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Romanian Army Steel Helmets

Adrian helmet M15 (Cască Adrian model 1916)

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Heavy losses among Romanian military personnel during the Great War due to enemy fire, splinters and shrapnel led to introduction of protective headgear the most reliable being steel helmets already in use by other participants. Thus French Adrian helmets (Le casque Adrian M1915) were ordered by Romania in autumn 1916 and 90,000 pieces were delivered in January next year. They were issued to the troops in spring 1917.

According to the year those helmets were ordered they were designated as “Cască Adrian model 1916”.

Helmets were painted in grey-blue color (so called “bleu artillerie” or “horizon blue”) while darker color variations are known as well.

Distinctive Romanian badge in form of an oval plate bearing a cipher of the King Ferdinand I (two letters “F” topped by a royal crown) was attached to the front.

Helmets were painted dark chocolate brown in early 20s and olive khaki since 1925 when a new uniform was adopted.

During the reign of King Carol II (June 08, 1930 – September 06, 1940) the badge was changed and had new king’s cipher (two letters “C” topped by a royal crown).

After Romania opted for Dutch helmets in 1939 obsolete Adrain helmets with removed badges were issued to reserve and second line troops. There they were painted with different colors, e.g. black for anti-aircraft artillery units.

It’s worth mentioning here that Adrian helmets were still in use as late as 1970s as various civil defense units were equipped with remaining WWI headgear painted red. 

Steel helmet M1939 (Cască model 1939)

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Romania started search for a new supplier of headgear in 1937 aiming to replace obsolete Adrian helmets. As a result of negotiations between Romanians and Dutch that took place in August 1938 in Bucharest, an order of 300,000 helmets was placed at the Dutch manufacturer VerBliFa (Vereenigde Blikfabrieken) on September 05, 1938. Dutch helmet M34 (Helm Model 1934) has been chosen as a base model. An additional order for 800,000 pieces followed soon.

Helmets designated M1939 (Cască model 1939) were painted olive khaki and most of them had distinctive Romanian badge in form of an oval plate bearing a cipher of the King Carol II (two letters “C” topped by a royal crown) attached to the front. This badge had to be removed after abdication of Carol II that followed on September 06, 1940 but sometimes that order wasn’t carried out properly.

M1939 helmets were manufactured and supplied to Romanian army up to middle 1942.

Captured Dutch helmets (Căştii olandeze M27, M34)

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Captured Dutch helmets M27 (Helm Model 1927) and M34 (Helm Model 1934) were handed over to Romanian allies by Germans after the Netherlands surrendered in May 1940.

Dutch emblems were removed and replaced by distinctive Romanian badges in form of an oval plate bearing a cipher of the King Carol II (two letters “C” topped by a royal crown).

Steel helmet M1939/1942 (Cască model 1939/1942)

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Modified model of M1939 helmet was manufactured by the Dutch company VerBliFa (Vereenigde Blikfabrieken) since 1943 and was designated M39/42 (Cască model 1939/1942). Its only difference from the previous model was that steel helmets M1939/1942 were fitted with German M1931 lining produced by Biedermann und Czarnikow (Berlin).

Traditional frontal badge was missing.

 

 

German steel helmets M1935, M1940 and M1942 (Căştii germane M35, M40, M42)

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Due to necessity of better protection of military personnel from cavalry and mountain troops Romania ordered 800,000 German M35 steel helmets by the end of 1942. In fact these helmets were provided by the Germans on early stages of the Operation Barbarossa throughout the war but seemingly it was a local initiative of German field commanders who issued limited quantities of headgear to their Romanian allies in areas of joint operations.

Some Romanian units were also issued with other models of German steel helmets, i.e. M40 and M42. 

Romanian jump helmet (сască de salt)

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Leather jump helmets were used by Romanian paratroopers before German M38 helmets were issued to troops in 1943. Those helmets were made of brown leather and had a stiffened semicircular protective cap on top with two soft flaps covering ears and having a fastener. 

 

German paratroopers helmet M1938 (Fallschirmschützen-Stahlhelm M38)

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German paratroopers steel helmets M38 were issued to Romanian troops in 1943 after military personnel completed training in Germany in 1942-1943.

Standard grey color was used as well as various color schemes and camouflage applicable by soldiers at the field. Sometimes even German decals were still preserved.

 

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