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    Part Two, Manufacturing and Issuing of the Type 90 Helmet

    Here, we continue the story of the Type 90 helmet, how they dealt with expansion of production.

    First, some loose topics left over from the development story.

    Prototypes and patents
    Folding Helmet
    During the prototyping process, inventions required to be patented by the Army, so no private person should later demand credit and royalties. One such novel idea that applied for a patent (application no. 11453, November 1928) in the course of the development of the type 90 helmet was a folding steel helmet invented by Army Artillery Captain, Tadashi Sato, a Tokyo resident. Of course, as an Army officer, Sato had already signed his consent to hand over the rights to his design to the Army in October and as with all Army patent applications, it was handled as a secret patent that does not get posted to the public.
    As can be seen from the field evaluation criteria, the Army was concerned with portability of the helmet when it was not in wear. As the official designation of Close Combat equipment suggests, the helmet was a weapon item for close combat use only and not meant for general wear as part of the uniform, the visor cap still being the official headgear. Thus a folding helmet was seen as a practical solution to facilitate portability.
    An example of this prototype survived and exists today in a Japanese collection.

    New Steel alloy patent
    In April 1933, the patent office granted patent number 100433 for a new low manganese steel alloy for helmets, using chrome, molybdenum and vanadium. This patent was applied for in December 1931 as application no. 14144 and was the invention of Army Artillery Lt. Colonel, Masakuni Sugimoto of Nishinomiya City. Though this application was made only a year after the introduction of the Type 90 helmet, there is little doubt that this was what the Type 90 announcement referred to as the special steel alloy. This same officer had also been granted a patent in 1928 for a steel alloy for bullet shields and the 1933 patent appears to be a reduced manganese variant of this earlier work.
    A secret order placed by Chiang Kai-shek in Nanking in the Spring of 1930 for Japanese Weapon supply included a request for 4 helmet samples of the new helmet, but the Army order releasing these samples specifically states that they were to be supplied in non-treated steel.
    This patent was later declassified on March 31, 1936 by the Army, who no longer saw the need for secrecy.



    Production ramp up of the Type 90 helmet by Kobe Steel and Japan Steel Works during 1931
    The Osaka Arsenal contracted Kobe Steel (神戸製鋼所) to produce Type 90 helmets as well as personal body armor, but the manufacturer soon realized they needed to do their own testing on the firing range to optimize the helmet design for large scale production, and for this built their own range, but now they had to get hold of the special rifles and ammunition that the Army developed for helmet testing. First, in a letter dated August 27th, 1931 Kobe Steel requested the Army for the supply of the Army modified rifles. One, a Murata Rifle modified to 12.6mm caliber for helmet testing, and the other a Type 38 modified to 7.7mm* for the armor program. This was immediately followed the next month with a request for 100 shots of ammunition for the guns. In order to be more efficient, Kobe Steel further decided to add testing of the steel sheets before production, and thus went back to the Army with another request for 200 rounds in October.

    Then at the end of November 1931, a similar request was filed this time from the Nihon Seikou (Japan Steel Works日本製鋼) of Tokyo, who at the time was in the process of pre-production prototyping.
    They requested the 12.6mm Murata Rifle and specified their required 100 rounds of test ammunition spec as one with a “300 meters residual velocity as measured 5 meters away from the gun muzzle”.

    *Separate from the 7.7mm, modified Type 38 rifles prepared for armor testing, a proper 7.7mm prototyping program was
    underway in 1929, which was a different gun using a shorter barrel and a larger cartridge.

    Helmets to the front! (1931-1932)
    On September 18, 1931, just when production of the type 90 helmets had started to pick up, the Japanese Army staged a sabotage of the railway near Mukden to create an excuse to invade Manchuria.
    This was the Manchurian Incident that will lead to the establishment of Manchukuo the following year and a full-scale war with China in 1937. The Kwantung Army dispatched its troops, who arrived wearing their cherry blossom helmets received in the summer of 1928, and an order was placed for 24,780 Type 90 helmets to cover the immediate needs of the action in Manchuria. However, when in close succession, the Shanghai Incident of January 1932 broke out and stoked the fire in the Continent, the Army and Navy were all mobilizing, causing a rush for helmets.
    A telegram classified “secret” dispatched on December 18th, 1931 from the Chief of Staff of the Kwantung Army addressed to the Vice Minister of the Army, reminded that the new troops to be sent to the continent should already come equipped with the new steel helmet and belts for the extreme cold climate outer wear. In order to cope with such contingency needs of newly formed units to be sent to Manchuria, the Army main arsenal was ordered to supply 1,000 helmets to the Kokura Arsenal and 3,060 pieces to the Hiroshima arsenal that month. And at the end of December, a request for 2,000 helmets from the Kwantung Army for its new troops was to be supplied to the 20th Infantry Division, which was to carry them upon their departure to the continent.
    While the Navy swallowed its pride to beg the Army to sell them Army weapons and 1,700 old cherry blossom helmets to supply their Landing Forces bound for the continent, in February 1932, the Army dispatched a panicked message to its divisions remaining in Japan and its schools that they should return their type 90 helmets ASAP for forwarding to Manchuria.

    Helmet donations welcome (1932-)
    Whoever it was that got the idea, from this time, the Army would solicit helmet donations from the public, and thousands of helmets were donated to the cause of Manchuria already in January and February of 1932. These helmets came from the Veteran’s Leagues, The Patriot Women’s Leagues, etc, who will collect donations in cash and deliver that to the Ministry of the Army, who would have the arsenal turn them into helmets. At this time, a donation of 13.5 Yen bought the Army one helmet. This practice will continue for years, and donors would get a citation of gratitude, later ones in Tojo’s name as Minister of the Amy.


    Phasing out of the cherry blossom model (1932)
    Finally, by summer of 1932, the supply of the new type 90 helmets for the Manchurian Incident had stabilized, and Army Manchuria Regular Ordinance 1769(陸満普第1769), dated July 22nd 1932 announced that all old type helmets in the Manchurian “Incident Theater of operations (Manchuria, China and Korea)” were to be exchanged with the new Type 90 helmet stocks from the Army Depot and costs charged to the Manchurian Incident budget. With this order, the old helmets ended their front-line duty in the Army, but continued to serve their new, but second hand owner, the Navy.


    From a weapon to uniform (1932-33)
    By Army Regular Ordinance 2748 (陸普第2748) of April 28th 1932, seven items formerly categorized as “weapons” were reclassified as “clothing items”. Among the human and horse gasmasks, anti-gas wear and body armor thus reclassified was the steel helmet. Some of these gear also went through a nomenclature change through this order and the steel helmet, which was hitherto called Tetsu Kabuto (Steel Head Armor 鉄兜) was officially renamed Tetsu Bo (Steel Hat鉄帽), more in keeping with its new identity as a component of the uniform. The classification change also meant that the Clothing Main Depot (被服本廠) would now take over the helmet business from the Army Technical Headquarters, and the 1933, April memo from the Vice Minister of the Army to the Clothing Main Depot allocated a production quota of 50,000 helmets to be supplied by the end of that year, still a relatively small number.
    Having production of cloth items and steel helmets under the same Army office must have made it easier for the Army to deal with the complaint from soldiers that their helmets baking in the sun were giving them serious discomfort in the field, as the clothing office promptly shipped out 3100 pieces of anti-heat helmet cover prototypes for the troops in China to test and finalize. These covers are discussed in a separate section.
    Army Regular Ordinance 4525 of July 26th 1932 followed through on the helmet’s change to a clothing item by instructing all that henceforth gas mask and helmet orders were to be placed with the Clothing Main Depot. This announcement also clarified the rule regarding repair of damaged helmets, which became the responsibility of the unit. Later shipping manifestos show that field units received all the necessary pieces ( liner, padding pouch for liner, rings for the straps, star insignia and paint ) to be totally self-sufficient in repairs.


    Boosting production (1935-36)
    During November to December of 1935, Nihon Tokushu Ko ( Japan Special Steel日本特殊鋼) of Tokyo obtained its tools of the trade, two modified 12.6mm Murata rifles and 1,000 rounds of the special helmet-testing rounds to join as a helmet manufacturer.
    Another manufacturer, Daido Steel Company (大同製鋼) of Nagoya, also got tapped on the shoulder by the Osaka Arsenal around the same time and placed their request for the antique weapon the next month, in January of 1936.
    In this manner, what started out as an annual production volume of 71,750 helmets in 1931 reached 430,000 units of accumulated production by 1936, and then in 1937 alone 420,000 were made, almost matching 6 years of production in a single year. Though production figures are not available from 1938 onwards, annual production is estimated to have been between 400 and 700 thousand units a year.


    Type 90 Helmet Supply to the Navy (1931-37)
    During 1931 and 1932, many ships operating off Chinese shores put in requisitions for steel helmets for its Landing Force troops and gun crews, but none of these requisition forms specify helmet type until a requisition form dated June 8, 1933 from the Naval Propaganda Office requested 50 pieces of “Model 2” helmets along with an armored car from the Shanghai Incident for PR. The Navy had bought 1,700 Cherry Blossom helmets from the Army in February 1932 for the Shanghai Incident, so now model names were given to tell them apart, giving rise to “Model 1”and “Model 2” designations.
    The first requisition document that confirms availability of the”Model 3” or Type 90 is dated November 9, 1933 in which 280 Model 3s were supplied to the 26th Destroyer Fleet and all the requisitions from the beginning of 1934 consistently mention Model 3s by name, indicating that the type 90 helmet did not see too much circulation within the Navy until 1934. Circulation is the right word, because these were “loan” items in the Navy, and once the ship was taken off patrol duty of the Chinese coast, the helmets were returned to the depot for loan to other ships and their Landing Forces. As mentioned before, they were special weapons loaned out when close encounter with the enemy was anticipated. That changed for the Army when they shifted helmets to the clothing category, while the Navy persisted to treat them as weapons, suffering shortages when general mobilizations created a rush for the limited weapons supply.
    Isoroku Yamamoto was still deskbound as the Vice Minister of the Navy when full-scale war with China (The China Incident) broke out in July 1937, causing an “all alert” situation. The following letter from him to his counterpart at the Army illustrates the Navy’s situation regarding helmets.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The advancing of steel helmet inventory August 25, 1937

    Due to this incident we find ourselves in urgent need of the weapons below and would be grateful if you would arrange for us to draw from the inventory of your Ministry.
    I would like to initiate discussions between those in charge at the working level on this matter. We will replace your stock by placing an order with the Army Clothing Main Depot.

    Steel Helmets (Official Army Standard Model) 4,000 Pieces

    Isoroku Yamamoto
    Vice Minister of the Navy

    Note Yamamoto’s reference to the helmets as a “weapon”. Also, the word for steel helmet he uses is the pre-1932 word Steel Head Armor.


    Other users of the type 90 helmet (War correspondents and Export)
    The Army design helmets were strictly military and were not available to civilians, but there were a handful of cases where Type 90s were produced without the Army star insignia in front for use outside the Japanese Army.
    One of these exceptions was helmets for war correspondents requested by Asahi Newspaper and Domei News Agency issued in 1939.
    A letter from Asahi to the Minister of the Army, dated June 17, 1939 explains, “In light of the fact that our correspondents, photographers and messengers, who have nobly given their lives to the current China Incident have all fallen due to being shot in the head…” and requested permission to procure 100 helmets for the use by such staff. In August, the other major media company, Domei News Agency made a similar request for its 50 front line newspapermen. The Army’s production order for these helmets specifies omission of the Star Insignia.

    Also, in the early days of the Type 90 helmet, frequent requisitions for Army helmets without insignia can be found coming from an organization named “The Taihei Association (World Peace Association泰平組合)”. The irony of the name is that they were an exporter of Japanese surplus weapons.
    After the Russo-Japanese War, Japan’s active weapons development rendered many weapons obsolete and the trading houses Mitsui, Okura and Takada were competing with each other in buying them up and exporting them to countries such as China, England and Russia. When Lt. General Nambu of the Type 14 pistol fame noticed the three companies bidding against each other only to benefit the foreign buyers, he suggested that they should rather team up than compete, which took the form of the Taihei Association.
    They changed names in 1939 April to Showa Trading when Takada dropped out and was replaced by Mitsubishi.
    They are shown to have shipped untreated steel versions of the type 90 prototype samples to Chiang Kai-shek in 1930, samples to Mexico in 1935 and 1939, to Peru in 1936 and 1,000 helmets to Mongolia in 1940. These were normally supplied with other weapons. These helmets, too, were devoid of any star insignia.

    The Heavy Duty Variant (Type 98) Helmet (1932-1939)

    Readers may recall that when Kobe Steel got involved in steel helmets back in 1931, it was also given the personal armor project. The Type 38 rifle, modified to 7.7mm caliber was the special test weapon for that project. One may also recall that the development objective of the Type 90 helmet was to make it as light as possible “even if the protective attributes had to be compromised within reason”.
    As would be expected, the wearability of the helmet had its cost in lives during the Manchurian Incident when taking fortified enemy positions required close range fighting, typically exposing combat engineers.
    With such users in mind, a “bullet proof” helmet was included in the personal armor program and studies began in May of 1932.
    The trade-off between weight and wearability according to the feedback from the Infantry and Engineer Schools involved in field evaluations and also the Army Medical School was that, 1 kilogram (what the Type 90 weighed) was the maximum load one could constantly keep on the head, but if it were for only a limited time, a load of up to 3 kilograms to the head would be tolerable.
    Between 1934 and 1937, Kobe Steel made 32 prototypes, including a German style design, but they finally settled to keep the Type 90 shape, and doubled the thickness of the steel to approx. 2mm from the 1mm. This meant that the weight would also almost double, now weighing 1.9 kilograms. However,
    this allowed the helmet to withstand a direct hit at 500 meters from the 7.7mm round, which would have penetrated a standard type 90 from 1000 meters away. Furthermore a 2mm thick detachable armor plate weighing 0.9 kilograms could be screwed onto the front of the helmet to withstand hits at 300 meters. Other changes to the type 90 included extending the chin straps by 20 centimeters and using kapok or plant sponge from Japanese gourds for the padding to enhance shock absorption.
    This model was finalized in 1938, August and approved for use.
    The Army’s Scientific Research Institute requisitioned 10 type 90 helmet shells in January 1934 for “Alloy research”, but whether that resulted in any improvements is questionable.
    Though some claim this helmet received the official designation of Type 98 helmet, this author has not been able to confirm this in documents from the time. Rather when the Army set up a Close Combat Advisory Commission to study techniques and weapons for assaulting fortified enemy positions, their field study report of December 1938 included comparisons between using the detachable armor plate on a normal helmet and the helmet described above, which they called the “Heavy Steel Helmet”. This terminology remained in use when the Infantry and Engineer Schools also joined these studies from late 1939 and put in their requisitions for these helmets along with the famous turtle shell armor and all forms of bullet shields, flame throwers and the like.

    #2
    Interesting reading and a lot of information I did not know before. Thanks again, Nick.

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you for your kind words

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks Nick,

        Great article.

        Just to clear up the production side processes, you've gone into some detail about the chrome-molybdenum-vanadium-steel alloy.

        And you say Chiang Kai-Shek's order, plus the later Mexican, Peruvian and Mongolian orders had 'untreated steel'. Does this mean they were made of just mild steel instead of the 'special' alloy, or was there another case hardening process (annealing) which was the 'treatment' they were lacking.

        I know looking at brushed old rusty helmets there is often a shiny blue-black surface showing in patches which does look like some form of surface treatment,?

        Steve

        Comment


          #5
          If you enjoyed reading this article, you might enjoy the following as well. They are not pinned, so if you think any should be pinned for easier access, please let the moderator know. I also write on German subjects, and they are listed at the bottom.

          The story of Japan's first helmet, the M18
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=553707

          Development of the M22 Cherry Blossom Helmet
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=553941

          Development story for the Army helmet cover
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=553716

          How to tie the chin straps on the various Japanese Steel Helmets
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=348420

          Development story for the Army field cap
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=553717

          Development story for the Navy field cap
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=553727

          Development of the tanker's helmet
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=574787

          Development of the first gas masks
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=553729

          The secrets behind Japan's first two war medals
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=553216

          The Boxer Rebellion Medal
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=554154

          Shattering the Myth surrounding the so-called Chinese Collaborator's Medal
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=553110

          Introduction to order citations
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=348221

          Introduction to court ranks found on citations
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=267456

          An introduction to Yosegaki Flags
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=266608

          Development Story of the Type 95 NCO sword
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=732303

          A Nazi Analysis on the might of Japan
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=637119

          WW1 German POWs in Japan
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=601906

          The development of communication equipment in WW2 German Panzers
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=371520

          The evolution of WW2 German flight clocks
          http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=498859

          Comment


            #6
            The historical background for the Rising Sun and Star cap badges of the Japanese Army
            http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=732214

            Comment


              #7
              Mr. Komiya, I bought this helmet from a fellow in Surabaya, Indonesia a while ago, and it seems to be a Civil Defense helmet of some sort (?) but it has the four Army-type vent holes at the top along with some weird holes drilled on the side (probably drilled by locals after the war). The navy cockade is a repro the seller had installed and I figured that it would be useful keep it there for the purpose of photographing it to indicate which side is the front. The inside has been painted blue which seems to be the norm for helmets repurposed by the Indonesians (military? paramilitary? Police? I'm not sure). Do you think this is some kind of Civil Defense helmet that ended up in Indonesia, or could it be one of the earlier helmets with the wider brim? The rusty helmet next to the mystery helmet is a Type 90. The weight of the mystery helmet seems to be a bit more than a repro Type 90 helmet I have, weighing 1~2kg.




              Rest of the photos in the linked gallery so as not to clog up the thread:
              http://imgur.com/a/TehBI

              Thank you very much in advance.
              Last edited by Walter Schmidt; 05-02-2014, 05:12 AM.
              Hello everyone!

              Comment


                #8
                I think it is civil defense. The wide brimmed Navy model is quite different as you can see here
                http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...ghlight=estate
                Also the 4 holes on top did not even exist in the type 90 prototype helmets and came only as an after thought, so earlier helmets won't have this feature. The last version of the cherry blossom helmet did have these holes, but those were manufactured after the type 90 introduction.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thank you for the info! I wonder how that even ended up in Indonesia.
                  Hello everyone!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    There were also Japanese business men stationed in Indonesia, so it would have been natural to have civilan helmets there.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      As I have noticed discussions in the forum whether a helmet claimed to be a type 98 was indeed a type 98, I offer the following addendum to my thread on the type 90 helmet

                      Bullet-proofing the Type 90 Helmet
                      Additional Armor Plates
                      The Manchurian Incident of 1931 made the Imperial Army aware of the pressing need to provide means of added protection against rifle rounds for its type 90 helmet. In May 1932 they decided to pursue two options for adding armor plating to a standard type 90. One option was the so-called “Hachimaki” or head band option, adding a ring of extra armor. The other style was to add a plate to the entire front of the helmet. Prototypes of these two styles were placed with Kobe Steel Company in June 32, and in August, after testing, the decision was reached that the addition of frontal armor was the preferred solution. A further prototype order was placed with Japan Special Steel Company, on 10th September 1932, which was delivered in October. From November of 1932 till February 1933 a batch of these prototypes went through field evaluations by the infantry school, the engineer school and the 9th Infantry Division. They all gave the thumbs up, so it was decided to seek official type approval for this spec.

                      Prototype with Integral Additional Armor
                      Further to the above, in March of 1933, a decision was made to have Japan Special Steel Company do prototyping of a helmet, having a plate thickness of 4mm in front and 1mm in the back, with an angled front design that deflected rounds better. This prototype was delivered in June and was tested at the firing range of the Tokyo arsenal in Koishikawa. This prototype had been made by welding together the front and rear plates of different gauging, but now a modified version, riveting the front and rear together, was to be prototyped, this time at Kobe Steel. This phase 2 prototype was delivered in August of 1933 and tested again at the Koishikawa range. This testing revealed that frontal armor thickness of between 2.5mm and 3mm would sufficiently protect against rifle rounds from a range of 300 meters.
                      The next round of prototyping studies were conducted between October 1934 and January 1937 by Kobe Steel, which were the 32 prototypes I previously referred to. They experimented using various thicknesses and shapes. This Kobe Steel prototype had a sharper angled front than the type 90 and front armor thickness ranged from 1.2mm to 3.97mm, resulting in a weight range of 945 grams to 3,585 grams. It was at this time that trials at the army medical school, infantry school and engineer school concluded that although one could not wear anything more than 1kg in weight for prolonged periods, a weight up to 3kgs could be tolerated, if for a very limited time.

                      In December of 1937 prototypes were now made using 2mm gauge steel in two different designs, one identical to the type 90 and another similar to the German M35 helmet. Both were to have the additional option of detachable front armor. These were tested at the infantry and engineer schools and resulted in February of 1938 in the decision to go for the type 90 shape with detachable plating in front. Final retuning of prototypes were finished in July 1938 and in August, studies were concluded and official type approval sought as the type 98 helmet also known as the heavy steel helmet. Although as I already mentioned, an army ordinance of 1932 had switched the Japanese name for Steel helmets from Tetsukabuto to Tetsubo , it is odd that the official designation for this variant was the Type 98 Tetsukabuto, not Tetsubo. This was probably to underline the positioning of the type 98 as a special armor for raids, in the same league as the turtle shell body armor developed for assault engineers, not as a piece of uniform as with the type 90 helmet.

                      Official specs for the type 98 helmet I found in a 1940 dated army document describing the arsenal of close combat hardware describes the comparison with the type 90 as follows.

                      1. Shape identical to the type 90
                      2. Shell thickness increased to 2mm from the 1mm of type 90
                      3. Weight increased to approx 1.9kg from the 1kg of type 90
                      4. Option of screwing on additional front armor of 2mm thickness and weighing 0.9kg
                      5. Surface finish of type 98 to be matte paint finish
                      6. Liner structure to be similar to the type 90, but padding material to be Kapock or Hechima, both plant sponges.
                      7. Chin straps extended by 20cm from the type 90 specs
                      8. Although, not mentioned in specs, I think one can expect to find markings of Kobe Steel in the shell, which is the “S” in a diamond.

                      So far, I have never seen an example of what I regard as an original type 98. For those who wish to check whether what they thought merely as a type 90 really could be the extremely rare type 98, here are some actual weights from my collection for benchmarking.
                      Type 90 helmet in small size/// 1133 grams
                      Type 90 helmet in large size///1181 grams
                      1922 Cherry blossom//// 941 grams
                      Star vent helmet/// 834 grams

                      Interestingly I find no mention anywhere whether the type 38 also came in small and large sizes like the type 90. My guess, however, is that they probably had the large size only, as studies leading up to the type 98 indicate that there were less head injuries when the helmet was loosely sitting on the head than when firmly held in place, mentioning the common field practice of wearing a tenugui under the helmet. This was probably also the reason why they extended the chin straps by 20 cm.
                      Another mystery is whether the provision for screwing on an additional armor plate was present at all on the type 98 helmet shell itself or whether such a mechanism was all positioned on the extra armor plating. Though I have combed the archives, nothing that shows drawings have turned up to settle this question of how the additional armor was added to the type 98.
                      Last edited by Nick Komiya; 11-09-2014, 11:32 AM.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Excellent update Nick.

                        Does it mention anywhere that the helmet should also have the star applied, or would this come under the 'shape identical to the type 90' statement?

                        Also, any mention of another lining to be fitted under the leather liner as seen on the example submitted in the Japanese forum?

                        Regards

                        Russ

                        Comment


                          #13
                          The only other thing mentioned in the official specs is the difference in ballistic performance, namely that the Type 98 helmet withstood a direct hit at 500 meters from a 7.7mm round, which would have penetrated a standard type 90 from 1000 meters away. Furthermore a 2mm thick detachable armor plate weighing 0.8 kilograms could be screwed onto the front of the helmet to withstand hits at 300 meters.
                          There is no mention of the star, but if you read my thread above, you will know how jealously the army treated the star, so one can obviously assume it was there.
                          Here is the page from the 1940 document that gives the type 98 specs.
                          Attached Files

                          Comment


                            #14
                            As a post script on the subject of the type 98 helmet, let me add that a Wikipedia article in Japanese refers to this helmet as a successor to the type 90 helmet. That, however, is nowhere close to reflecting historical truth. As item 1 in the above document states "The type 98 helmet is meant to provide protection of the head for those engaged in special operations such as close range fighting associated with attacking stronghold positions". They were rolled out as the battle developments required, along with special ladders, flame throwers, turtle body armor, bullet shields and other arsenal items developed to attack entrenched enemy positions, and once the job was done, they would go back into storage. You only borrowed them when necessary, so it was not really an issue item that you would put your name on, as you returned them, not to have to carry all that weight around. Equipment issue lists in the archives only record a trickle of these helmets delivered to troops. While the type 90 got delivered in the hundreds, a batch of 20 type 98s is about all I ran into. No wonder that surviving examples are virtually unknown.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Here's another article you probably should read if you collect Japanese militaria. I tried to explain why non-textbook modifications to soldier's gear hardly existed in Japanese items. Painting your helmet in another color to serve as camouflage, for instance, is totally normal when the helmet is seen as gear to serve the soldier. If the helmet can serve you better in another color,"why not?" goes the Western logic, but the Japanese military on the other hand had a totally different concept of the man-machine relationship. The machine/equipment was the embodiment of the national wealth, taking up precious natural resources that Japan hardly could afford, whereas human life of soldiers was seen as an overabundant and totally expendable supply.
                              Therefore from the Zero fighter plane to personal gear, the hardware was master and the soldier was merely seen as caretaker. In gun-control terms, for the Japanese, then and even more today, it was always the gun that did the killing, not the soldier. This attitude made it pretty much taboo to modify gear. http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=776058

                              Comment

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