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Bulgarian M72 ??

Article about: Hi fellow collectors. I am not an expert on Bulgarian helmets, so would appreciate any advice on this model. I am not sure if it is a M51 or a M51/72 , I am aware there is a difference in sh

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  2. #12
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    Quote by JBR View Post
    I think there's a further source of confusion over the steel shell's form. Having looked at loads of these at shows and on line, quite a few seem (to me, anyway) to have had the shell reversed during the manufacturing process. Where this appears to have happened, the slightly pointed peak still occurs at the front (so reversal after stamping but before trimming?) and the rivets are still 2 at front/1 to rear (so reversal after drilling, too?) but the bottom side profile curve appears further towards the front than on non-reversed shells. Also, the crown profile looks decidedly different towards the front. There are other variations, I believe - particularly regarding the M51 shell - where stamping or trimming has taken place slightly on the slant fore and aft, again resulting in a slightly odd looking form. Getting back to the differences between the M51 and M51/72, in my opinion the latter is much less streamlined than the former, it's bowl tending more towards ball shape. Well, that's my tuppence-worth!

    Many thanks for your input JBR, it is great to read your information, these helmets are so cheap and readily available on the surplus market, but are nevertheless quite fascinating with their differences!

  3. #13
    JBR
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    Here's an example of 'back to front' construction currently on eBay: Bulgarian army M51 / M72 cold war steel helmet unissued still in factory paper | eBay

    Best Regards, John

  4. #14
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    Quote by JBR View Post
    Here's an example of 'back to front' construction currently on eBay: Bulgarian army M51 / M72 cold war steel helmet unissued still in factory paper | eBay

    Best Regards, John

    That is a very good example of the back to front style, and reasonably priced too!!

    Thanks for the heads up John!

  5. #15

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    Quote by Greg Pickersgill View Post
    I would agree with battlegear - telling a 51 from a 51/72 ins't the easiest thing, but the later model does have a slight lip around the rim which isn't present on the original (although I sometimes wonder whether this is actually an illusion...). Apart from that the 72 usually has larger vent lugs and, almost always, sewn-on rather than riveted chinstrap parts. It is not unknown for helmets to be made up of liners and shells of wildly varying vintage, which could explain yours.

    Anyone interested in the Bulgars should check this page - Bulgarian Helmtes' History - but even Ted Muhovski seems reluctant to commit as to what the differences really are.
    The m72 is a bizzare helmet in my opinion since they went from the m51 which was effectively a clone of the italian M33, to the M72 which is nearly identical to gheesoviet SSH40/68, but with a seemingly smaller shell size and Bulgarian style rivets/Vents.
    The Italian and Soviet helmets already had a fairly similar design, which is why (i suspect) they adopted the design initially, so they could differentiate between the two, yet still remain similar. The m72 variant seems like a fairly unnecessary change and served only to give the Bulgarian People's Army a more Russian look.

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