Article about: here's my scrimmed up m51 dated 1954 this was the style of helmet used in the first indochina war involving france with american backing ,the 2nd war was more commonly known as the vietnam w
A well used Pakistani Army helmet from the 1970s/early 1980s. This helmet came directly from Peshawar in Pakistan. It is an M1 clone that features a brim that is similar to the French M51 OTAN helmet. It has the correct olive drab color for the Pakistani uniforms that were in use from the 1960s to the late 1980s.
A Pakistani used mle51? Now that's amazing. I had no idea this model was used there, and having had a quick look through the books and wbsites neither did anyone else. The shell is certainly (so far as I can see) a mle51, but the liner looks a bit strange, at least from the angle it is shown. I'd like to see another pic of that!
I actually know (as an occasional correspondent) the ebay seller Peter Suciu, and I will contact him and see if he can pass on any other info. I doubt doubt that he did source it from Pakistan, but how and why did it get there. The Pakistani army did - does? - use a version of the US M1 as well as a variety of other things, but I have no knowledge of the mle51 showing up there.
The 51 was exported, of course (there was an export version available as well as the normal production run), but mostly so far as I know to countries of the former French Empire, which are predominantly in continental West Africa. The Portuguese and South African versions were locally made, and although there was some interest shown by the Swedes they eventually stuck with their own products.
If anyone has definate knowledge that this helmet was used in any quantity in Pakistan I'd be keen to hear about it.
I see that it sold for a measly $45 US just today - I'd have had a go at that, even with the transatlantic shipping costs!
Well. I've heard back from Peter Suciu and to be honest I don't feel a lot wiser. He says that the ebayed object is one of several that he obtained from a contact in Peshawar, all of them in as rough shape as the one illustrated here. The part I wanted to know, which is "What evidence is there these were used extensively - or at all - by the Pakistani military?" he has remained silent on. So that's no help then.
Of course it is not impossible that these were obtained by the Pakistanis via some route or another, it is just strange that no-one seems to have heard of it before. If I come up with anything concrete either way I'll post it here.
A bit of an update on this; I've enquired around and some collectors have come up with photos of Pakistani troops wearing what is arguably/probably the mle51 (as distinct from any M1 variant). There are sufficient of these, from different times and places, to more-or-less convince me that this helmet has been/is still in Pakistani use. Mind you, no-one has come up with any actual reference proving this - all we can go on is the photos, making a reasonable identification judgement. As to the why and how of this helmet showing up in obviously some numbers in Pakistan, I still have no idea.