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The French mle45 Jeanne d'Arc

Article about: Here's a little show&tell on one of my favourite helmets. Actually it probably *is* my favourite helmet, I have nine of them now and always feel a very strong impulse to buy any that eve

  1. #11


    Ah, thank you Bruno. I understand properly now. I had found references fo Viollet le Duc, but hadn't understood the significance of the use of the name. Same sort of sentimental - usually false and faked - recreations of the imagines past that happened in the British Isles during the Victorian era (the 'invention of tradition'). (And still do, if you look at most of our newly built houses.)
    Last edited by Greg Pickersgill; 03-13-2015 at 10:44 AM.

  2. #12


    Allow to to show off my latest joy. Yet another mle45! It is a wonderful thing. May have been a bit of a dead loss as a practical combat helmet but it is an elegant as anything. I now have ten of these and this one is a idiotic pleasure because I now have three Army and seven Air Force editions, significant only because that's roughly the proportion they were issued in. I do have a crazed ambition to get a one-of-each - Small (stamped 1 or P) and Large (2 or G) for every year of issue, but that's a problem because for a start we don't know for certain the first year of issue (1946 is commonly accepted and has been reported) or the last (probably 1953, though I have not seen one stamped later than 1951) - and then again not all of them have a year stamp, even though almost all have the Franck stamp. Its a problem. I'm not even 100percent sure of the date-stamp in this one - sometimes I think 1948, then 1949. Makes for trouble when you're going for completism.

    Anyway, its a nice one, and has the chinstrap secured with a rivet rather than a nut&bolt, which seems (on the basis of my examples) toe more common fixing.

    The French mle45 Jeanne d'Arc The French mle45 Jeanne d'Arc
    The French mle45 Jeanne d'Arc The French mle45 Jeanne d'Arc

    Here's a few shots of the perhaps overcomplicated headband and liner. Its surprising that such a wellmade adjustable headband was coupled with what time has proved to be very flimsy fabric crown straps. A lot of those I have seen are in much worse condition than this set. Notice also the ink stampings on the fabric straps. I still have no idea what they mean but the numbers seem to be always present on the Army issues and rarely on the Air Force.

    The French mle45 Jeanne d'Arc The French mle45 Jeanne d'Arc
    The French mle45 Jeanne d'Arc

  3. #13


    Hello Greg,

    Wonderfull one
    3 army ... whaou
    I may have come across 2, or just made aware of.
    Even if we keep the ratio, it is still more easy to see the air force one.
    (or difficult to find the army one)

    Congratulation for your finding and also for these very good photos. It realy looks to be an initial one

    All the best


  4. #14


    oh, by the way
    I just remaind this amaising story.
    If you saw the "asterix and cleopatre" movie, you will discover that the roman helmets were done from M45 Jeanne D'arc helmets


  5. #15


    I have been trying to confirm the start and end years of production for the Jeanne d'Arc, and having no real success.

    I have ten of these now, and the dates I have are -

    2 x 1948 (1 very probably 1948, could be 1949 as stamp is slightly blurred). Both are Army issue.
    4 x 1950. All Air Force.
    1 x 1951. Air Force.
    3 x undated. 1 Army, 2 Air Force.

    Given that this is essentially a random sample you could assume the greatest production was in 1950. Would that be a dangerous assumption?

    There is surprisingly little hard information available. So, let's take a look at some usually reliable websites and the best books.

    Looking at the best websites first, Joseba ( FRANCÉS 45 JA ) presents it confusingly, in the header of the piece saying production began in 1948, and then in the main text saying that the production ended ('culmino su fabricacion') in 1948! Which is obviously not correct, especially as Joseba shows a picture of a Franch stencil dated 1950. This may be one of a very few cases where Joseba cannot be totally trusted.

    The guys at World War Helmets (a very well illustrated section - .: World War Helmets - Casque Modèle 45 :. ) say that production (which may mean development rather than manufacture) began in 1946, but the period of use dates from 1948. They show several dated Franck stamps, which are 1948, 1950 and 1951, but nothing to prove that helmets were produced in each year of that period, neither do they state explicitly that production stopped in 1951, though that would be a plausible idea given the coming introduction of the mle51. (NB there is also a 1953 Franck stamp, but that is specifically for the variant produced for the CRS which is not the same as the basic mle45)

    CASQUES DE COMBAT has a short section on the mle45, but it gives no dates at all and is unhelpful in this enquiry.

    Marzetti's ELMETTI has just one picture and a short description, but does claim that production begain in 1948 - for Army examples - and later (not specified) for the Air Force. No other dates given.

    The most authoritative book on French helmets is Roland Hennequin's CASQUES MILITAIRES FRANCAIS XXe SIECLE, but even this is uncharacteristically vague about the mle45 production. Hennequin says that a date of 1946 has been seen on one example (implying that is unusual), but he gives no clear information on either the start or end years of production.

    So, overall, all I can say is that I know for certain that there are mle45 helmets dated 1948, 1950, and 1951. 1946 seems to exist according to Hennequin. Are there examples of the Jeanne d'Arc dated 1947, 1949, and even 1952? I don't know. Do you?

  6. #16


    Hello Greg,

    It is hard to answer to your question and has you mentioned there are few documentation on that extend.
    Unfortunatly, the only way to know would be to get the "orders" and these are seperate from the technical notice of the helmet, so even if is is a 1945 model we cannot know when the army started asking for them.
    If we take the "chapeau de brousse" for example, the notice is from 1949 but it was adapted from exising local productions as of 1947.
    If we take the M51, very little number were produced in 51 and 52.
    The biggest production starting in 53.

    I think this is also linked to the remaining stocks that first need to be used before being reordered.
    On that extend we could consider the remaining M35 used before introducing the M45 or the old M1 to be replaced by the M51.

    We lastly need to consider how equipments are ordered. States will release a tender that will need to be submited folowing very long and boring processes. It could easily take 6 months if not more and need to refer to the technical notice.

    On that extend it is not impossible that some helmets were produced in 1946 but maybe at some examples (test?). But this I cannot tell as I didn't saw any.
    In some tender it is requiered to procvide samples.
    As well, when asking Producer to do somethings sometime they were provided "modele type" (exemples) to be reproduced.

    I checked my air force one which is dated 1951.
    I had a thought about years and Producer.
    Mr Hennequin in its book mentioned that they whee mostly provided by Franck. Thibault beeing a second one and a ttal estimated production of 20 to 30 000 helmets. to be confirmed.

    That said, if we consider orders from the Army, Or Air Force, I would consider volume of each order to be at least 3000 to 5000. I refer for this to some example for the "Chapeau de Brousse" but that is just an example and we may consider that the duration of the Chapeau de Brousse was for one year. It might be more for the helmet.
    That said, if we devide 30 000 helmets by order of 3000, that would at most provide 10 diferent models (not considering the size, just Producer and dates)
    Just a guess as both production and orders are unknown.

    Hope this could help


  7. #17

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