GFELLER HAUBE

Swiss Gfeller leather winter helmet

This type of flying helmet is still quite a mystery despite being photographically well documented, and any information provided by our visitors is highly appreciated.

The basic construction consists of five sections of dark brown leather with two bottom sewn-on leather goggle strap retainers at the back which loop around two small leather retainers to finally snap down by means of two snap fasteners - an arrangement almost identical to the Bückerhaube.

The senter section is split at the rear and secured by a lace in order to allow size adjustments by the wearer for a snug fit. At the back between the goggle strap retainers a sewn-on wiring cord retainer has been added . 

It is lined with soft brown leather and a strip of chamois inside the brow. Two padded leather donuts are fitted for noise insulation.

No label or any other evidence about the manufacturer is present. It was identified as a Gfeller helmet by comparing it with a labelled specimen in another collection.

During its career it has seen some important modifications.

It has been equipped with "American style", partially sewn-on, stud fastener-secured ear pockets containing ANB-H-1 receivers with a braided Y-cord and red plug.

The chin strap buckles to the left and snaps to the right, like on the USAAF Type A-11 intermediate flying helmet.

Oxygen mask attachments consist of two studs on the left and a hook on the right. The latter is secured by two bolts and screws.

Furthermore the helmet has undergone treatment by "The Puncher", evidenced by the presence of a systematic series of small and medium aeration holes. Last, but not least, it has received an overspray in white color in order to further reduce the effects of sun and heat under a perspex canopy.

Photographic evidence shows this type of helmet in use by Swiss Me 109 pilots together with the German designed Model 10-69 oxygen mask.

Wartime helmets show some significant differences, though, the most noticeable being the "Luftwaffe style" overlapping double chinstraps which buckled up above both cheeks. 

By 1954 the Gfeller Haube was listed by the Swiss Air Force as a winter flying helmet for the North American P-51 Mustang and AT-16 Harvard/Texan.

The helmet is displayed with a Type A-14 oxygen mask like on the additional pictures on the left. Polaroid flying goggles marked "A.A.F Type B-8" are also worn.

While Swiss Air Force "comfort cable" sunglasses (possibly American Optical G-2 or Optiswiss F-343 which are derived from the USAAF AN6531-4 Type II, but with heavier frames and bridge)  provide eye protection against the sun, communication is made possible by a white Zellweger KM throat microphone. The latter is very similar in construction to the USAAF T-30  featuring the same PL-291 two pole plug, but is completey rubberized. It is attached to the wearer's throat by means of an adjustable elasticized strap fixed with two snap fasteners.

                                                                                                                                                                bcn2020-05-19