Addenda
Since the publication of RUSSIAN HELMETS in 2002 several points have been clarified and may well be joined by other data as time passes. This section is designed to address that post-publication information.

The Soviet Kaska Model 1928
No photo of the M-28 was available at the time of publication. Since then, Toomas Salazar in Estonia, has been kind enough to send a photo given to him by the collector David Webster, comparing the French M-15 used both by Tsarist and Red Army troops with the M-28 designed by a team which included M-36 designer Senior Lieutenant Aleksandr A. Shvartz. Rather than create a new shape or construction system, the team, after lengthy debate, decided simply to produce a modestly expanded version of the French M-15. Thus the photos in the book on pages 18-19 and page 21 do indeed show Red Army troops wearing M-28s. The photo above shows the M-28 on the left and the French M-15 on the right. The photo below, of the interiors, shows the use of similarly designed liners, but with obvious differences. Again, the M-28 is on the left and the M-15 on the right.
Brass Romanov M-15 (p. 10)

Post publication information suggests that the brassed helmet shown on p. 10 is not an authentic parade helmet but rather a recent "notional" restoration. Brass seems never to have been applied to helmets of forces fighting on the Western front or in Russia itself, that metal being inextricably bound to the idea of firefighters' helmets. Also, the hanging system is that of a later model from the 1920s rather than the M-15. The Romanov badge is right, the shell is right. The rest is imagination.

The Kaska M-36 "Khalkingolka"

This helmet is referred to in the book as the "Shvartz" to designate it by the name of its designer. However, within the Soviet Red Army of the 1939-1941 era, the helmet was known as the "Khalkingolka." The helmet was first used in action by Soviet forces fighting an undeclared, short but fierce war with Japanese army forces in Mongolia near the river known as the Khalkin Gol. The photo of two Red army soldiers linking up is shown on p.37; they are each wearing what would become known as the Khalkingolka. It is a battle still virtually unkown in Western histories of the wartime era, but was decisive in convincing the Japanese not to attack the Soviet Union from the East. Marshal-to-be Zhukov was one of the victorious armor commanders in that triumph.

Production Locations

Although the Soviets produced combat helmets at about twenty factories, they were all done as sidelines to larger equipment. Typically they were made in their largest numbers in factories whose main product was tanks. Armor scrap steel was the necessary ingredient for helmet production. Thus they were produced in factories that had access either to tank or to aviation armor.

Fakes

At the moment, the most sought after M-40s are those manufactured and used during the Great Patriotic War from 1941 to 1945. Caution should be used when looking at factory stamps that seem to come from 1943 at the Leningrad Metallurgical Factory (LMZ). The proper chemical can remove portions of the the Soviet made India ink of the stamp for l948 making it appear to be a 1943 product. The LMZ stamp by 1948 had been changed and stylized so that unless the logo is removed it is quite easy to identify a postwar 1948 that has had its date altered (see p. 120 of the book).

Faking Soviet helmets is not really a big business yet, but the most typical repaint job to seemingly increase rarity is to stencil anchors and stars on a gray helmet to represent Soviet naval infantry (marine) helmets. Care should be exercised in considering such helmets. If the paint job is too good to be true, it probably is.

Italian M-33 versus Soviet SSh-39

The controversy over whether or not the M-39 helmet shell was simply a direct copy of the Italian M-33 will continue until all Soviet helmet design archives are open. The general similarity is obvious. But the Italian M-33 was, in fact, not the only conceptual ancestor of the full head-coverage design that eventually dominated the combat helmets of WW II. The idea of providing protection from the sides as well as the top in terms of modern ballistics was well recognized by the end of WW I by a wide assortment of European powers, including Sweden and Switzerland who did not actively participate in the conflict.

Soviet evidence seems clear that the remnants of the Shvartz design team did indeed consider simply copying the M-33. The photo on p. 41 clearly shows a 1938 experimental with the shell design of the M-33. But they moved on from that to a model with a significantly different side outline (the pronounced side dips) with a round, rather than pointed, front visor and a significantly wider aspect. The final liner of the SSh-39 was of the stocking type and bore no resemblance to that of the M-33. The SSh-39/40 shell seems to be a derivative of the M-36 that passed through a copy of the M-33 to the unique design that characterized Soviet army helmets until the SSh-68.

I asked a local metal design-engineering consultant with specific knowledge of evolutionary design, to examine the M-33 and SSh-39 helmets "blind" -- that is, without telling him any of the history of the two helmets. His first response was that the M-33 appeared to be a conceptual derivative of the SSh-39 bowl. The side dips had been smoothed out, the size of the bowl reduced and brought closer in to the head. To him, the M-33 would be a much easier helmet to manufacture and seemed more modern. When he was told that the M-33 considerably predated the SSh-39 his response was one of disbelief.

Film buffs may have noticed another perspective on the similarity between the Italian M-33 and the SSh-39/40 shell. When Hollywood made a movie of "Cross of Iron" they chose to equip their Soviet soldiers with Italian M-33s. Sam Peckinpah, the director, was quoted as saying that they had originally planned to use Bulgarian Soviet-style helmets (which, in fact, were copies of the M-33) but no such helmets were available when the movie was made. The studio later acknowledged that they had used repainted Italian helmets, which they claimed were copies of the Russian helmets!

The SSSh-94 Sphere-S

Based on the earlier titanium plated siege/assault helmet design, the Russians produced a steel plate version adopted for MVD use in 1994. Detailed description and photos.

Rare Soviet Fire/Civil Defense Helmet

A very rare civil defense helmet with large rivets. Detailed description and photos.

Versions of the SSh-39 Stamped "Training"

Rare version of the hybrid SSh-39 shell with SSh-40 liner, stamped "Uchebny" ("training").
Detailed description and photos.

Correction to information on wartime producers' stamps

The only wartime helmets in any numbers should bear the CT, the 3KO, or the LMZ (for Lysma) stamp. Other stamps should be regarded with great caution.
Detailed description

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