MK II. Two back holes were welded or riveted, polished and painted from outside and the third one between them were drilled. Also I found sign - Y 95 (inside front, close to the rim). To compare I'm adding photos (with removed liner) of another AT MK I helmet in my possesion (Australia Ebay found, also very cheap) made G&S 1943 with sign Y 35 (inside front, close to the rim). My questions are:
    - Do you know something about these uncommon eagles?
    - How can I remove outer layer of paint without destroying Eagle?
    - Do you think that I can try to remove paint from left side looking for company or battalion sign?
    - Is it possible to establish helmet factory by signs Y 35 and Y 95, or what they mean (inspectors marks, no MOD arrow)?
    - What do you generally think about this helmet?
    Below is the list of pictures with descriptions:
    1. Hartenstein Museum one
    2. Mine converted helmet eagle '
    3. Mine converted helmet eagle "
    4. Mine helmet - two welded/riveted holes and drilled one (inside view)
    5. Back of mine helmet
    6. Left side of mine helmet
    7. Mine helmet upside down
    8. Sign Y 95 in mine converted
    9. Sign Y 35 in "Australia's" G&S 1943 helmet

    Regards,
    Matt
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  2. #2
    ?

    Default Re: Polish Para Helmet AT MK I/II

    Matt, ...
    Firstly, ... My I welcome you to the forum

    Your Helmet.
    You have an interesting helmet !
    The Style of Eagle, and the way it has been covered by the later paint is very similar to a few helmets I have seen, .. and I am happy that the eagle is original to the helmet.

    The next question, is whether the helmet was originally a Paratrooper helmet or a dispatch rider helmet.
    To check this, try placing a magnet against the rim of the helmet.
    A paratrooper shell will be NON magnetic, where as a Dispatch rider shell will have a magnetic rim.
    If the shell turns out to be a dispatch rider type, .. then I suspect that someone may have converted to take a para lining, as these are more desirable.

    Remember that Dispatch rider helmets were issued to the Brigade, .. possibly though in the early post war years in Germany. (1945 -1947).

    If the rim however is NON magnetic, there is a good chance that the helmet was a contemporary modified item.

    Anyhow, please try the test with the magnet, and we will take things from there ..

    As for trying to remove any further paint from the area of the Eagle, ... I would leave it as it is, .. as trying to clean it up will probably cause more damage, .. and the way the eagle was covered by the paint is infact a very good indicator of the eagle being original, .. and thus is part of the history of the helmet !.

    Regards

    Gary J.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Polish Para Helmet AT MK I/II

    Thank you very much Gary. I'll check it. But I think that dispatch rider helmets have more holes for aluminium liner band around and above the rim. I didn't noticed such ones from inside, onlu three existing and two welded, which are in the same distance as in my G&S helmet.
    Matt

  4. #4
    ?

    Default Re: Polish Para Helmet AT MK I/II

    Matt,
    Compare your Eagle to mine ...

    Note how the over paint is limited to only just cover the Eagle, and the off colour yellow of the aged gas detection paint.

    Gary J.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Polish Para Helmet AT MK I/II

    It's the same eagle, same shape, colour. Afternoon I'll check with magnet at home. How did you remove paint? Do you think it's worth to "dig" for company/battalion sign on the side?
    MM

  6. #6
    ?

    Default Re: Polish Para Helmet AT MK I/II

    Matt,
    I just checked a dispatch rider shell, and there are four rivet holes that hold the liner.
    The rivet holes are about half the diameter of the Para helmet screw holes, and are much lower and nearer the rim. (About 15mm to the rivet hole centre from the edge of the rim.)

    Also you mentioned unit flashes.
    If there are any unit flashes under the paint on your helmet, ... you should easily be able to see the outline under the over paint.
    The flashes should be between 50mm to 60mm in size, .. and normally either a Square, Circle, or a triangle, depending on which battalion.
    Bare in mind though, that it is not uncommon for there to be no unit flash on the helmet !.

    Removing paint !
    The overpaint was removed on mine by the previous owner in 1984.
    He got curious as to why there was a green patch of paint on the front of the helmet, and carefully with some wire wool began to rub off the old paint.
    When he saw the eagle he stopped, as he did not want to damage it any further.

    Regards

    Gary J.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Polish Para Helmet AT MK I/II

    Thank you once more, I'll let you know with magnet.
    Regards.
    Matt

  8. #8

    Default Re: Polish Para Helmet AT MK I/II

    What about signs inside? Inspectors marks?
    MM

  9. #9
    ?

    Default Re: Polish Para Helmet AT MK I/II

    Matt,
    I'm not sure about them, ... maybe somebody else will be able to help ?

    Regards

    Gary J.

    Quote by Mateusz Mroz View Post
    What about signs inside? Inspectors marks?
    MM

  10. #10

    Default Re: Polish Para Helmet AT MK I/II

    Here's one from my collection. Same design of eagle. Same type of overpaint --- just the eagle was overpainted, not the whole helmet.
    The liner is G&S marked and dated 1943.

    So from the perspective of the overpainted eagle and the design of the eagle your helmet looks OK.

    It is interesting to note that on the question of the overpainted eagles, we seem to find that only the eagles are overpainted, --and not very well at that. (I have owned 2 Polish paratrooper helmets and they had the same overpainted eagle, done in the same style). I do not know for certain why this was done, but it is interesting to me that in all cases I have seen, the eagles were still left somewhat visible beneath the overpaint. It the intent was to reissue the helmet to non-Polish troops it would have been a simple matter to completely obscure the eagle. It's just a question of the thickness of the paint used. I am led to the conclusion that the objective was not to obliterate the eagle, but rather, to subdue its yellow color.

    Question to Gary: Is there any information out there on whether this was done by the paratroopers in preparation for combat?
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