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French OTAN M51 Helmet

Article about: Nice Rene, been meaning to pick one up for a while but something else always comes up. Going to start working on it today. I like them a lot. Thanks, John

  1. #41
    JBR is offline

    Default Re: French OTAN M51 Helmet

    Has anyone else noticed this eBay listing: WW2 STEEL HELMET Complete 1945 Original with inner fibre liner and straps. | eBay

    An M51 shell with a 1945 date....???

    Best Regards,

  2. #42

    Default Re: French OTAN M51 Helmet

    See the shell stamp has been mucked with hey!
    Here's the evilbay pics

  3. #43

    Default Re: French OTAN M51 Helmet

    Hmm. Not often I will come out and say something is flat impossible, but I'm willing to risk it on this. There's no record whatsoever of any work on the mle51 being done before about 1949, when another somewhat similar one-piece helmet was trialled (and failed). I believe we can accept happily the idea of the '51' being a true genesis-point. Now, if this had been one of those Franck trials pieces, with an M1-type shell and the Jeanne-d'Arc type liner, *that* would have been exciting. This is just mesing about. Or to be charitable perhaps, momentary inattention at the marking stage.

  4. #44
    JBR is offline

    Default Re: French OTAN M51 Helmet

    It's also not the first type of shell. That would've had fixed loops. The swivel type came in 1952. So, it could be a mischievous original marking (eg 1954 production) provided the stamp could be altered easily. That might make it an interesting curiosity. But is it, in fact, a malicious fake? Best Regards.

  5. #45

    Default Re: French OTAN M51 Helmet

    Hey M51 Helmet Fans

    Even thou' I'm not really a helmet collector (WW2 German/Hungarian field gear & post (cold) war Hungarian stuff), I saw this helmet yesterday, and I quite like it - I had no clue what it was so I asked around in another helmet thread and I got great help again!

    I'll just quote fellow forum member; Greg:

    "It is definately a French mle51, an early edition. Production of these was farmed out all over France, to assist regional economic development. This one is is by Menesa, from Neunkirchen in the Saar, a frequently disputed border area between France and Germany. At the time it was under French control, though later in the 1950s returned to Germany. This is a very nice early mle51, from a hard to find maker. And also, I think, one of the minority produced that has the 'hook' element of the chinstrap on the right rather than left.
    I believe the camo cover is from a later period and would not have been originally issued with a helmet of this vintage."

    I think I'll go for this - would be a nice sight along with all the other cold war helmets I have...


    French OTAN M51 HelmetFrench OTAN M51 HelmetFrench OTAN M51 HelmetFrench OTAN M51 HelmetFrench OTAN M51 HelmetFrench OTAN M51 HelmetFrench OTAN M51 Helmet

  6. #46

    Default Re: French OTAN M51 Helmet


    The metal part is 52 but the Inside is after1958 (3d type)


  7. #47

    Default Re: French OTAN M51 Helmet

    Thanks for the additional info...

    Quote by bourguignotte View Post

    The metal part is 52 but the Inside is after1958 (3d type)


  8. #48

    Default Re: French OTAN M51 Helmet


    To find a matching liner, the best would be to get a similar système than the US liner. It would be the 1st type. Then the neck band was sewed (2d type) from 53


  9. #49

    Default Re: French OTAN M51 Helmet

    Bruno is of course quite right about the liner being a later version than 1952; ideally you should be looking for a first series liner which is most easily distinguished by having a nape-strap fixed with press-studs/poppers. (The second series liner has a sewn-in nape strap, the third series liner has *no* nape strap at all). See here for pics of various makers first-series liners -
    .: World War Helmets - Les fournisseurs du sous-casque Mle 51 TTA type 1 :.

    Interestingly, according to this comprehensive and reliable listing, Menesa did not make liners in 1952, so it is likely that your helmet would have had a liner from another maker originally. Perhaps even one of the wonderful 'Yeti' .

    It seems true that shells and liners were shipped and stored as a unit (many mle51 can be found as a liner+shell wrapped in brown paper for storage and transit) but I have not been able to find if there was any direct relationship between the makers of shell and liner, and it is highly likely that shells and liners were mated with whatever was to hand. And of course liners, being the more fragile (especially the Yeti and the other early celeron ones) would have been replaced, by whatever was available.

    Of course it is *likely* that some makers would have shipped a shell+liner both badged with their name, but it doesn't seem absolutely certain. I would love to hear from anyone who knows more than I do. Please!

  10. #50

    Default Re: French OTAN M51 Helmet

    Hello Greg,

    Thanks for this clearer explaination.

    Concerning fits with Shell and liners, of course some providers did both. Therefor, as you mentioned, they were stored separately and provided to troops on a 1st to come in hand first provided.
    It resulted that shell and liner weren't always fiting well. Either with liner beeing a little too big like the HR model in sme shell, or most often too small which resulted in a very nice Noisy helmet as soon as you had to run somewhere ; )

    To prevent this you had to put either ruber or path on the shell to adjust fitting with the liner


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