Original French M45 Joan of Arc Mle45 Helmet - Dated 1950
Original Item: Only One Available. This rare example of the Mle45 French helmet is offered in very good condition with original paint, complete liner, complete chinstrap, leather bumper and it is dated 1950 on the interior. Size is approximately 56cm (US 7).
It was 1939, the world plunged into war once again, and this time, France took the brunt of the action as the Germans marched around the Marginot Line, and into France from Belgium. The French wore utterly defeated and DeGaulle was expelled to England. Marshall Petain, a WWI veteran who fought against the Germans, stayed and ruled under the banners of Vichy France, a Nazi vassal state. Petain, enthralled by their German ally's superior M35 Stahlhelms, decided to revamp the aging M26 Adrian helmet. With flared rims (distinctive German), leather bumpers in front and a vestigial crest from the original Adrian, Petain created the first "non-Adrian silhouetted' helmet prototype for his Vichy troops. Then came D-Day and the end of the 'Thousand-Year" Reich. DeGaulle returned and Petain was out of the picture. Even though the war was over, another was about to erupt in France's Indochina. With this exigency, DeGaullo packed up where Petain left- the M1945 Jeanne d'Arc helmet.
The Crest: Tho Adrian's distinctive crest was kept in the M45. Although too small to deflect saber blows, this vestige of a crest does not only provide ventilation but also gives out an aura of French military 'Haute-Culture'.
The Leather Bumper: WWII gave rise to armored warfare. Although the French lagged behind the others (they used WWI tanks against the Germans in WWII), it's ready for a change. The leather bumper, with its ability to absorb shock, enabled this helmet to be used by tankers.
The Contour: This last variant of the Adrian marches on to the future with flared rims and more head protection than its WWII counterpart. It was said that the French actually based this design on a Medieval Bougournette helmet worn by Joan of Arc, hence its name.
The Liner: A clear carbon copy of the US Riddell suspension of the M-1 Helmet, the liner foreshadowed the helmet's demise. With heavy US Influence with the Marshall Plan, France became America's stout ally in NATO. As part of NATO, the French must adopt a US styled helmet for uniformity, and that is why this one was phased out so quickly. It was replaced by the French M51. virtually a U.S. M-1 helmet made in France. In all, only 10,000 M45's were ever made.
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