Now that's an interesting thing. I don't think I had realised before that there was more than one Gendarmerie version of the Mle51 family. I had only previously seen the basic mle51 painted blue. From what I now understand (and I am sure someone will tell me if I am wrong) this is a version of the mle56 para helmet with a rather older Menesa liner (which is somewhat rare in itself I think). That leather chinstrap rig was new to me also, and is obviously quite different from anything else on a mle51 or 56; from my quick research (handicapped by poor French reading) it seems to date from the 1970s. Fascinating. I hope to find out more about these versions of the mle51 family. What can anyone add?
Many thanks for looking Greg, I can confirm it is blue, and it is the Mle-56 shell, all be it with slots cut out for the attachment of the RF badge. Apart from the Menesa liner it is in it's standard specification. The leather 3 point chinstraps appear on the Mle-56 shells. On the Mle-51 shells, these helmets will have blue cotton weave chinstraps.
Thanks again,for looking and your queries.
another great looking lid opex ,and its always nice to hear the comments from greg i can learn a lot ,its all very interesting thanks james
Neunkirchen sounds German (nine churches), was the liner made in the French zone of Germany, maybe the Saar?
Correct, it is in Saarland, which after the Second War, until 1957, was a French Protectorate. Its an area which has passed back and forth between France and Germany more thann once, as well as having a short period of more-or-less independence. The Menesa factory (which was part of what I can only assume was a programme to distribute production of helmets and liners as widely across France as possible) produced quantities of both Version 1 and 2 of the mle 51 shells and liners. Though apparently not in large quantities, as they seem to be among the rarest of makers marks found. I'm quite a fan of the mle 51 and its Portuguese and SAfrican cousins. They're all different you know - well OK, not very much, but *they're all different*!
Thanks James, as you know I am always interested in different variations of standard lids, this one I hope was one of my more wise purchases.
- - Updated - -
Great information Greg, and I agree the Mle 51 family of lids, has many,many variations, thanks for your input!!
Hi Fellow collectors.
Here's another example, this one was a former M56 TAP version, converted for Gendarmerie use.To my knowledge this is not all that an usual conversion, but I particularly like this military "Recycling" aspect of the French armed forces.The liner is a specific Gendarme piece,of note is the black leather sweatband,and chinstrap, with a Dark Blue painted buckle. The leather shell 3 point chinstrap is standard on these helmets, the clue to it's former usage is the Khaki green side straps with rings.There are remnants of the original green paint ,just visible under the glossy blue paint finish,and the shell was made by Dunois & Fils,sadly this is not visible on my camera.
Just a quick thought my original post of the M-51 is indeed a M51, as there is evidence of it being originally having two bales of the swivel variety, whereas the M56 has no evidence of it being converted from M51 style to M56 as it has the 3 fixed bales....oh,very confusing I know,but equally fascinating nevertheless!
some great info there on this superb looking helmet ,as i dont own one of these yet can i ask about the flaming bomb/grenade colouration ,im sure ive seen silver as well as gold examples ,any reason for this ,also i noticed an f1 version but it doesnt seem to have the metal insignia more like a decal applied ,and also strangely the The Belgian Gendarmerie / Rijkswacht m51 seems to have the flaming grenade device on the liner not the shell ,i must pick up one of these though for my french collection it will fit in nicely im sure cheers james