Article about: by Greg Pickersgill The FACH used American M1 helmets, and this helmet is not of that origin. And of the European clones, it only used two, and they are from Western Germany: one is the M56
When I first picked this shell up I thought it was a Danish M-48 but after closer inspection and some deeper internet surfing I’m lead to believe that it is a early Chilean M-1. I’ve only found one photo of a helmet with a similar chin strap, all other examples have more of the US T-1 style. On the buckle side of the chin strap you can make out the words “CHILE” and “J. LEIVA” written in a circle (last blurry photo)
I understand the first Chilean M-1’s were US surplus and later were supplied by one or more sources in Europe. This shell is not US. It has a stainless steel rim with the seam in the rear and there are NO ink or stamp markings that I can find. The shell looks to have been originally painted a Royal Blue color, which remains on the inside of the shell. The outside has been re-painted a odd, almost grayish shade of green.
Can’t find much info on Chilean M-1’s and to be honest, I’m not 100% certain that this is one. Any ideas, info, thoughts, opinions?
Can't offer you anything concrete here yet, other than agreeing with your internet researches that J Leiva is is/was a contractor for various metallic bits&pieces for the Chilean military, and that Chile did indeed produce a homegrown M1 clone, though in what quantities I do not know. But I have contacted a Chilean collector who may well be able to provide us all with some solid information. Any minute now.
"This could be helmet of American , Brazilian or European origin, with a Chilean kit of suspension; but Chile never made clones of M1, in steel,
but if made 15,000 units of the Liner in ABS, with a very interesting characteristic: the liner can be used in the European, Brazilian ( made by Diana ) or American helmets, and that was important for Chile, because it used a ample range of M1 shells of many origins.
J. Leiva made a repair kit to the old M1. Leiva is a manufacturer of trophies of sports and medals, in addition to smaller parts in metals. Only
exists in Chile one company that manufactured steel helmets, but in different shape to the M1 and only on an experimental basis. "
Well, that's a start, and *I* have learned something from this, certainly. I've sent Ricardo copies of the pics so we may get some more information soon.
Again Greg, thank you so much for the info, please pass the Thank You along to your Chilean correspondent. I have spent quite a bit of time looking for more information and came up empty so this certainly helps and reenforces the little info I was able to find.
The shell is for certain not US made so must be one of Brazilian or Euro decent. I'll have to dig further to see if I can identify exactly which. Sure would be nice to fall upon one of these Chilean liners for this shell, I'm starting to think this helmet is not very common in any of its forms.
Here's some more information from my Chilean friend Ricardo Jara. It's just arrived so I have barely had time to read it myself! He is referring to your picture throughout, I understand.
"It is difficult through a single general panoramic picture, to identify a clone of M1. However, we can define the following:
1.- It is a helmet that belonged to the FACH (Chilean Air force - Fuerza Aérea de Chile), Used since the years '60 to '90, and that it ended their
useful life in an unit of defense of base ( military airport ), or anti-aircraft defense, by the green color.
2.- The FACH use a wide variety of M1 helmets, but one is really special, and I am referring to the Modell 56 ("Zweiteilige Stahlhelm 54-56"), of
German origin, and whose shell weighs around 1160 grams, and it is 5 mm.more lower that their American counterpart, and with the visors and side,
less pronounced ). Queerly it was not manufactured with good steels, as is customary in the German industry, by the restrictions of the allies.
In Chile, this helmet served until the ends of the ´90, when they began to be replaced in the inventory by helmets more modern (The FACH began to use
the Or201 Mod. 76 Israeli, at the beginning of the ´80)."
Wow. How Ricardo can identify this as a Bundeswehr M56 shell is beyond me - I *have* one and wouldn't have seen the relationship.
M56 or not? I asked Ricardo (something of an expert on Chilean helmets, especially thier large array of composites) for clarification -
"I don't have 100% of certainty that it is a Western German M56, because I don't have it in my hands, and without scale and caliper it´s impossible, since it have erased with blue painting the maker's name (Linnemann Schnetzer or F.W. Quist),... but there are other ways, my dear Doctor Watson !! :
The FACH used American M1 helmets, and this helmet is not of that origin. And of the European clones, it only used two, and they are from Western
Germany: one is the M56 and another is a helmet type M-1C, made by SW, and manufactured for the export only and never used in Europe.
The army also used Austrian helmets, type M58/75 Mod. II, manufactured by Usch, but Dutch or Belgian M1 clones were not used in Chile (The Norwegian
M1 clones don't count, because they are only a combination of shell and liner, of diverse European origins). "
I'm sorry I have not checked back on this posting, for some reason I am not rec'ving notifications on this particular thread. But anyway, some very interesting reading. I will pull the helmet out this weekend and inspect much closer and photograph in greater detail. My previous inspection, although not real detailed, did not find markings of any type, but my search was mostly to identify if it was of US origan, which it is not....beyound that, I really was not looking for any markings in particular.
Lexembourg, your observation of the chin strap is correct, the buckle side appears to have been put on upside down. Who knows when that may have happened although it is likely not of recent history as there are no noticable tool marks of any type, all the metal seems to hold a bit of age. I did notice this however, when I first received the shell but did not see it as a point of interest but more just a past mistake that was never corrected.
I would very much like to learn about about the liner that should accompany this shell as I'll have to go in search for one now.