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eMedals-A First War French M15 Adrian Steel Helmet

Item: EU9306

A First War French M15 Adrian Steel Helmet


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A First War French M15 Adrian Steel Helmet

A First War French M15 Adrian Steel Helmet - (Artillery and Tank Corps) French-made, steel, magnetic, painted in bluish-black, the body of the helmet consisting of three die-stamped pieces: the two-piece visor and the crown. The die-stamped comb is attached to the crown via four rivets, while the French artillery insignia consisting of a pair of crossed cannons behind the flaming bomb, with "RF" (Republique Francaise) placed on the bomb is attached to the front. Inside, the corrugated tin-framed band cradle supports a one-piece brown leather liner with seven tongues, referred to as the "first pattern" design, each tongue with a hole at its end for the feeding through of the leather drawstring. It is named on the underside of the visor "RAVOUX", the name scratched into the metal, in addition to the letter "M" scratched into the underside of the rear neck guard. The leather chin strap remains intact, affixed to D-rings on either side, the strap with its original hardware. Helmet measures 210 mm x 302 mm x 150 mm, exhibiting moderate dents, paint loss and contact marks on the exterior, the insignia unaffected, surface rust on the interior, mold staining on the leather liner from storage, as worn.     Footnote: In 1915, with the First World War in its second year, solders on both sides of the line were forced to dig in. Quick victory was already a distant memory for either side. Rapid movement and flanking manoeuvres were but a dream. After the initial sweeping deployment of soldiers, now seemingly endless artillery barrages rained down on troops taking shelter in trenches and dugouts. Head wounds became commonplace, with the French kepis (fabric caps with leather visors) doing little to protect the wearer. Prior to the war, helmets worn by the French army served a ceremonial use and were considered a mere accoutrement of the uniforms of the day. The horrors of trench warfare in Europe, though, changed all that, as ghastly head wounds convinced planners that protective headgear was required. The fact remained that many fatal head wounds were caused not by bullets or blows to the head, but rather by small and low velocity fragments (shrapnel). Any protection at all besides a cloth cap was seen as an improvement with many lives potentially being saved. The priority, therefore, became to provide troops with helmets. In 1915, an official protective helmet was introduced and it has been forever tied to its creator, Intendant-General August-Louis Adrian. His design was based on helmets used by Parisian firefighters, resulting in a rather complex helmet that consisted of several individual stamped pieces that were riveted and/or welded together. The actual design comprised an over-sized skullcap, a two-piece brim leather band with additional tongues, to provide padding that were held together by a drawstring to add support for the wearer. This rested on a tin corrugated metal sheet that was designed to provide both additional ventilation and suspension while the leather chinstrap was attached to a pair of fixed D-rings on each side of the helmet. The actual thickness of the steel of the M15 was a mere 0.7 mm, which was actually even lighter than the contemporary fire helmets, but still provided a great service to the wearer. Five factories began manufacturing these helmets and by the end of 1915, more than three million helmets were produced and distributed to the French army. (C:4)  
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