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French "Otan" 1955 M51

Article about: Thanks Greg, excellent information as usual, and Opex, thanks for the link. Incredible detail there. Andy

  1. #1

    Default French "Otan" 1955 M51

    I thought I'd show my French lid before it's boxed and put away, the much maligned "Otan," or M51
    I really don't know much about these, I came about it by accident really. It is not one that I would purposely include in
    my collection, but each to his own, beauty is in the eye of the beholder etc..............
    Anyway, it has a green liner chinstrap which I've never seen. Under the paint there is a sort of desert tan?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Not the best looking thing, but that's just my opinion, though the tan paint looks interesting.
    It's dented and battered, so I suspect it has a tale to tell.

    Best Regards,


  2. #2

    Default Re: French "Otan" 1955 M51

    I really like the look of this one, and I agree the sand paint peeping through is very interesting, here's my theories ..Could be a "Legion" piece,hence the sand paint ,there is evidence these were painted sand for the Suez conflict, as well as being the same for usage in Chad.

    I have seen Khaki leather chinstraps before on French Sub-helmet radio model 65 char models, I think I have one somewhere in storage,so not to be discounted as a French chinstrap by any means.

    Many thanks for showing this fine example

  3. #3

    Default Re: French "Otan" 1955 M51

    very nice andy ,every helmet collection should include one of these ,its design is so different yet similar to the m1 it must be the large rear rim and two part construction , i really love them ,i have a mint 1954 dated example the liner is also special and includes the insignia grommit allthough i wouldnt have a clue what the insignia would look like ,thanks for showing and pity its off to storage kind regards james

  4. #4

    Default Re: French "Otan" 1955 M51

    Thanks James, is the green chinstrap normal on these things?
    I'm having to make some tough decisions as to what I can display, some really nice M1's, 1917A1's nice Brit lids, Falkland era Argie, etc. just have to go to storage, I really wish I could display them all but there's just not enough room. It's a shame really.


  5. #5

    Default Re: French "Otan" 1955 M51

    tbh i can only speak for my example ,it has a similar chinstrap allthough in brown leather /synthetic leather ,never seen a green strap before ,i too feel your pain ,i just havent the room to display all my favorite lids

  6. #6

    Default Re: French "Otan" 1955 M51

    Green chinstrap *very* unusual. Might have been replaced from something else at some time (but what else used a green liner chinstrap? I have no idea!) or the entire object might have been an export item - but then nothing similar is shown in the export section of Hennequin's book, which is pretty much the go-to for these helmets.

  7. #7

    Default Re: French "Otan" 1955 M51

    Thanks for the input Greg, it seems it's a little more interesting than I thought.


  8. #8

    Default Re: French "Otan" 1955 M51

    the mle 51 is *always* more interesting than most people think - if you do a bit of a search you will find some very interesting postings about it here in the World Steel Helmets forum. Its one of my favourite helmets, there is a lot to learn about it. A complete collection of all variants would need a lot of shelfspace, I can tell you.

  9. #9

    Default Re: French "Otan" 1955 M51

    OK, scrub round everything I said before about the liner chinstrap being unusual. I have been into the facts a bit more and it is now clear that many or all post-1961-manufacture liner chinstraps were green rather than brown. The liner Andy shows here is a HR from 1955, which would certainly have originally had a brown chinstrap. It now seems reasonably to believe that for whatever reason this was replaced with a green strap of later manufacture. There's nothing especially rare or unusual about the green straps at all. That being said though, I have noted that later production mle51 are much less easily found than those from the 1950s; I am wondering if that was because many of the later production runs were sold or donated on more or less directly to ex French Empire newly established nations recieving military aid. Someone must know.

  10. #10

    Default Re: French "Otan" 1955 M51

    Check this website for reference of Green leather chinstrap.

    .: World War Helmets - Casque Modèle 65 :.

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