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Finnish Militaria - Finnish War Helmets

The Issue Helmets Of Finland 1918-1945

Tuco: Mosin-Nagant Dot Net

General Helmet Information:

The Finns relied on helmets from a number of nations with only smaller numbers being manufactured on Finnish soil.  Before the Continuation War the helmets were for the most part of Finnish, Russian, French, Austrian, or German origin. After the outbreak of war in 1941 a number of helmets from other nations began to appear with these including helmets from Italy, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Sweden.  The Finns also made some limited use of Russian captured helmets (1939-40 1941-44) as well as undertaking production of the Finnish M40 helmet, which was a licensed Finnish copy of a Swedish helmet.  It is not uncommon to see in vintage period photos members of the same unit wearing a mix of helmets, in fact in some photos one will notice that every soldier has a different helmet type even though in the same unit.

Helmet Breakdowns:  

Winter War (Talvisota): November 30, 1939 - March 13, 1940  

Continuation War (Jatkosota): June 26 1941 - September 5, 1944

  1. Austrian - German - M16 M17 M18:  80,000 bought by Finland in 1920's
  2. Italian M33:  30,000 sent to Finland - Continuation War
  3. Hungarian M38:  75,000 sent to Finland  - Continuation War
  4. Swedish Helmets (various models):  26,000 sent to Finland - Late Winter War - Early Continuation War
  5. Finnish M40: 67,000 Finnish copy of Swedish model
  6. German M35 - M40 - M42: 49,000  sent to Finland  - Continuation War
  7. Czech M34:  50,000 sent to Finland - Continuation War
  8. German M35-M40 SS issue helmet: Approximately 2,000 Finns served in the SS.
  9. Finnish-Russian M16 and M17 Also Known By Some As The "Sohlberg": numbers unknown

Finnish helmet collecting can be a difficult and costly hobby for a number of reasons.  The first is that many helmets were reworked a number of times post WW2,  so it is somewhat problematic to locate vintage WW2 issue items.  Another problem for the collector is that the reissue of these helmets means more will be damaged or lost in field use, which further cuts down on overall numbers.  It also seems that numbers of these were scrapped or destroyed in the post war years, as I know of one large militaria dealer that personally witnessed Finnish helmets being crushed up for use as filler for roadwork in the 1980's. The initial numbers of helmets supplied to or produced in Finland were rather low in the first place, so when one combines the losses above with wartime losses this further adds to the scarcity of WW2 vintage helmets.  In most cases the WW2 as issued helmets are in the hands of Finnish collectors and dealers that know the value and price them accordingly.  In the past one might have gotten lucky and found one for sale from the family of a veteran but as time has passed this outlet has also begun to run dry. The last factor that can dictate terms is the fact that the internet has opened Finland to the world, so many helmet collectors (not really Finnish collectors but helmet collectors in general) have added pressure to the market.  All in all Finnish helmets are some of the more uncommon collector's items one will encounter.

I should note that the markings on Finnish helmets such as skulls, crosses, and like symbols are a bit hard to decipher as to meaning and origin.  As it was not a standard practice to use such markings in the Finnish Army, one has to do a bit of homework and guesswork to put the pieces together.  To further cloud the issue many of the books that focus on German helmets have incorrect or questionable information when dealing with the Finnish issue of such helmets.  To locate a helmet that has such markings is quite rare and such helmets should be considered prime collector's items.  It is clear as to what some of the markings signify, as in some of the examples below, but overall the painting of such images or symbols is hard to breakdown.  It is known that Kev Os 4 ( 4th Light Infantry Unit - 4th Division Army Of The Isthmus ) as well as the Uusimma Dragoon Regiment made use of skulls as unit icons or symbols on their issue helmets.  These markings can range from very simple to quite complex and ornate.  One of the more famous examples of such a helmet is located in the Cavalry Museum of Lappeenranta Finland.  This helmet, with very detailed and involved artwork, has been featured in a number of reference materials including Ludwig Baer's fine book on German steel helmets.  The downside to such wide exposure to these helmets is that these are commonly faked and sold as original here in the United States and Canada.  This has become so widespread that I would caution anyone to take care when purchasing such a helmet.  If you do not know and trust the seller or the seller is well known with references, then I would recommend that one passes on the helmet unless the price is dirt cheap.  Then again if the price is that cheap one can pretty much be assured the helmet is a fake or reproduction as Finnish sellers know just what these items draw in costs. Sadly one needs to be very careful in dealing in such items as there are many out there looking to make a dollar by ripping off unsuspecting collectors.  In the past 2-3 years a number of these reproductions or fakes have been coming out of Canada, with some of these fakes being of excellent quality. 

This brief article is not meant to be the do all say all article on Finnish helmets, but its purpose is to give a general overview of some examples of these uncommon collectibles. In time there will be more photos and information added to this section.  I want to thank Jarkko Vihavainen, Sami Korhonen, Randolph Koivisto, Steve Wilson, Chris Mayer, and others for help in the photos, research, and location of items.  A special thanks to Jukka Juutilainen for his sharing parts of his outstanding collection, his research and facts, as well as selling some of these items to me.  

Click On Photos For Larger Version - 

A New Window Will Open To Allow You To View The Photo In Detail

 H-Art-M16-Tuco1.jpg (90854 bytes) H-Art-M16-Tuco2-Closeup-Skull-02.jpg (122808 bytes)

Owner: Tuco's Mosin-Nagant Dot Net Collection

Finnish Issued German M16

Horse Battery Artillery 

 Rats.Ptri - 3rd Artillery Battalion 15th Field Artillery Regiment

This helmet was issued to a Finnish artilleryman, Tauno Johannes Kirsi. His service in the Continuation War was in a horse artillery battery ( Rats.Ptri) under III Psto / KTR 15 (3rd Artillery Battalion 15th Field Artillery Regiment).  This helmet came from his daughter in Finland.  In his military service passport it is noted he took part in the following battles: Vellivaara, Tolvajärvi; Ägläjärvi, Aittojoki, Suojärvi,Lempala 1943.
Länsi-Kannas, Viipurinlahti, Ilomantsi -1944.  

The flame, skull, and white triangle are all pretty clear.  There is also a smaller marking in black that seems to show an arm and a hand with some object in the hand but it is not clear just what this lighter marking is.  The markings on this helmet might deal with the horse artillery batteries in particular as I have encountered this same marking twice before.  In both cases the veteran had indeed served in field artillery and one was also a horse artillery soldier.  It can not be stated as fact what these markings mean or the origin, as we only have a few clues (and fewer examples) to go by.  This would have to be considered an extremely rare helmet with a great history behind it.

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Owner: Tuco's Mosin-Nagant Dot Net Collection

Finnish Issued German M17

Kev Os 5 

5th Division Light Unit Number 5

This German M17 has been repainted by the Finns having a Finnish liner in place.  The helmet was issued to one Uumo Alfred Palander who served in the light infantry unit of the 5th Division - Kev Os 5.  These troops were both cavalry, bicycle, and ski troopers whose main focus was armed reconnaissance to protect the main infantry body.  These are the same troops that became known to the Soviets as "The White Death". Palander served from 1931-1944 fighting in both the Winter and Continuation Wars.  His service rank ended as a sergeant.  One might notice the vent holes are plugged with material on this helmet, which was a common alteration by the soldiers in the field.  The vent holes would allow wind to whistle inside the helmet and the sound could be quite a problem. As such soldiers plugged these holes to prevent the noise.  The brown spot that can seen on the right side of the helmet was put there for some reason but what it means is not known.

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 Gunn-Sten-091.jpg (14382 bytes)

Owner: Tuco's Mosin-Nagant Dot Net Collection

Finnish Issued German M16

One of the more rare helmets one will encounter as the helmet relates back to issue in the Finnish Jäger Battalion 27 (Königlicher Preussischer Jägerbattailon Nr 27) that fought and trained with the Germans in WW1.  It was from this unit the core of the Finnish military was built and many of these soldiers undertook leading roles with the Whites in the Finnish War Of Independence of 1918.  The former owner of this helmet was a Finnish Jägermajor Gunnar Stenbäck. A true piece of Finnish history that pre dates the founding of the nation and the soldiers that were the bases for the Finnish military.  It is very uncommon to find a helmet that can be directly related to Jäger Battalion 27 but this is indeed a helmets whose roots can be traced not only to the battalion but to the man.  Notice the vent hole is also plugged on this helmet, as it is plugged in an earlier example, which shows this helmet has seen combat action. This is an exceptionally rare helmet. It might well be the most desirable of all the helmets in my collection and with its known history a helmet worthy of a spotlight in any collection. Below is a scan from the Finnish book Suomen Jääkärit (Volume 2) published in Kuopio in 1933, this scan showing Gunnar Stenbäck - who died in 1923.  A letter from one of his decendents came with the helmet when purchased, detailing the past ownership and history of the helmet.

M16-Finn-Camo1.jpg (37714 bytes) M16-Finn-Camo3.jpg (36105 bytes)

Owner: Tuco's Mosin-Nagant Dot Net Collection

Finnish Issued Camouflaged Austrian M16

A good example of a Finnish camouflaged helmet.  The undercoat of this helmet is a dark green (does not show up well in the photos) being the same dark Finnish green encountered on a number of wartime helmets. It is interesting as this helmet came from Germany and was being sold as a German camouflaged helmet.  It is clear this pattern is not commonly seen on German helmets but did remind me quite a bit of some Finnish examples reviewed in the past.  In speaking with the seller it turns out this helmet did come from a Finn now living in Germany - being his grandfather's helmet 41-44.  It is unknown what unit this Finn served with during the war.  This is without a doubt one of the favorite helmets from my collection,  as locating camouflaged Finnish helmets is next to impossible. Due to the color variation (more Spring-Summer in color tone) one would tend to think the paint job was done during the Continuation War as opposed to the Winter War.

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Owner: Tuco's Mosin-Nagant Dot Net Collection

Finnish Issued German M16

The above is a very early German M16 helmet that still has the slate gray original paint in place.  There is a light coat of Finnish green that has been added to the color but most of the original coat is still in place.  The helmet is stamped  "ÅL 64 / S037F". The chin-strap fittings are made of metal not brass and the liner has a number of marking that can not be made out.  This is one of the 80,000 or so German WW1 helmets sold to Finland in the 1920's.

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Group-16-001.jpg (100642 bytes)

Owner: Tuco's Mosin-Nagant Dot Net Collection

Finnish Issued Austro-Hungarian  M16

Note: This helmet is middle example in photo three.

Another intriguing helmet as it retains the original "clay brown" color as was issued to the forces of Austro-Hungary in World War One.  It is very unusual to locate these helmets in this color as most were repainted by the Finns in a grass green shade.  The chin-strap is black leather with spike buckle and the helmet is marked "AW 64". 

Finn-16-battle1.jpg (57540 bytes) m38Vallila.jpg (101964 bytes)

Owners: M16 -Tuco's Mosin-Nagant Dot Net Collection M38- Jukka Juutilainen Collection - Finland

Finnish Issued German M16 & Hungarian M38

This is another marked M16 helmet but the history of the use is a bit more clear with this example.  It is known helmets so marked were issued to JR 47 the so called Vallila Battalion.  The insignia is that of a church in the home district of the men that served in this unit.  It was first believed this was the cathedral in Helsinki but it appears this information is incorrect.  The helmet next to the M16 is a Finnish issued Hungarian M38, bearing the same unit marking.  The marking on the M16 is much cruder than the marking seen on the M38, which tends to point towards a field paint job.  The Roman numerals that appear under the church run from I - IV.  

m16HginIT-AA.jpg (121519 bytes)

Owner: Jukka Juutilainen - Finland

Finnish Issued German M16

Anti Aircraft Defense Unit

A great example of a Finnish issue helmet.  This helmet was issued to an anti aircraft unit, as the insignia on the helmet is unique to that branch of service.  It is not common to locate one in such outstanding condition.  As with any Finnish helmet that still bears such markings, this helmet is a prized collector's item.  It is an excellent example of an interesting helmet.

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Owner: Tuco's Mosin-Nagant Dot Net Collection - Sotamuseo - Helsinki Finland

Finnish-Russian M16/17 & M17 Also Known By Some As The "Sohlberg"

These helmets were manufactured by the Finnish firms V. W. Holmberg and W. Sohlberg for issue to Imperial Russian troops, but the 1918 Finnish War Of Independence interrupted this issue.  There are really two models of these helmets but they are very close in overall look.   After the Finnish White victory these became one of the first issue helmets to the new nation Finland.  One can find these in white, black, and green.  The green is the original Finnish issue color, the black being a civil defense repaint, and the white does indeed seem to be a winter camouflage.  Unlike the M17's manufactured in Russia these have a reindeer hide liner.  The black helmet in the middle is indeed a Russian M17 that was made in Finland but never issued to Russian soldiers. The white helmet above has a small SY (Finnish Civil Guard) marking in the liner as well as a large M (meaning the helmet was sold from military stocks).  I have only seen or heard of a few so colored and it is not known who these were issued to. The three helmets in the first two photos are owned by the author.  The third photo was taken in May 2003 at the Sotamuseo in Helsinki is a nice example of a unit marked helmet.  This helmet was issued to the VSS which is a gas warfare protection unit.  As these were not front line troops for the most part you mainly see older helmets issued to such troops. The lower photo was also taken by the author at the Sotamuseo - Helsinki Finland in May 2003, this showing a Finnish soldier from time just after the Independence War (1918).

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Owner: Tuco's Mosin-Nagant Dot Net Collection

Finnish issued Italian M33

The Finns were supplied with a number of these helmets by Italy at  the outbreak of WW2.  These helmets are quite similar in color and shape to the Soviet M39-M40, so in many cases the Italian helmets were issued to artillery or like troops.  Direct service on the front line in a helmet so closely resembling those of the Red Army was not a good idea.  This helmet was issued to a member of a field artillery unit attached to the 2nd Division in the Continuation War.  The liner rivets in this helmet were replaced post war in Finland.

Jukka-M18-Finn.jpg (18498 bytes) m18camo-JJ.jpg (30322 bytes)

Owner: Jukka Juutilainen Collection - Finland

Finnish Issued German M18 - Finnish Issued Camo German M18

It is not as common to locate the M18's in Finland but one can come across examples from time to time.  This helmet appears to have its original paint still intact.  The Finns did paint most of their issue M16-M17-M18's in the Finnish green color but one can come across a mix of colors. A great example of a most rare helmet.  The Finnish camo helmets are all pretty hard to come by but to locate a M18 like this is outstanding.  Jukka has without a doubt one of the best helmet collections around.

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Owner: Tuco's Mosin-Nagant Dot Net Collection

Finnish Issued German M18

Green Finnish overpaint example of a German M18 helmet.  This helmet is interesting as on the rear base there is a small PPP placed there by hand.  PPP is the Finnish designation for a bicycle battalion, so this helmet was once issued to such a unit.  Another neat example of placing a helmet to a unit or time in Finnish history.

Juakk-16-Finland-0091.jpg (27772 bytes)

Owner: Jukka Juutilainen Collection - Finland

Finnish Issued Austrian M16

Another M16 that has been repainted for issue by the Finns.  The older German - Austrian style helmets are interesting as these might well be vets of WW1, the Finnish War Of Independence, The Winter War, The Continuation War, as well as the Lapland War.  In short these are very historical issue items.

Finn-16-hole.jpg (54512 bytes)

Owner: Tuco's Mosin-Nagant Dot Net Collection

Finnish Issue German M16

A battle damaged M16 helmet.  The hole in the helmet is clearly battle damage as the liner has been replaced and there is a quite a bit of blood pitting on the inside of the helmet around the area of the hole.  It is a chilling helmet to own as one knows that more than likely its previous owner died defending Finland from the Red Army invasion. 

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Owner: Tuco's Mosin-Nagant Dot Net Collection - Jukka Juutilainen Collection - Finland

Finnish Issued Hungarian M38's and Finnish Issued Camo Hungarian M38

The Hungarian M38 helmets also began to show up in Finland during the Continuation War as aid from Germany.  These were one of the more widely distributed helmets and look much like the German M35.  The main differences between these and the German helmets are the liner, the liner attachments, and the clip in the rear of the helmet.  Many of these helmets were issued post war in Finland and will have later Finnish made liners in place. Next a very rare and unusual helmet as the camo painting is quite unique.  It is rather uncommon to locate Finnish helmets and one of this magnitude is very interesting to come across.  This is indeed a wartime helmet so the camo painting is from the 41-44 time period. 

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Owner: Jukka Juutilainen Collection - Finland

Finnish Issued German M16

This is an odd example of a German M16 as it has been repainted to a camo color by the Finns.  As stated earlier such examples are few and far between and there appears to be a number of camo color patterns used. In the next photo another M16 with winter white paint has been added to the green undercoat of this German M16.  It is possible this is a Winter War vet or could have served in the Continuation or Lapland War.  It is not an easy helmet to locate today and is not commonly encountered. 

 Finn-Swede-1-01.jpg (52975 bytes) 22.jpg (19146 bytes)  Tuco-Finnish-M40-Number2.jpg (14787 bytes)

Tuco-M40-Mark.jpg (9600 bytes)  Tuco-M40-Liner.jpg (30616 bytes) DSC00728-9099.jpg (29054 bytes)

DSC00730-3helmet.jpg (44409 bytes) Red-Circle2-M40.jpg (19006 bytes) Red-Circle-M40.jpg (8602 bytes)

Owner's: Tuco's Mosin-Nagant Dot Net Collection And Private Finnish Collection

Finnish Issue Swedish Helmets And Finnish Copy

Swede M26 Finnish Issued Swede M37 and Finnish Made Model 1940

Two examples of the Swedish M26 as issued to the Finns.  The one on the left has been repainted at one time to a "Finnish Green" but it is not clear when this was done.  The helmet on the right is in the original color.  These helmets would have been issued as is in most cases since they arrived in like new condition. Then we have the Swedish M37.  This helmet has an odd textured paint added to the outside and I was not sure what to make of it.  The colors under this texture that are brown are not rust but brown paint that seem to be a camo pattern - the textured paint having sand or the like added.  In discussing this helmet with a couple of Finnish friends they feel there is a good chance this is a field altered camo helmet.  I can not state this is the case for sure but all the paint is old which does seem to fit the field painted camo theory.  Finnish helmet collectors have stated this is one of the few camo examples of Swedish M37's that is known.  Next to the Swede is the Finnish copy of this same helmet, known as the Model 1940 or M40.  This helmet was made under contract in Finland with 67,000 or so being produced.  These are pretty much exact copies of the M37 Swede but can be spotted as Finnish made by a small W stamped in the helmet rim.   These can also have a red maker marking of Wärtsilä=Yhtymä OY on the inside top. The two photos following the M40 liner shot show the camo Swede M37, a Swedish M26, and a Finn M40, just to show a comparison of the three. The next example of M40 is a mystery helmet as the meaning of the red half circle is not known.  There is a red circle and a blue circle that collectors come across on some Finnish helmets.  It has been suggested these were issued to canine handlers and some photos seem to back this up.  Stating this the true meaning is just not known and the canine connection just an educated guess.

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Owner: Parola Armor Museum - Finland

Finnish Issued German M42

A German M42 issued to the Finnish tank division Lagos, named after its commander.  This helmet is a very rare item as Finnish armored issued helmets - with markings intact - are very hard to come across.  This is one of the few real examples the author has seen and is in excellent condition.  Photo taken May 2003 on a private tour of the museum.

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 Tuco-MCzech12.jpg (48547 bytes) CloseCZechhelm-VicThomas.jpg (38468 bytes) 

Owner: Tuco's Mosin-Nagant Dot Net Collection - Vic Thomas Collection

Finnish Issued German M35's and Czech M34

Both of these helmets were sent to Finland as war aid during the Continuation War.  In most cases the German helmets were issued as is without being repainted but one may also encounter them in the "Finnish Grass Green" color.  The repainted color could be WW2 or could have been done post war, as these helmets served in Finland post war for a number of years.  The Czech helmet above has been painted sometime post war as the color is too new and too shiny for WW2 issue.  The German M35 helmet is an SS issue helmet as would have been seen issued to Finnish soldiers serving in the Wiking Division of the Waffen SS.  The next photo is an as issued Czech M34 as was seen in Finland.   The helmet is maker marked and date stamped 1938.  Next is another Finnish issue Czech helmet as seen on a display of a member of the Carelian Guards. 



Various photos and examples of Finnish helmets and marked helmets:

1 Czech-wire.jpg (29995 bytes)  2  lap-cav-001.jpg (43287 bytes)  3 lap-cav-002.jpg (48876 bytes) 

4 FINSOL-helmets.jpg (64287 bytes)  5   FinnHelSkull10AEM.jpg (39273 bytes)newlun4helmet.jpg (55828 bytes)

7 group-lun4-00091.jpg (69620 bytes)  8 skull-00092-1.jpg (37712 bytes)K-04-os-Repro.jpg (27820 bytes)

10 Steve-Shull.jpg (25292 bytes) 11  FinnHelSkull11EM.jpg (53404 bytes)  12 another-lun4.jpg (36661 bytes)

13 Dog-Hand-Hel1.jpg (31594 bytes) 14 Mort-Hel1.jpg (47814 bytes) 15 Hel-Finn-Whitewash-16.jpg (55346 bytes)

16 Finn-Art-Hung-Spotters-03.jpg (62871 bytes) 17 Finn-Art-16-Czech-Many-1.jpg (50715 bytes) 18 Mixed-Finnish-Hel0-1.jpg (41824 bytes)

19 Finn-Art-16-Czech-111.jpg (33064 bytes) 20 Finn-Hel-Com-Many.jpg (46604 bytes) 21 Arty6643.jpg (116170 bytes)

22 Arty8155.jpg (224747 bytes) 23 Binoc5914.jpg (166326 bytes) 24 Maxim6003.jpg (193841 bytes)

25 Hun-Czech-Swed-Ger-Hl2.jpg (61654 bytes) 26 Art-00000212.jpg (59685 bytes) 27 Unknow-Hl-mark9901.jpg (58325 bytes)

28 Finn-Hung-Panzer.jpg (38605 bytes) 29 Arty6674.jpg (220836 bytes) 30 Combat5639.jpg (96027 bytes)

31 Helmet-m16-intro-1Finnishland.jpg (42078 bytes) 32 AA-Maxim-001-Helmet.jpg (50654 bytes) 33 An-Artillery-001.jpg (63211 bytes)

34 Black-M17-hel-02.jpg (56921 bytes) 35 Black-M17-hel.jpg (43894 bytes) 36 Tuco-URR-Dragoon-m18-close.jpg (65206 bytes)

37. Fire.jpg (8698 bytes) 38. VSS-Civil.jpg (6501 bytes) 39. GermanM16-Camo-0001.jpg (20200 bytes)

  1.  Czech helmets with wire attachments for adding foliage or other material - camouflage purposes.  Very common practice in the 1941-44 fighting. 

  2. A rather well published example from the Cavalry Museum of Lappeenranta Finland.  It is thought this helmet might be an issued example from the  Uusimma Dragoon Regiment who were known to paint such skulls on their helmets.  This might also be an example of helmet issue to Kev Os 4, also known for the skulls on their helmets.

  3. The exact source of the third photo is unknown. It is possible this is another example from  Uusimma Dragoon Regiment but the history of the helmet is not known.  

  4. The fourth photo is seen in a number of pubilished works showing Finnish soldiers in 1944 awaiting the Soviet push into Finland.  The photo credits the helmets to members of the 3rd Brigade (also known as the "Blue Brigade" ) but it is not known if this is accurate.

  5. The helmet in the next photo looks much like the examples worn in the previous photos and might indeed have the same origins.  

  6. Next there is a reproduction M40 helmet done by the Kev Os 4 re-enactors. This skull pattern is by far the most commonly faked due to the widespread publication of the above photos.  

  7. The next group of Finns in the photo have been linked to Kev Os 4 (4th Light Infantry Unit - 4th Division) but they might also be members of Uusimma Dragoon Regiment or another unit.  The skulls on their helmets are also quite detailed reminding one of those seen on the dragoon helmets.  

  8. The next helmet's origins are not entirely known but is again very close in appearance to a helmet in Baer's book and is indeed a Finnish issue helmet.  This might be a Kev OS 4 issue helmet post 1941.

  9. A reproduction of a Kev Os 4 helmet with the reproduction being based on an example from Baer's book.  This helmet has appeared on Ebay as of late but is at least  being sold as a reproduction by the seller.  

  10. The next photo is a member of the Finnish re-enactors units Kev Os 4 here in the USA.  His helmet is a M16 painted "Finnish Green" as a reproduction with the unit's icon added as well.

  11. A skull seen on the helmet of a Finnish soldier in an anti-tank unit.  This soldier  is on the far right on the photo and the skull is indeed a different style than others listed before it.  

  12. Another helmet that is of Finnish origin with a skull that looks much like the others.  This skull is on a German M42 helmet in the original gray color.  When I first saw this helmet a few years ago I believed it was a fake, but over time looking into the details it appears this might indeed be the real item.  

  13. A Czech helmet used by a Finnish dog handler.  The circle seen on the skull might indeed be a unit marking for canine units as in many cases one will come across the same circle in like photos all being canine troops.

  14. Finns setting up a mortar wearing a Hungarian M38 and German M16 helmet.

  15. German M17 helmet that is in winter camo whitewash paint.

  16. Artillery spotters all wearing Hungarian M38 helmets.

  17. A mix of helmets used by an anti tank unit including Czech, German, and Italian helmets.  It was not uncommon to see many helmet styles within the same unit.

  18. An artillery spotter with a Maxim unit, 1943.  The helmet styles are Czech and German.

  19. A horse drawn artillery unit using German M16 and Czech helmets.

  20. A mix of Czech, Hungarian, and German helmets in use by a communications unit.

  21. Finnish artillery unit with Italian helmets.

  22. Artillery unit with Czech helmets and one soldier wearing a M16.

  23. Finnish soldier with Czech helmet.

  24. Maxim gunner with Hungarian M38.

  25. Hungarian, Czech, Swedish, And German M16's all in the same unit.

  26. Artillery unit with Hungarian and Czech helmets.

  27. Unit marking of Finnish Armor Division, also called unit Lagus after the unit leader.

  28. Finnish tank killers in late war, both with Hungarian M38 helmets.

  29. German M16 and M17's serve with this gun unit.

  30. German M16 with wire added at the rear.  The wire might have been used to attach some sort of foliage as camo.

  31. Winter camo German M16

  32. Maxim AA crew with German M16 and M17 helmets.

  33. Another artillery crew most with German helmets but one Swedish M26 can be seen as well.

  34. Black painted Finnish M17 issued to "Civil Defense" members in the Winter War.  In this case it appears these are firemen.

  35. Another black Finnish M17.

  36. Uusimma Dragoon Regiment NCO tunic with M18 issue helmet.

  37. Finnish M17 issued to a fire department.

  38. Finnish M17 VSS "Civil Defense" marked.

  39. German M16 with odd possible winter camo overpaint.

As one can see from the above examples this is a common helmet to be faked or made into a reproduction, which always makes one raise their eyebrow when seeing one up for sale.  All of these are very rare helmets and the numbers of these that pop up on the market for sale are far greater than the examples that would still be in existence.  Buyer beware and be warned.  It is very easy to have the wool pulled over one's eye in Finnish helmet collecting, as the examples of these are not all that well known by collectors.  There are also few reference works that deal with these that are in the English language.  To further drive this point home note that Finnbear International was offered 10-15 skull marked helmets from a seller in Canada two years ago (2000) and all were recently done fakes.

The collection of Finnish helmets or like militaria is an exciting and rewarding hobby.  The history of such items are just as interesting as the history behind the firearms that many collect.  Items such as helmets are a very personal reflection of this history and deserving of attention.  Many collectors have long found just how rewarding this hobby can be, and it is my hope this article sheds some light on the Finnish issued helmet.


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