Thursday, November 3, 2011

Swiss M/40-43 Helmet Cover 1943 -1956 for the M/18 style helmets

Today I will covering the perfect accessory to my old M/18-43 Swiss Helmet.......... an original WW2, Swiss helmet cover.

The cover that I have is a two sided, cloth, camo cover that was first produced in 1943.  One side is the Swiss Zeltbahn M-1931 pattern, and the other side is a painted Sumpfmuster pattern.

These helmet covers were the only articles of camouflage clothing that the Swiss Army used until the classic Swiss Alpenflage camo uniforms were first issued in 1956.  These covers came in two styles, one had a drawstring around the edge and the other had rim-clips with a tension tie to take up the slack.  The cover I have is the drawstring type.  

The green side of the cover was produced from printed fabric in the Zeltbahn model 1931 print.  However, there seems to be several slight variations to this pattern as used on the covers.  The foliage loop-strip that circles the cover was printed in several very unique mini-camo prints that seem to have been used only for this one piece of the covers.

The "Fall" side of the cover was sprayed on in a Sumpfmuster style pattern.  This camo pattern was applied by hand by the manufacturers.

As far as I can tell from my research, these covers were first issued out around 1943 or 1944 and were primarily used up to 1955 - 1956.  In 1956 the Alpenflage pattern was issued in a new cover for the the M/18-43 helmets.  Here is a photo of my cover next to a M-71 Alpenflage cover for comparison:

The old style covers still show up in period photos and films all the way into the 1970's, although it is only seen occasionally.  In the movie "Der Kampf der Infanterie", produced by the Swiss Governent in 1976, there are several scenes where soldiers can be seen wearing the original style covers (with the green Zeltbahn M-1931 pattern showing), right alongside the current Alpenflage covers.

I posted a copy of this movie some time ago, in another post, but since it so relevant to this camo cover, I encourage you to link back over to my previous blog entry and view the movie.  As you watch it, you will see the first style of the Alpenflage covers issued in 1956, and occasionally you will see the original covers, like mine....... but you have to look close!

There are several good websites that do a great job detailing the actual camo patterns and historical details of these covers....... if you are interested in learning more, check them out:

Here is a photo album of this early camo cover..............

And to finish things up, here is a group of photos I staged with the camo cover against natural vegetation in my yard.  I think this shows quite well how effective these two Swiss camo patterns are!

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