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Czechoslovak vz53 /strichtarn cover

Article about: greg what can i say many thanks for digging deeper to discover this information you are most kind its an eye opener to me also i am gratefull ,you are as passionate about helmet history as i

  1. #1

    Default Czechoslovak vz53 /strichtarn cover

    hi guys here's some closer shots of my reworked ssh 40 soviet lid /vz53 the cammo cover is a hood of a strichtarn vz 60 cammo coat and also fitted is the foliage strap Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Czechoslovak vz53 /strichtarn cover

    Another great looking display James...very inspiring. The cover looks real good on that lid. Ours has the foliage strap but no cover.

    Ours is not of Ssh40 origin, just for clarification.
    Last edited by MySonsDad; 05-08-2012 at 09:08 PM. Reason: Clarifiaction

  3. #3

    Default Re: Czechoslovak vz53 /strichtarn cover

    Well, that's an unusual thing. To me at least. I had no idea that ssh40 shells were ever reused by the Czechs with the vz53 liner fitted. There is some info on this at the World War helmets site (I've just rushed off and looked!) yet nothing clear as to the when of it. One might reasonably assume early on, before production of the 53 (which was made in vast quantities) really got going. But yours looks virtually new. That's amazing. Something to keep an eye open for, yes.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Czechoslovak vz53 /strichtarn cover

    thanks russ whats the year of manufacture on yours and greg as you say its looks new i think it must be unused surplus stock the lower original rivits serve no purpose at all the one thing i would say though is the quality of the shell is quite poor not a patch on russian quality almost like a reject lid i think the germans had the same system wherby any reject lids were beaded and sent of for civil defence use thats my theory any way ,the rivits around the lower level dont seem symmetrical the front star stamp is slightly off center and im not sure if you can see it in the photo of the side profile but theres a definitive band mark around the circumferance of the lid just above the apron thanks james

  5. #5

    Default Re: Czechoslovak vz53 /strichtarn cover

    Quote by col james View Post
    thanks russ whats the year of manufacture on yours
    James, I am not quite sure of the year of mfr and I'm also not sure where to look for markings. If someone could enlighten me as to where the date stamp might be located I will try and determine. However, from the color of the shell, I'm guessing it is an earlier production but that is pure speculation on my part. There is what might be the number 21 stamped in the inside rear, just below the edge of the liner and the liner is ink stamped with a large number 142.

    P.S. James, our IDF helmet did arrive last week and I will post as I stated I would. I am waiting on a couple others so I post all at the same time, 2 of them I expect to arrive in the morning (Wed) and the last possibly on Thursday.


  6. #6

    Default Re: Czechoslovak vz53 /strichtarn cover

    If, as it seems, this is a Russian-made ssh40 that has been refurbished by the Czechs (probably in the 1950s) then any prexisting Russian date stamp - which was I believe always in ink - will have been obliterated by cleaning and repainting. The WWH site, which has the only info on these retreads I can find, has it that these shells were stripped, the six rivet holes for the original Russian liner were filled with rivets and then three rivet holes were made in the upper part for the new Czech liner. So far as I am aware vz53 shells were not dated, so you are unlikely to find a date herein either. What an interesting thing. Who'd have thought it.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Czechoslovak vz53 /strichtarn cover

    brilliant greg thank you for delving deeper the plot thickens as you say there is no trace of ink stamp and i wouldnt dare start stripping the nice paint back to find either do you think it might possible be a reused ssh 60 maybe discarded before completion due to manufacture fault i notice the rear inner part of the sheel has a stamped batch number the number is 1-3154 i have a similar stamping on my original ssh 60 which is 1-92164 and russ im no expert on dating these but i think if it has the crossed swords stamp it is a latter model yours does sound a very early model and p.s im looking forward to viewing your nice new lids thanks james

  8. #8

    Default Re: Czechoslovak vz53 /strichtarn cover

    I've also got one of these reissued soviet shells, star stamp and serial number. I think Ade ID'd mine as a SSH39, though I'm not sure why (rivet placement I think). If anyone learns when they are from, exactly, I'd be glad to hear it. Also check the liner for ink stamps, mine has a "53" stamped in it, I think.


  9. #9

    Default Re: Czechoslovak vz53 /strichtarn cover

    It would seem unlikely that reject ssh60s were dumped on the Czechs - they already had the 53 is full prodution, with a thriving export market for the it by that time. And if they were why haven't we seen more of these refurbished objects? They would have been sold on, surely, not kept for domestic use. It's all quite baffling.

    I am pretty sure that the presence of the crossed swords stamp does not denote any particular period - I believe, though I can find nothing to prove it right now - that it is a long-standing Czech mark of acceptance. I am certain your helmet is a ssh40 shell with a Czech liner.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Czechoslovak vz53 /strichtarn cover

    OK, I've been asking about a bit and had some good information on the '53 from Slovakian collector Radovan Kolocnik, who has produced an article about this helmet for a Czech militaria magazine. I have extracted the following from his response to me. So all credit for the information is really Radovan's, though the words are mine.

    Regarding the basic essential vz53, the one we think we all know about - this is the one that resembles (only resembles) the Russian ssh39, in that it is roughly the same shape and has its liner held by three rivets set in the upper part of the shell - there are three real variants, different only in their chinstraps.

    The first is the simple two-piece leather chinstrap which was used from the beginning (early 1950s - earliest known 1951 (yes, that's surprising to me too).

    The second is the apparently four-point leather chinstrap (actually attached at only three points) which seems (nothing is certain here) to have been introduced in tthe early 1970s, earliest known photograph is 1971, and the change was introduced in order to improve stability of the helmet. It is not a paratroop helmet.

    The third variant is the same basic shell and liner again, but with a rather flimsy-looking nylon chinstrap, again looking like a four-point but actually a three point attachment. This dates from the mid-late 1980s, and was introduced as part of a general refurbishment programme, and apparently helmets with it fitted may also show signs of sandblasting and subsequent repainting.

    Now, regarding the Russian ssh40 shells converted into vz53 - according to what Radovan tells me a C. Benes defined this SSh40/vz.53 hybrid as vz.52 helmet in a book on Czech militaria**, but that was an assumption by him without evidence in period documents. Benes's theory was that these helmets were completed with new Czech liners and imported Russian SSh40 shells before production of Czech vz.53 steel shells began. Due to specimens of existing vz.53 helmets with CS army approval ink stamps dated 1951 there seems some doubt about this.

    These ssh40/vz53 hybrids exist with single leather, double leather, and nylon chinstraps, as they were refurbished and upgraded as other standard vz.53 helmets, the shells underwent the same refurbishment process like vz.53 helmets which received new liners and nylon chinstraps in the second half of the 80's.

    Well, that's amazing. See how we take for granted an apparently simple and 'commonplace' helmet like the vz53 and than once we look we find out there's a lot more going on than was first assumed. I am genuinely excited to have got to know all this - and will now be making a real effort to get examples of each type. Scarily, Radovan mentions in passing that the 1980s refurbishment liner has 'minor differences' to the prexisting one. Now, what can *they* be....the world must know! to me some more!

    Greg Pickersgill

    Postscript - ** Apparently NOT a book specifically about Czech militaria at all, I have now discovered by the magic of Google. Its a book titled 'Prilba - Ochrana i Odzoba Valecnika' by Ctirad Benes, published 2002, and covers helmets worldwide and across history. See here, handy if you read Czech - P
    Last edited by Greg Pickersgill; 05-12-2012 at 06:32 PM.

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