Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Swiss Model 71 Helmet & Alpenflage Helmet Cover, circa 1978, M71 Helmet

Here is another recent helmet that I acquired for my collection.  It is a Swiss Army Model 71 (M71, 1971) steel helmet.  This helmet completes my Swiss combat gear from the 1970's and 1980's.  

In typical Swiss fashion, these helmets are built to an incredibly high standard..... heavy leather, super-heavy stitching, solid steel hardware and perfect fitting of parts and components.  There is even a break-away junction fitting on the chin strap!

These helmets replaced the earlier M18, WW1 styled helmets.  They are officially designated as Model 71, but were not standard issue in the Swiss Army until 1975.  In 1990, a new version of the helmet came out with a hanger ring on the rear rim of the helmet shell.  These helmets are designated Model 71/90 (M71/90).  Many of the older M71 helmets were retrofitted at this time.  The very first M71 helmets were issued in black paint, but the color was quickly changed to green.  A white version of the helmet was produced for medics and a blue version for use with the United Nations detachments.  The standard helmet cover for this model helmet was the distinctive Alpenflage pattern, and later the green version of camo in the 1990's.  There was also a white version for winter snow camo.  The Swiss Military Police had a large "P" on white, panted on the the front of the helmet and also had a unique helmet cover that was similarly marked.  There were two shell sizes produced, with 5 known liner sizes: 53-54, 55-56, 57-58, 59-61, 62-63.  My liner is marked as a 59-61, and uses the large sized shell.  For a great bit of history and information on these helmets, you should check out this forum thread over a the The Swiss Rifles Message Board .

I have quite a few blog pages about the various Swiss Alpenflage uniforms, field gear and helmets, and even a few movies of the troops at work.  Instead of listing links to all of the pages, just type in "Swiss" into the blog search bar in the upper left of the page and you will get all of the blog pages about this great gear.  There are a number of pages, so be sure to hit "Next Posts" to see them all!

The helmet shell on my helmet is marked, "BT78", which indicates that the shell was manufactured by Bronzewarenfabrik Turgi, in 1978.  The liner is marked on the reverse side of one of the leather pads, with  "H.R.P.T. 78", indicating that it was manufactured in 1978 (unknown manufacturer).  There is an original soldier ID tag tied onto the liner with the soldier's name.  I can't quite make out the spelling, but the first initials are L & M.   These initials are also written on one of the leather pads with ball-point pen ink.

There is one very unique feature that I have not seen on any other military helmet.  One of the "Y" connector fittings on the chinstrap, is made to break away when pulled.  You will notice that there is a pin-gate that snaps in place to close the fitting......... very interesting and cool!

I have fitted this helmet with an original Alpenflage helmet cover.  It is held on with rim clips and is adjusted with a rear drawstring.  

And now here is the photo album of my Swiss M71 helmet and Alpenflage helmet cover:

To finish things up, here are a few photos of these M71 helmets in use.  The last photo shows the late model green camo:


Anon said...

Do these covers fit on m88 helmets?

Sharky said...

I am not certain if these covers will fit the M88 helmets. I would guess that they will not. These are tailored to exactly fit the M71 steel helmets. The clips are thin, so they will fit tightly over the thinner, metal M71 helmets. I believe the newer helmets are composite, so the clips would not fit. If anyone has tried these covers on the newer helmets, then let us know if these work!