IJA TANKER HELMET
EARLY "SOFT" VERSION
Imperial Japanese Army winter leather helmet
This winter helmet is somewhat of a mystery. Recent research indicate it being a tanker helmet rather than a flying helmet.
Other reliable sources confirm it may very well have been also used as a flying helmet. For this reason we present this helmet on our website.
For both we are lacking photographic evidence so far, so any proof provided by our visitors would be more than welcome.
(The later and better known version of this type of helmet featured a hard leather shell, so was definitely destined for tanker crews.)
It features the following characteristics:
- stitched size marking, indicating a large size helmet, on the left side above the chin strap
- chin strap with double ring buckles
- lack of army star (removed post-war, or never present?)
The basic construction consists of six triangular segments in a pin-wheel pattern, which would be a typical feature for naval aviation helmets. Anyway, there is a complete lack of insignia to indicate any branch of service. The only marking present is a very fainted and unfortunately illegible ink stamp inside the helmet.
The lining consists of two types of rabbit fur, combined with a lozenge-quilted lining on top, fixed to the inner shell by a cloth mesh stitched to a soft insulating material.
The outer shell is made of dark brown leather, including a leather chin strap, double ring buckles, a reinforcement strap of leather encompassing the helmet at the height of the brim, and top hinged earflaps snapped down horizontally by means of three stud fasteners each. The latter would allow Gosport tubes or electrical earphones to be inserted for communication.
Noteworthy is the lack of goggle retaining straps and any type of tightening strap.