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Italian M33 Helmet

Article about: I just got this M33 helmet. It is not the helmet i actually bought but it's in nice condition, so i am considering keeping it anyway. I would really appreciate any info on it. So far i have

  1. #1

    Default Italian M33 Helmet

    I just got this M33 helmet. It is not the helmet i actually bought but it's in nice condition, so i am considering keeping it anyway. I would really appreciate any info on it. So far i have been told it's post war because of the canvas chin strap. Is this a definite indicator of a post war helmet? It sure looks like it could have seen combat.

    Thank you for helping out

    Regards, Lars

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Italian M33 Helmet

    Here are some notes, extracted from a website (presently offline) by Italian collector Michele Tagliavini - which should clarify a number of points. NB Michele prefaces his guide by saying "It sounds like a straightforward question, but with a helmet like the Italian M 33 answers are never unequivocal, especially if we keep in mind that it has been in service for over 60 years. Despite, a series of details can put us on the right track and give us a pretty precise definition, even though we often have to rely on experience, intuition and good luck rather than on precise documentation."

    The shell

    It has remained unchanged over the years, but different colours help us in identifying the era. In the first period the paint was the typical Regio Esercito grey-green, changed to a darker shade after 1936, until 1945(2). Specialty branch emblems(3) were stencilled in black on the front of the helmet, but one can easily find helmets of the same period without any on. Possibly in 1946-8, after the Italian Republic was born, the new army adopted a khaki-brown-reddish paint for the helmet, soon changed to a more greenish shade, which remained in service from the early 1950's to 1975. Front stencils have basically remained the same: the royal crown was eliminated or substituted by the castle-like "turrita" crown, as can easily be seen in the Navy emblem.Front stencils for the army were abolished in 1969 and one can find helmets re-painted khaki with the branch emblem still visible underneath the new coat of paint. In 1975 the helmet colour changed to olive green. Different shades can be found, especially on older helmets that have been repainted at army barracks.

    The leather liner

    Up to the end of the war it can be (sometimes stamped and dated) in shades going from dark brown to pale yellow, almost white, while post-war liners are generally yellow. The seam in the back is strengthened by two parallel rows of stitches, perpendicular to it. These two rows can be joined by a third slanted one, forming therefore a Z. Metal grommets can be found at the top of the leather leaves in the eyelets where the leather string goes through. Therefore "Z" stitching and metal grommets are characteristics that we don't find only on post-war helmets, as sometimes it is believed, although it is true that they were standardised on more recent liners.

    The chinstrap

    From 1933 to 1945 the chinstrap was made of grey-green leather, in two pieces with prong buckle and attached to the D rings by two rivets on each side. One can find specimens stamped on one or both sides. Probably well into the 1950's the chinstrap hasn't changed, on the contrary, it is logical to assume that huge wartime surplus has been used and generally one can find greygreen chinstrap re-painted khaki. Between the end of the 1950's and the 1960's a new canvas chinstrap was introduced: in one single piece, sand coloured and riveted on one side, it had a khaki sliding buckle. Beginning from 1975 buckle and chinstrap were coloured olive green.

    The chinstrap attaching metal strips

    Almost unchanged for the whole period, until 1945 we often find them stamped with a number or lettering (AT for example) under a royal crown. The ring to which the chinstrap is riveted is rectangular and painted greygreen. The only difference with post-war rings is that the colour bacame khaki. After the introduction of the new chinstrap, the ring became trapezium-shaped and its colour became olive green after 1975.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Italian M33 Helmet

    Hi Lars!

    Yes, your helmet is post-war, but it does look to be in good shape. These are pretty abundant in the US... as I've had 4 in my collection and given them out to friends.

    Here are a few tricks I know that will help determine if the M.33 helmet is WWII vintage or post-war:

    The shape of the vents. Postwar vents protrude more from the shell, while war-vintage vents are flatter.

    Chinstrap. Post war chinstraps are made from canvas, while war-vintage straps are made from gray-green leather.

    Chinstrap bales. Post war bales are trapezoidal in shape, while war-vintage bales are rectangular.

    Compare below:

    Here are pictures of my post-war M.33. It was cheap, so I made it into a repro WW2 eastern front Alpini helmet. Note the repro leather chinstrap, trapezoid bales, and big vents.:
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    Here are pictures of my war-vintage M.33... this one may have been issued to troops participating in the Spanish Civil War. Note the authentic leather chinstrap, rectangular bales, and small vents:
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    I hope this helps!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Italian M33 Helmet

    Thanks a lot to both of you

    I was really in deep water with this lid. I thought it was USSR made. Really embarrassing This really cleared up some things for me. Does any of you know what such a lid is worth. I just want to know if i paid too much for it.

    Cheers lads

  5. #5

    Default Re: Italian M33 Helmet

    Hi Lars,

    I'd say probably $50 or less...

    I found them on US ebay for $20.

  6. #6


    The helmet of Datrus is post war, the cap, and perhaps the external color is sure post war but it has a coloration of the period ww2 under to the current green.
    It seems to see two tonality to me of greens, if you mail better photos of the shape of the vents and the two colors, I can tell you with certainty.

    I confirm that the first helmet of Gimo8z is also this post war. According to helmet it is instead to a 100% beautiful helmet 33 Italian who has fought the war of Spain, recognizes the coloration brown over the green gray, that color brown is in fact usually of insufficient quality and is rough and stretches to be detached.
    Exactly it is not corrected what it is said on the shape of the vents, are 3 war types shape vents… For example those of your helmet Spain war are the model 1° type, coupled to the helmet with two hooks to the back.
    The speech on the Italian helmets is a lot along and many you leave of war helmets are used also after many years of the end of the conflict.

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