Why No tank helmet in Germany

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Sheldrake
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Re: Why No tank helmet in Germany

Post by Sheldrake » 25 Nov 2017 23:26

I spent some time as an APC mounted FOO. You could wear the head set under the 1944 pattern helmet. However, it added an extra stage in the dismount drill: Helmet off. headset off. Helmet on. climb/ jump off vehicle. It was possible to neglect this, and I have seen someone attmept to charge off looking warry while attached by the head to their vehicle. ;)

forttravel
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Re: Why No tank helmet in Germany

Post by forttravel » 17 Dec 2017 22:50

Here a picture of earalier mentioned use of para helmet by tank crew.
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Von Schadewald
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Re: Why No tank helmet in Germany

Post by Von Schadewald » 17 Dec 2017 23:19

The human skull has the resilience of an egg carton, and in some nations even WW2-style tank helmets are obligatory at ALL times

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Jan-Hendrik
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Re: Why No tank helmet in Germany

Post by Jan-Hendrik » 18 Dec 2017 07:24

If Guderian had believed that it was neccessary to introduce such stuff he had done it. I talked to many, many german tank vets, NONE, exactly none of them ever complained about not having such stuff. They loved the normal field cap...and hated the Stahlhelm...

My 2 cents

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Re: Why No tank helmet in Germany

Post by bam » 30 Mar 2018 23:01

I've just read Jason D Marks latest book, Panzerkrieg, about the three Pz.Abteilungs of the 3rd,29th & 60th Mot. Divs at stalingrad. He has used detailed German "WASt" casualty dept info to study the exact fates of the tank crews. The main cause of tank commander injuries in his book is overwhelmingly HEAD WOUNDS. His text is full of them. Majority of injuries seem to be from splinters, not whole bullets, but often the splinters are from bullets hitting nearby, especially the 14.5mm AT rifle rounds.

So I am still of the opinion that lack of head protection was a crass oversight.
I can see why German tankers weren't keen on wearing a stahlhelm, cos it was awkward, cos it wasn't designed for afv crews using earphones. Yes Jan-H, "they loved their field cap & hated the stahlhelm".. But that's my point...why didn't they design a purpose built tank helmet, one that offered splinter protection (say, mostly to the forward and sides) while at the same time being comfy and incorporating earphones. Is the answer really that it was impossible to do that? Really? I don't believe it.

As for arguing that cos Guderian didn't think it was necessary, that means it wasn't, Oh please ! I'm not a fan of his, he was fallible and he made many mistakes. He trained his tank commanders to fight with heads out, and didn't provide them any protection. Result, well read the casualty figures in Mark's book. Head injury after head injury.

Many thanks to Forttravel for the above pic proving it was possible to wear headphones and a Paratroopers helmet, as was stated in Fleischers book about Stug.Abt276, who said they were desperate to get them. It shows there was a need (among the stug boys at least) for a dedicated armored tank commander headset

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Re: Why No tank helmet in Germany

Post by Yoozername » 01 Apr 2018 04:21

I am by no means a 'tanker', but I do have about 100 hours on tracked vehicles (US Army). I can also say that you do get your bearings quickly, and your wits about you if you want to keep your teeth or not having knots on your head.

That being said, I have never been in a AFV that has run over a mine, been hit by artillery, or been pierced by a projectile. Just the reaction of the experience might get yourself injured. I would imagine that being in a aware state helps if you need to bail out.

I am surprised that a steel semi-helmet (protecting the top most skull, etc.) and padding with internal communications was not developed.

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Re: Why No tank helmet in Germany

Post by ChristopherPerrien » 10 Apr 2018 14:37

LOL, just had a thought about this, reading the above, and my mind is not fuzzy with all the meds I take in the morning

The reason the Germans had no tank helmet was many but let's say two fold mainly.

1) they were total amateurs at tank warfare and operating tanks. People may freak about that statement, but the Germans had just about no tanks of their own either in WWI or in the inter-war years as such was forbidden by the Versailles Treaty. They really didn't get into tanks until the mid-1930's and then were were at war by 39. So they had not the experience of WWI or training for 20 years that may have hinted towards needing at least a 'crash" helmet if not a 'steel pot'". Even their high usage of radios weigh against it as well and having little time there either to develop a proper radio helmet , to meld the usage of radioes particularly by TC's/ Panzer leaders leading masses of tanks on a tank themselves using radios. And a tiny note of them not having the rubber
to make such a thing possible might be considered too.

2) German tankers had the "typical" attitude of the noob and/or the brave, 1) Wearing a helmet is wearing armor , and like many warriors in many wars ,a) wearing armor can be a sign acknowledging the enemy can hurt you , and b) we as the baddest of bad don't need no friggin armor , and it is uncomfortable to wear anyway. This is a lot like why a lot of soldiers or even construction workers hate wearing helmets . Why? Dam thing is uncomfortable . And we know what we are doing, we ain't gonna get hurt.

Believe me if you have worked construction, look at who wears helmets and who doesn't. Small under the table businesses don't wear helmets because it is a cost and they are uncomfortable, larger businesses can afford helmets , plus they got all them OSHA regs. And the same thing happens , those hard hats do prevent some head injuries from occurring.

a lst minute add-They were "lucky" too, in that the tank leaders ' Didn't seem to like wearing helmets either.. So there was not as much top down push to "wear your frigging helmet" like that you hear from ground pound infantry officers, This is also like small construction firms , where the "boss"(who would have to buy them) is the dude working next to you, he don't like wearing a helmet and they are uncomfortable anyway , not some suit tie in a big office elsewhere.

Thought i'd throw this out there, from seeing the last post and looking back, having worn a variety of several helmets for years , on the ground as a soldier, on a tank as a tanker and as a construction/industrail worker both for large and small firms.

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Sheldrake
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Re: Why No tank helmet in Germany

Post by Sheldrake » 10 Apr 2018 18:53

ChristopherPerrien wrote: a lst minute add-They were "lucky" too, in that the tank leaders ' Didn't seem to like wearing helmets either.. So there was not as much top down push to "wear your frigging helmet" like that you hear from ground pound infantry officers, This is also like small construction firms , where the "boss"(who would have to buy them) is the dude working next to you, he don't like wearing a helmet and they are uncomfortable anyway , not some suit tie in a big office elsewhere.

Thought i'd throw this out there, from seeing the last post and looking back, having worn a variety of several helmets for years , on the ground as a soldier, on a tank as a tanker and as a construction/industrail worker both for large and small firms.
WW2 armies weren't as much into health and safety. The German early war tank beret was padded, but made the wear look a little silly.

bam
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Re: Why No tank helmet in Germany

Post by bam » 15 Apr 2018 18:49

Thanks sheldrake.. I hadn't really considered the lack of rubber as a reason for no tank commander helmet. Though rubber was limited, The resources needed to give one helmet to each commander would have been small compared to making just a few V2 or He177. They really could've allocated resources if they wanted to.
And please everyone, remember that aside from the reluctant panzer men, stug commanders were issued helmets and they seemed keen to wear them. Read fleischers stug Abt 276 book, where they went to the trouble of swapping black market goodies to get 30 para helmets,cos they were more ergonomic than stahlhelm. Why didn't the stug administration organise para helmets at least? Fleischer said they were limited issue by 1944,and thus very hard to obtain.

Chris Corson
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Re: Why No tank helmet in Germany

Post by Chris Corson » 25 Jan 2020 03:46

Kurt Knispel top tank ace of WWII was killed by Russian mortar shell fragments in April of 1945 while riding his Tiger II heads up in the middle of a nasty tank battle. Of course, had he been wearing a helmet of some sort he may have survived that final deadly encounter. But it is also likely the helmet limitations of situational awareness may also have caused his premature death back in 1943 or 1944, also. His backup commander was killed the same way a few hours later.

The fact remains that top tank ace of aces, if he wore anything, it was a cloth cap. And with his cap he killed 168 tanks in 4 years without being injured until that last battle in April of 1945.

I am writing a movie about the man: www.tigeronemovie.com. Finished the script last months (Dec 2019). Go and check it out and "like" my FB link.

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Re: Why No tank helmet in Germany

Post by Michael Kenny » 25 Jan 2020 07:51

Chris Corson wrote:
25 Jan 2020 03:46


I am writing a movie about the man..............
This might interest you:

https://youtu.be/pfmilK8D0_Y?t=178

Yoozername
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Re: Why No tank helmet in Germany

Post by Yoozername » 25 Jan 2020 14:50

Some reports


12.12.1944

Major Haarberg
Stabs-Ofzz.f.Sturmartillerie zbV
beim Höh.Offz.f.Pz.Art.

Nr. 10 999/44 geh.


Paratrooper helmet for the commander of the vehicle

Unlike in battle tanks, the commander of the assault cannon, also during combat, is often unprotected with his body outside the dome. Being able to freely observe the enemy terrain is much more effective than the slow and difficult to observe through artillery binoculars ( Scherenfernrohr). For this reason the commanders of the assault cannons must wear a helmet. The standard helmet is impractical because in combination with headphones or artillery binoculars it greatly hinders.

Tests performed with the helmet used by paratroopers have given very good results. Its introduction, only for the commander, is more than convenient. Brigade 202.

Command post of the Division, January 13, 1945

12. Panzer-Division
Abt. Ia
Addressed to : AOK 16

The Division claims to send 40 paratrooper helmets.

Size 58 - 60, for Pc.Reg. 29

During the course of the last operations a large number of commanders of combat cars have been low due to shrapnel and head injuries. Because we cannot continue to endure these great losses of battle tank commanders with experience from this type of enemy actions, commanders must be protected. The normal helmet, with its low and wide edges, is not suitable in addition to not being able to wear headphones under it.

Once the paratrooper helmets have been received and after having passed a test period a report on the experiences obtained will be presented.

On behalf of the Division Command
The first Staff Officer


16.02.1945

Der Generalsinspekteur der Panzertruppen
Abt. Org III

Nr. 471/45

In reference to : Brief of the Abt. Ia of 13.01.

Subject : Helmets for combat car commanders

Due to air raids the already orderly production of helmets for combat car commanders will be delayed two months. Once these helmets have been received, the requested number will be delivered to the Division for testing the troop.

The Chief of Staff

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Re: Why No tank helmet in Germany

Post by bam » 26 Jan 2020 23:24

Thanks, those facts are really interesting.
It just seems strange that the German command only woke up in 44/5 to this issue of losing irreplaceable experienced commanders to shell splinters. When I read Jason Marks superb Panzerkrieg Vol. 1, where he traces the fates of all the injured tank crews, it immediately stood out that most commanders were lost to head injuries. That was in 1942, so the evidence was there to see.
Carius stated that the losses to head wounds were justified by the gains made in having the commanders head outside, getting the advantage of situational awareness. I agree, but still feel that some sort of armoured headgear incorporating headphones was possible. The Luftwaffe had exactly those, first the SSK90 Fliegerstahlhelm of 1941, soon withdrawn,
on3537a__01.jpg
Here's the wiki description of the SSK90: The helmet's core of interlocking hinged steel plates, intended to protect against shrapnel and small-calibre machine gun fire, was covered by padding and dark brown leather. A large section of padding at the front both provided extra padding in the event of a collision, and served as a "grab-handle" to quickly put on or remove the helmet. On either side was a cut-out for earphones, and a chinstrap used the same components – including buckles, leather, and snaps – found on German paratrooper helmets. The helmet weighed about 1,9kg (Infantry stahlhelm weighs 1 - 1.45kg depending on size).
Interestingly it claims to be proof against rifle calibre bullets. The extra weight of a helmet that can stop rifle bullets (unlike Infantry helmets) is less problematic for soldiers who are mostly sitting, like aircrew AND tankers.

then there is simpler Fliegerstahlhelm 44, mostly worn by Zerstorer pilots, Me410, eg II/ZG 26
m44_lw.jpg
This helmet would clearly allow headphones without impeding awareness much.

In WW1, the Germans introduced an additional armour plate for the front of helmets, to provide bullet level protection. It was commonly called the sniper plate or visor.
ww1-german-m16-helmet-sniper-plate-3057a_1.jpg
It was heavy, so soldiers disliked it, but it proves a bullet proof helmet is possible, especially for troops who are seated.

The fragment that killed Knispel was a wicked thing, about 15cm long, 1 or 2 cm wide, a thick sliver of hard steel probably from an 85mm shell. It was found with him in his grave. Maybe a helmet could have stopped it. He certainly made it to hospital alive, briefly. The law of averages finally caught up with Kurt, with only a week of war left. A waste.
"Ich hatt' einen kameraden..."
Kurt_Knispel_worldwartwo.filminspector.com_2.jpg
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Yoozername
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Re: Why No tank helmet in Germany

Post by Yoozername » 28 Jan 2020 19:49

US tank helMet WWII, seems like it is mostly leather

https://www.militarytour.com/original-a ... 7-3-8.html

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Yoozername
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Re: Why No tank helmet in Germany

Post by Yoozername » 28 Jan 2020 19:55

https://tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/US/u ... w-helmets/
The cavalry style tank helmet. U.S. Army Photo, Rock Island Arsenal Museum.
The Rawlings helmet featured a hard top made of resin impregnated laminated paper with ten ventilation holes and two long, soft leather cheek pieces which buckled together under the chin. The liner is the same as that found in Rawlings commercial football helmets of the time, eight white fabric straps spaced evenly around the circumference of the helmet interior and connecting at and sewn to a central leather disk. Following these tests the Ordnance Technical Committee authorized the helmet to be procured and designated it the ‘Helmet, T-1.’
The Ordnance Officer at Fort Knox immediately sent in a requisition to the Artillery Division, Manufacturing Service, to procure 238 of the helmets from the Rawlings Company. The Rawlings Company is the only known producer of the cavalry style tank helmet and the company logo is impressed into the helmet neck guard (FIG 4).

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