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Prewar Polish M16/M17 helmet liners, chinstrap and paint colour - info needed. (with photo)

Article about: Hi. I'm attempting to recreate a Polish M16/M17 helmet as used by the 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade (the Black Brigade). This was the only functional Polish mechanized brigade in 1939 and w

  1. #1

    Question Prewar Polish M16/M17 helmet liners, chinstrap and paint colour - info needed. (with photo)

    Hi. I'm attempting to recreate a Polish M16/M17 helmet as used by the 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade (the Black Brigade). This was the only functional Polish mechanized brigade in 1939 and was the basis for the Polish 1st Armoured Division in the west.

    I've managed to find out that the Poles used both the German and the Austrian M16/M17 helmets (no real surprise there). However these helmets are a little bit different in chinstraps and liners. Did the Poles use the same liners and chinstraps as originally produced by the Germans and Austrians? Its also possible that the Poles made new liners and chinstraps or used the ones for made for their own helmet designs (Wz 31). I just don't know. I was informed that there were upgrades to the M16/M17 liners in the interwar period.

    So... does anyone have any info or pics of the liners as used by the Poles? Here is a photo of the helmets in use by the Polish brigade in 1938.



    Also I need to match the paint colour as used on Polish helmets (I have an Finnish Army Austrian M17 that will serve as my Polish helmet for my display). Does anyone have a recommendation on a modern paint that matches the colour of Polish helmets used in the 2nd Republic? Thanks.
    Last edited by dastier; 12-05-2011 at 12:36 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Prewar Polish M16/M17 helmet liners, chinstrap and paint colour - info needed. (with photo)

    I can honestly say I have no clue about this. It is news to me that Poland re-used ex-WW1 German and Austrian helmets in such quantities. I have checked some obvious sources and found nothing at all to help you. However, I have contacted a couple of reliable Polish helmet collectors and I hope they will be able to pass on something useful to you soon.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Prewar Polish M16/M17 helmet liners, chinstrap and paint colour - info needed. (with photo)

    Thanks Greg. Hopefully your Polish helmet contacts will be able to help. You have to keep in mind that Poland was partitioned for approximately 150 years by Prussia (later Imperial Germany), Russia and Austro Hungary. These occupations varied from harsh to somewhat benevolent but all were exploitative. The newly independent 2nd Polish Republic of 1918 was a poor country with limited industrial base surrounded by hostile neighbours. The Poles had to use whatever was at hand.

    I have been doing some research. In Jerzy Majka's book 'Invincible Black Brigade' it mentions that in 1938 the 10th Cavalry Brigade was issued German M16s and some Austrian M17s that were in storage at the Central Ordnance Depot (Glowna Skladnica Uzbrojenia) since the end of WW1. Photos of these helmets appear to have German chinstraps.

    However I know that the later Polish helmets had a different chinstrap and Austrian M17s that I have seen had a cloth chinstrap. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be any photos of Austrian M17s in Majka's book.

    Anyone have anymore info to contribute? Did the Poles upgrade the liners in the interwar period? Still need info for a paint match for my restoration project.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Prewar Polish M16/M17 helmet liners, chinstrap and paint colour - info needed. (with photo)

    I have had a response from my Polish friend - and it would appear that the liners of these helmets were not systematically replaced, but that at some point the chinstraps were replaced by the same type as used in the Wz.31. That's going to be easy to get, isn't it!

    That's just a first response, as he is asking more local enthusiasts about this. Apparently not much is known about this even in Poland. There is, I found, a page on the use of the German helmet is Poland in Kijak's HELMY WOJSKA POLSKIEGO, but it seems to offer little more detail about the liners. (NB my Polish is very poor!)

  5. #5

    Default Re: Prewar Polish M16/M17 helmet liners, chinstrap and paint colour - info needed. (with photo)

    Greg I really appreciate any info you and your contacts find. I'm actually amazed and very grateful at the responses I'm getting here on War Relics, not just to this post but to my other posts in the Polish 2nd Republic forum.

    http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/polish...iej-1918-1939/

    I am not surprised that the liners were not systematically replaced. Given that newly independent Poland in 1918 was an impoverished nation after 150 years of occupation by its 'neighbours', liners were probably only replaced piecemeal as needed. I would think chin straps would break or wear out more quickly, especially Austrian ones that were made of cloth. At least I now know that the Wz 31 chin strap was used on the Polish M16/M17s. Thank you. Please keep the info coming.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Prewar Polish M16/M17 helmet liners, chinstrap and paint colour - info needed. (with photo)

    Here's an update on progress to date:

    The good folks at War Relics are helping out...

    From Greg Pickersgill in the Steel Helmets forum...

    Quote by Greg Pickersgill View Post
    I have had a response from my Polish friend - and it would appear that the liners of these helmets were not systematically replaced, but that at some point the chinstraps were replaced by the same type as used in the Wz.31. That's going to be easy to get, isn't it!
    So it appears that the Poles did replace the German and Austrian chin straps on the M16/M17 helmets. And that the liners were replaced as needed. NB. From Majka's book 'Invincible Black Brigade' the M16/M17 were not issued to the 10th BK until 1938.

    For photos of the Wz 31 and its chin straps I would like to thank meyle77 and Tony...

    Quote by meyle77 View Post
    Check out this link for some photos of the wz.31 helmets - http://www.helmy.w8w.pl/polski%20wz.31.htm
    As well as where to get a repro Wz.31 chinstrap:

    Quote by meyle77 View Post
    Chin strap was made by Armian so check them out.
    Quote by A.J. Zawadzki View Post
    Chin strap: PODPINKA DO HE
    ... and specifics for the paint colour:

    Quote by meyle77 View Post
    As to the paint, there is and was discussion about Salamandra and colour matching on Polish Odkrywca forum and the results vary. In general colour needs to be mixed and application of cork is not easy. The off the shelf paint would olive drab but it is not 100% match. The proper colour is Bronze green, RAL 6031 (RGB:73,87,70 decimal).
    Quote by A.J. Zawadzki View Post
    It appears from the photo in post #1 and from Majka's book that the M16/M17s in the 10th BK were not painted with the Salamandra mat paint. I now have the specifics to match the colour of my FAKE M17 helmet to the original colour of a Polish M17 as used by the 10th BK.

    Thank you gentlemen!

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