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Hungarian M50 - Some Comparative Pics

Article about: This is my recently acquired M50 (eBay, described as 'Czech' rather than the usual 'Genuine WW2 Russian'!): I already had an M70, so here are some pics of the two together: The M50 has a sta

  1. #1
    JBR
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    Default Hungarian M50 - Some Comparative Pics

    This is my recently acquired M50 (eBay, described as 'Czech' rather than the usual 'Genuine WW2 Russian'!):

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    I already had an M70, so here are some pics of the two together:

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    The M50 has a stamped number '2057' inside the crown (see pic) and a printed size number '3' in Arabic script also (again, se pic):

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    The chinstrap is riveted but of the thicker earlier type leather. There is a printed marking that I cannot read on the reverse of the long strap. The turned over ends in the metal side loops have traces of dark green paint on them. So, I'm wondering if the shell was repainted with them already on there.

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    Inside the shell, the metal retaining bands for the pads are of a more olive colouring than the shell. The packing for the pads isn't horsehair but natural cotton, or capoc, perhaps:

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    Here are some comparative pics of the M50 with a Soviet Ssh40:

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    And some more with a Polish M50:

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    Any comments or observations gratefully received. I'm thinking this is a mid-60s made helmet, based largely upon what I've read on this very forum! The size, '3', is I think the most common and equates to a 'Medium', with 'Large' and 'X-large' above and 'Small' and X-small' below.

  2. #2

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    Excellent. Your pictures do show something that I have long believed, which is that all those Eastern Bloc Ssh40 apparent lookalikes are in fact different. Not just obvious things like the liners, straps, and even rivet placement, but the actual shaping of the shell. Most people believe - so it seems anyway, and not just Ebayers with that 'genuine Russian WW2 helmet' rubbish (and I actually know a new collector who was taken in by that just recently) - that they are all the same. Oh no. Perversely, the only shell which actually *is* the same as the Russian original is that of the Romanian M40, and that's because they are imported Russian shells fitted out in Romania. And the replaced by the authentically Romanian M73.

  3. #3

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    very nice pairing jbr of what is two great models i very recently picked up a model 50 and glad i did ,id really like to know what causes the visible band mark around the circumference on these and other warsaw pact helmets of the soviet style ,i have a few examples myself including a reworked ssch40 for czech issue as a vz 53 and this displays the banding too any ideas ?

  4. #4
    JBR
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    Default

    I absolutely agree, Greg. The various interpretations of the original Russian shell accounts for a lot of the interest in collecting this series of Warsaw Pact helmets for me (likewise US M1 derivatives) - and is also a significant aspect when trying to identify nationalities in photos. The way the sizing works is important, too, I think, in this respect. My M50 is a medium size but fits my big head with room to spare! It was possible for a soldier to obtain and adjust a helmet to get a snug and stable fit. On the other hand, the Czech Vz53 has a liner that provides less flexibility of adjustment. Consequently, period photos of Hungarian troops often show close fitting helmets in use (except for the earliest pics where many helmets are obviously too big - ie before the two smallest sizes were added) and Czech troops often appear to have rather large helmets. The Polish M50, being one size fits all (or not!), either they all had the same size head or the larger heads were equipped with Ssh40s and stuffing is used to downsize for smaller heads - at least, that's my guess.

    I wonder, James, if that band you often see in the shell's lower area is just a manufacturing error when the metal is being stamped or rolled into shape. It would be interesting to see a movie or even just sequential pics of the manufacturing process, wouldn't it? I imagine wheels or rollers come into play somewhere.

  5. #5

    Default PAVN eastern european steel helmets in use

    here is an interesting photo dating from 1971, this PAVN couple appear to have some varient of the Soviet M40? I think they might have Hungarian M50 helmets or possibly Polish Wz50 helmets judging by the dark green paint

    another photo with an elderly man probably in the local militia wearing a Russian Ss40
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  6. #6
    JBR
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    Default

    Interesting pics, battle gear. I'm inclined to Polish M50 for the couple photo - but.... the rear rim turn up seems a bit too pronounced..............? Perhaps it's an Ssh40? I don't think Hungarian M50 because the sides seem to slope towards a cone more than the M50's stockier look. These are my musings, anyway!

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    hi jbr that's a good theory of which im inclined to agree with if you dont mind me sharing here's my m50 and please forgive the strange way in which i display mine Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote by JBR View Post
    Interesting pics, battle gear. I'm inclined to Polish M50 for the couple photo - but.... the rear rim turn up seems a bit too pronounced..............? Perhaps it's an Ssh40? I don't think Hungarian M50 because the sides seem to slope towards a cone more than the M50's stockier look. These are my musings, anyway!
    I took a closer look and notice the shell has the lower rivets just like a Russian M40 or Hungarian M50 helmet

    the Polish M50 has higher rivets, the Czech M52 also has high rivets

    I would narrow it down to either Russian or Hungarian because of the Ss40 style low rivets for the three pad liner, I think the woman is holding a Russian Ssh40.
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    I am slightly surprised there hasn't been more interest in this thread. If for no other reason than I think - perhaps wrongly - that many people assume all those post-WW2 Eastern European Ssh40 versions are all the same, or at least the same shells (all produced by Russia of course) even if they have different liners and so on. That would be in a sense understandable as its actually quite hard to quantify the differences; I've spent a long time doing admittedly quite crude measurements of various shells and always been a bit reluctant to make any claims, partly because I have been unsure I have been measuring helmets of equivalent sizes; one test I did involved tracing the 'plan' footprint of the various helmets, and I was surprised at how different they were - and then I wondered about whether they were the same size...but the outlines were distinctly different nevertheless, even ignoring the size factor.

    Of course the other problem is that to establish any sort of pattern you need to measure two, three, more examples of each type, to weed out manufacturing variations. Difficult.

    But then, John's pictures do show significant differences, and not just obvious things like the placement of liner/chinstrap rivets. The profiles of the shell the angle and dimensions of the rim edging. Good stuff. Its exciting. I ought to get out my big sheets of paper and home-made flexible measuring card again. Just as soon as I have understood, to me own satisfaction, the three - or is it really only two? - types of Swiss M18 shell. Endless endless.

  10. #10
    JBR
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    Thanks for the input chaps. Please add as many pics as you like - the more the merrier James! You are right about the rivets, battle gear. A good point. I think it must be an Ssh40 because the M50 has more vertical sides in all the examples I've seen. I think, Greg, that period photos may be the way ahead - seeing helmets in use reveals their profiles/outlines when worn which seems to add in an element dependant upon the liner. Here are some photos of my M50 together with a Czech Vz53/80:

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    I was surprised to see more similarities than I expected, particularly the rim profiles. However, I think the comparison shows a more 'boxy' shape M50.

    We know there are significant differences in this family but I suppose they are not that obvious to the casual observer - I bet we'd spot non-Ssh40s straight away in a movie though, and feel cheated!

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