FRANCE

 

 

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FRANCE M26 front

Note (ebay sellers especially!) this POST-WW1 helmet is a single pressing except for the crown ridge.

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FRANCE M26 interior

Liner removed. It needs cleaning, as it has blobs of melted rubber stuck to it - see UNITED KINGDOM mk4 liner for the full sad tale.

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FRANCE M26 shell side

 

 

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A FRENCH-MADE GOUMIER HELMET ?

This helmet is also listed under UNITED KINGDOM, but a French collector has suggested that it was in fact made for use by the Goumiers, North African troops in the French Armee d'Afrique.

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A FRENCH-MADE GOUMIER HELMET?

There's no indication of any orthodox liner, but it would have been worn on top of the thick clocth cap (ring-shaped?) called a 'Cheche'. Information please!

 

 

 

 

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 FRANCE_M51 -shell side

Introduced in the early 1950s, this is modelled on, but only superficially similar to, the typical US M1.

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FRANCE_M51- shell back

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FRANCE_M51 - shell front

The sides of the M51 are much more vertical - the bowl less rounded - than the M1

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FRANCE_M51 - liner back

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FRANCE_M51- liner detail

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FRANCE_M51- liner side

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FRANCE_M51- liner detail

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FRANCE_M51- chinstrap detail

 

 

 

 

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FRANCE M51/56 PARA.

A development with three fixed bails and a different chinstrap of the basic M51. Introduced for service in 1956.
Note denting, due to odd French military custom of banging helmet against any available hard object. Apparently not the result of unusual French para landing techniques.

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FRANCE M51/56 PARA - liner shell

Updated information - I had previously referred to this as an adaptation of the basic M51. It seems, from reading Alex D's and Joseba's websites, that it is actually classified as the M56, but more correctly (AlexD informs me) known as the M51/56.

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FRANCE M51/56 PARA - shell side

Dents very obvious here!

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FRANCE M51/56 PARA

Para variant interior - missing cradle tightening string, unfortunately.

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FRANCE M51/56 PARA liner detail

Note the very simple welded-on loops for the chinstrap.

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FRANCE M51/56 PARA -liner detail

Note the three point chinstrap - all passing through simple welded loops. The chinstrap is a single cloth strap with a double-d-ring fastening. It doesn't feel safe.

 

 

 

 

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FRANCE_M58 - front

This is an AFV/armoured troops helmet, and I am not at all sure I have the designation correct; it is given as 'M58' in Marzetti and by Revuelda, but Casques de Combat seems not to agree!
Whatever the correct designation, it seems that this is the second series of this design, dating from 55,  the first (1951) having large circular vent holes in the crown, and the third (1962) having cut-outs on the sides for earphones. (I could be wrong about this - Information please!)

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 FRANCE_M58 - side

This helmet came as a 'liner' with a standard M51 shell. Casques de Combat indicates that it this was normal usage, AFV troops using the M51 shell when in exposed positions.
I do not know what the white patches on the side indicate. It appears that something was fixed there at some time in the past.

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FRANCE_M58 - liner

There is the usual oval makers and date stamp in this helmet, but it is blurred and worn and no help in ascertaining the model.

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FRANCE_M58 - back

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FRANCE_M58 - liner detail

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FRANCE_M58 - strap detail

 

 

 

 

 The F1 steel helmets

Here are some notes sent to me by collector AlexD, explaining the evolution of the F1 all-arms helmet. Please read them in association with my pictures and notes on the F1 below.

NB AlexD's written English is pretty good, so I have used his notes much as he sent them.

"Ok. I will try to explain the F1. Sometimes, you could find the name F1 and F2 or F1S1 and F1S2. I prefer the second. I don't remember exactly the dates, but this a small history of the F1 :

- 1978 : the F1 helmet was adopted.  The chinstrap has press-stud fasteners, the liner has the shape of the round pad,  use of screws to fix the liner on the shell,  3 fixed bail on the shell for the chinstrap.
- in 1981/2,  the fixed bail are changed to mobile ones.
For me, all these helmets are F1 S2. because the shell was modified -
 in 1983/4 : the chinstrap was closed by velcro. (There were a lot of problems with the older system. One of my friends said that often helmets were on the ground before them  when they jump from planes.) So, you could find some F1 with press-stud fasteners and velcro. It's  a field modification for paratroopers.
The liner was modified too. The round pad, not enough comfortable, was changed to a crown pad. The screws were changed to rivets.
So you could find F1 with a lot of variation of shell/liner/chintstrap.
And there are 4 or 5 different manufacturers : Dunois, GIAT, RMC, Franck, and an Austrian company. GIAT is an independant company. There is no link with Gallet SA."

AlexD

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FRANCE F1S1 - side

Introduced in the late 1970s, used by all French forces. Often mis-identified as specifically a Paratroop helmet, although that is correct in that Paras did use it as well as all other branches.

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FRANCE F1S1- chinstrap detail

Compared to the later models below there is much less use of velcro on the various liner straps; the chinstrap has press-stud fasteners, for example.

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FRANCE F1S1 - front

This is an early example, maker GIAT-ARS and dated 1979.
This example was used in the First Gulf War, where the distinctive camouflage was used by Legion units.

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FRANCE F1S1 - liner detail 1

Note that the liner is similar generally to the later F1, but has some obvious differences like the shape of the crown pad.
Also only three instances of the use of velcro on the chinstrap or liner assembly, compared to all-velcro fastenings on the later model.

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FRANCE F1S1- liner detail 2

 

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FRANCE F1S1- side

Notice the early large and dimpled rivets on this early F1 as compared to those on the later models.

 

 

 

 

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FRANCE F1S2-shell

With typical camo cover - the dark strip is a rubber edging that grips the rim of the helmet.
This green-painted F1 is a later production model, with significant differences to the camo-painted example above.

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FRANCE F1S2 - side

This is the later, modified F1, dated 1988. Apart from the different liner and chinstrap fastenings, see the shell rivets - small and flat on this model.

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FRANCE F1S2-front

A very comfortable, well designed helmet.

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FRANCE F1S2 - liner

This is the second pattern liner, making more use of velcro for the chinstrap fasteners and adjustment than the first, and with a cruciform rather than round crown pad. This is essentially the same liner as used in current French Kevlar helmets.

 

 

 

 

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FRANCE F2 KEVLAR - front

Also known as the 'Spectra' helmet. 'Spectra' is the trade-name of a Kevlar-type ballistic plastic.
This example is manufactured by Gallet, dated 1994.

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FRANCE F2 KEVLAR - back

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FRANCE F2 KEVLAR - side

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FRANCE F2 KEVLAR - liner

The current Canadian Kevlar helmet is also made by Gallet at a facility in Canada, and shares some features with the French F2, notably a very similar liner and chinstrap.

 

 

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FRANCE F2 KEVLAR - liner detail

It's clear that this liner and chinstrap of the F2 are very similar, if not in some parts identical, to that of the F1. A fine example of continuing with proved and excellent equipment.
I have recently seen a Spectra helmet with a liner superficially similar - with a net  inside and a different crown pad - to that used in the Bundeswehr Aramid helmet. Is this a new development? It does not seem the same as the 'export' version of the French Spectra. Information please!