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Rif Brig.

Rimless Brodie Helmets

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Rif Brig.

I have a question about rimless Brodie helmets that may have been answered before, so I apologise if I'm bringing this subject up again.

I have noticed on some original examples that the brim is wider on one side than the other. The sides where the bales are attached, not front to back, but side to side.

Is this common in production or just a poor stamping job?

Does anyone have any photos of this to compare?

Thanks,

Mark

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Rif Brig.

Hello all,

Hoping any brodie helmet experts can help.

Can anyone tell me if this is an original rimless brodie helmet?

It is marked "Mirris, LS 18".

Thanks for your help.

Mark

RIM6.jpg

RIM3.jpg

RIM2.jpg

RIM1.jpg

RIM5.jpg

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Rif Brig.

Last pic.

Thanks,

Mark

rim4.jpg

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centurion

As I understand it WW1 helmets were circular but WW2 ones were elliptical

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GRANVILLE

Hi Mark.

Despite the photos it's still rather hard to gauge just how unsymmetrical the helmet(s) actually are, the lower one looks to me to be about as you would expect. The one above, minus the liner, does however look as if somethings gone awry in the manufacture of it? I can't say I've ever seen any quite like that before, but I'm sure others may have. My instinct tells me the Miris helmet is quite an early one and just maybe the brim was trimmed after the initial stamping and the machine operative did not have a particularly good eye for symmetry, but this really is a shot in the dark as to why this might have happened?

David

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Rif Brig.

Thanks for the fast replies.

Yes, it seems a bit misshapen and the bales are not opposite to each other, but do you think it is a rimless helmet?

Or, do you think that the rim has been removed?

Mark

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GRANVILLE

Always very hard to say for certain one way or the other, but in the case of this helmet you can see places the textured paint runs right up to the edge of the brim and to me there seems to be no evidence of the tell-tale tide mark you often get to see when a rim protector has come adrift or been removed. It looks to me to have been early enough in manufacture to have been made without a protector in the first place.

David

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CGM

There is a very interesting article about the development of the Brodie in the Engineering and Technology Magazine (so the engineering of the helmet is well discussed).

This extract comes from the piece about the first, rimless examples.

The Brodie's wide inverted bowl shape, approximately 12in long by 11 1/4in wide, with a lined weight of around 2.4lb (variance between surviving examples suggest precise size consistency was not always a major issue in regard to quality control –

This thread has a link to the magazine, which has several articles re WW1.

You have to register to read them but do not have to be an engineer. (I am not.)

CGM

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wainfleet

That is an original helmet with nothing wrong about it. The misalignment is just, as you suggest, due to a poor stamping job. They do vary a bit in shape, though such obvious asymmetry is a bit unusual.

It's clear from the paintwork that the helmet has never had a rim. The switch to the second pattern of liner took place before the addition of the rim, and rimless helmets with this pattern of liner are relatively common. What you have there is a piece probably produced in mid to late 1916.

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Rif Brig.

Thanks everyone for all the helpful information, much appreciated!

Mark

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Lammy

This helmet should be magnetic!? I have one myrrys logo LS 18

mine is a magnetic brimless.!

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aef1917

As far as I have been able to determine, there is no reason to get hung up on magnetic vs. non-magnetic.  I have several different specifications for WWI British helmets, which make no mention of it, or the composition of the steel.  The only thing that mattered with regard to the helmet shell was passing the ballistic test.

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Lammy

The first 4,400 were apparently made of magnetic steel , before the order change of oct 1915 , was changed to manganese steel which is non-magnetic.!

Edited by Lammy
Spelling mistake

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aef1917

Steel specifications for the Type B and Type D steel helmets.  Nowhere do they specify magnetic/non-magnetic, nor do they require a specific composition of the steel

TypeB.jpg.84f00323a4891a289a9f6b702bdd44a9.jpg

TypeD.jpg.636093711cf426458cc95d715e7dc7f5.jpg

 

The US Ordnance Department found that the steel used in British helmets was not all the same.  "[H]is office" refers to the office of the US Military Attache in London, which forwarded a number of British helmets for evaluation.

RIA.jpg.9ecfb8d50eee14a80f169ad0a02881f8.jpg

 

The report from Rock Island Arsenal used to prepare the specifications for the US m1917 helmet also notes that the British specifications had no requirement for the exact composition of the steel.

steel.jpg.0992aa901f8d51cf0b1849cb7e5dcc69.jpg

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Michael Haselgrove

For what it is worth I agree entirely with aef1917. 

Michael.

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Lammy

Brodie H.S.Helmets refers to hadfields manganese steel.!

 

1973572153_WarOfficerelatingtotheTypeDhelmetdated1915.jpg.94329d3709740bab349b572a64c34498.jpg

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aef1917

It's more likely that it stands for the "hardened steel" that the same specification calls for in the section on steel plates.

Hardened.jpg.94034c8de5f66ecfe75708e880c4125d.jpg

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Lammy

Adding 0.73% manganese to the mix would in fact, make the steel non-magnetic.

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Lammy

Manganese steel, also called Hadfield steel or mangalloy, is a steel. Renowned for its high impact strength and resistance to abrasion in its hardened state, the steel is often described as the ultimate work hardening steel.

Edited by Lammy

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Lammy
Quote

Brodie’s concept never claimed to be entirely original: it was informed by the medieval infantryman’s ‘kettlehat’ or chapel de fer (in use in England between the 11th and 14th Century), but was constructed from a single outer component that was pressed from a thick sheet of steel, which gave it additional strength. It was a shallow near-circular bowl’with a wide brim around the edge, containing a simple padded crown, and an oilcloth liner riveted to the centre of the bowl’via a transverse belt. A leather chinstrap held in place by ‘bales’ connected to split pin lugs.

The first Brodie design, the ‘Type A’, had a ‘raw’ or ‘un-edged’ brim of about 1 3/4-2in wide, and was also made of mild steel. Type A Brodies were in production for just a few weeks, and only a limited run of 4,400 units was made, destined for the Allied Front Line.

Initial production was halted when distinguished metallurgist Sir Robert Hadfield (1858-1940) stepped in with a proposal to alter the method of manufacture slightly. This next version was called the ‘Type B’, and its production began in October 1915.

The Type B shell used mangalloy, or Hadfield’s steel as it came to be known – a manganese steel alloy that Hadfield discovered in 1882. The 10-15 per cent manganese content contained about 1 per cent carbon, making it a non-magnetic steel with higher impact strength and improved abrasion resistance when the correct work-hardened state was achieved.

The process of Type B manufacture had to be precise or the alloy would have become too brittle and therefore useless for the battlefield. The bowl was formed from pressings from 20 gauge (or .036in) sheets of the 12 per cent manganese alloy.

Hadfield’s steel was highly resistant to shrapnel, airburst fragments and other debris such as stones and solid plant material thrown-up by bombardments. Some sources suggest that Type Bs increased protection by up to 10 per cent over Type As, and 50 per cent over French Adrians.

“The Brodie, although cheap and simple to manufacture, gave good protection from falling shrapnel and secondary, low-velocity fragments,” explains the Imperial War Museum’s Martin Boswell. “The liner system, although not entirely satisfactory from a wearer’s point of view, was perhaps arguably the best [available] at that time.” 

He adds: “The attached buffer tubes helped to decrease the blunt trauma of a dent that otherwise would have caused substantial wounding to the wearer’s skull – and thus saved countless lives.”

The Brodie’s wide inverted bowl shape, approximately 12in long by 11 1/4in wide, with a lined weight of around 2.4lb (variance between surviving examples suggest precise size consistency was not always a major issue in regard to quality control – although, in theory, less than ’in could make a life-or-death difference in combat), was fashioned to provide protection for the wearer’s head and, to some extent, also their neck and shoulders. The curved bowl shape could prove deflective to lower-velocity objects; its relative shallowness, however, offered less protection to the lower skull and neck than the deeply-flanged German Stahlhelm helmet.

Mark I helmets weighed approximately 2lb 4oz. When prototypes were being developed and tested, attention was given to weight and balance issues: the Brodie had to be tolerable for constant wear over a period of hours, maybe even days. If a combat helmet was so uncomfortably heavy that a wearer was minded to take it off if it became too much, or felt that it encumbered their fighting effectiveness, it would, of course, obviate its purpose.

Brodies into battle

The advent of the Brodie helmet was not received with unanimous approval within’the British Army of 1915, possibly due’to the fact that, in some cases, senior officers were not consulted during its development and introduction, and may have been resentful for having it foisted upon them. “A rumour circulated that some generals thought [Brodies] looked ‘unsoldierly’,” reports historian John Hughes-Wilson, “and that they would make the men go ‘soft’.”

More practical criticism came from Field Marshal Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer (1857-1932), who as commander of the BEF Second Army in May 1915, won an overwhelming victory at the Battle of Messines in June 1917. This battle started with what was then described as “the loudest explosion in human history”, created by the simultaneous explosion of 19 mines by the Royal Engineer tunnelling companies.

According to military historian and curator of military history at Lancashire County Museums, Dr Stephen Bull, Plumer considered the Brodie’s surface to be “too shallow, too reflective, too sharp at the rim”, with a lining that was “too slippery” – i.e., the basic leather belt-fixed liner meant that it was slipping on wearers’ heads.

Modifications were certainly made to the Mark I Brodie helmet when it entered mass production later that year. These included a ‘rolled’ rim – covering the raw edges and making the helmets less hazardous in confined spaces, and a ‘cushioned’ liner that was later to include rubberised cushion blocks. A textured paint, often mixed with sawdust or sand grains, finish was also applied. Wearers were also permitted to fit an exterior sacking cover that camouflaged the outer bowl.

The initial version of the Brodie was issued for active service in April 1916 at the Battle of St Eloi. “Initially there were nothing like enough helmets to go round,” according to Dr Bull, “so they were designated as a ‘trench store’, to be kept in the Front Line and used by each unit that occupied the sector. It was only by the summer of 1916, when the first million Brodies had been produced, that it could be regarded as general issue.”

The Mark I Brodie was also subsequently adopted by Commonwealth and American Expeditionary Forces following their entry into the war. Produced in many overseas factories, it continued in service long into the 1920s and beyond – in the late 1930s some Mark Is were refurbished with new liners and chin straps and chin strap lugs and then redesignated the ‘Mark I*’).

It was gradually replaced by the Mark II in the early years of the Second World War. 

 

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Buelligan

Hi, please forgive my complete ignorance.  I'm new to this subject but have read a little and watched some youtube vids (the limit of my tiny knowledge). I'd like to learn more. 

 

Can I ask, if I find a helmet, with a rim protector but also with the MK1 type liner (single leather strap over head to top rivet), which also appears to have some very faint (unreadable) date stamp and maker's initials next to the chin strap lugs, am I to assume this is a made up thing, rather than original?  I thought that those liners were withdrawn before the rim protectors and manufacturers marks/date stamping commenced, am I wrong?  Again, as a complete noob, I would have imagined that early liners were far more perishable (and therefore, rarer,) than the steel helmets themselves, so why would someone put an early liner into a later shell?  Advice and thoughts eagerly anticipated.  

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Dave1418
On 03/12/2019 at 08:22, Buelligan said:

Hi, please forgive my complete ignorance.  I'm new to this subject but have read a little and watched some youtube vids (the limit of my tiny knowledge). I'd like to learn more. 

 

Can I ask, if I find a helmet, with a rim protector but also with the MK1 type liner (single leather strap over head to top rivet), which also appears to have some very faint (unreadable) date stamp and maker's initials next to the chin strap lugs, am I to assume this is a made up thing, rather than original?  I thought that those liners were withdrawn before the rim protectors and manufacturers marks/date stamping commenced, am I wrong?  Again, as a complete noob, I would have imagined that early liners were far more perishable (and therefore, rarer,) than the steel helmets themselves, so why would someone put an early liner into a later shell?  Advice and thoughts eagerly anticipated.  

Hi

by your very exact description have you already found this helmet 

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wainfleet
On 03/12/2019 at 08:22, Buelligan said:

Can I ask, if I find a helmet, with a rim protector but also with the MK1 type liner (single leather strap over head to top rivet), which also appears to have some very faint (unreadable) date stamp and maker's initials next to the chin strap lugs, am I to assume this is a made up thing, rather than original?

 

No. That's a legitimate combination for a rimmed helmet. The rim was officially added in 1916 (August IIRC) and began to make its appearance around the turn of that year. The very first liner was a 6-tongue affair that riveted directly to the crown of the helmet, with a 2-piece chinstrap affixed to the lugs that served as the one-piece chinstrap guides on the second pattern liner. The first pattern liner will only be found on rimless helmets. The second pattern liner is also legitimately found with rimless helmets, some put in during initial production and some as replacements for liners that became unserviceable.

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