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Remembered Today:

British helmet


roel22
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Something that comes to mind every now & then: what was the idea behind the very typical design of the British helmet? Hardly any protection for the neck, which German, French & other helmets do have...

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The main idea = it's to protect the head against shrapnel, not supposed to be bullet proof and never conceived of as such. In design, it is basically an updated version of the medieval kettle hat. It is a compromise solution in many respects - made of 12% manganese steel which will prevent low-medium velocity projectiles (shrapnel balls, chunks of earth, wood etc) from penetrating, it deforms badly and will tend to crush into the head - if not inflicting fatal wounds then certainly making you a casualty. Don't forget the much quoted 80% reduction in fatalaties from head wounds statistic when helmets introduced - leads to increase in casualties, many with the kinds of wounds caused by the crumpling of the metal into the head. It is cheap to make, easy to produce in large numbers, the flexible nature of the manganese steel meaning it can be pressed out in one movement.

Cheap, easy to make and just about does the job it was designed to do. Good reasons why the Americans adopted it so quickly.

re: French 'Adrian' helmet, it was less effective than supposed since a lower grade steel was used. It was more complicated to manufacture than the British helmet requiring several stages of production.

re: German helmet, best all round protection with better quality steels, v. like a C15th sallett.

Good question though - why not copied? Well, several experimental American designs v. much like the German helmet were considered but none entered serious production. Swiss helmet was also very much like the German.

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Very clear answer: thank you Simon!

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