FRENCH M.LE 39 W/GAS MASK
During the First World War, the adoption of the Model 15 Adrian helmet by all French armed forces did not spare the navy that was also equipped with the Model 15 for these troops. With the modernization of the Adrian model 15 by the creation of the final model in 1926, the navy was also equipped with this new model. However, the adoption by the Navy's gas mask AFM 34 (Marine Filtering Device Model 1934), specially designed to allow the crew to wear protection against gases on the deck or the hold of the ship with minimal discomfort, did not allow the simultaneous wearing of a helmet Adrian model 26. Indeed, the gas mask ANP 31 (Normal protection model 31), distributed to all troops in 1931, was designed to be worn with his bag containing the filter cartridge connected to the mask with a long hose. It allowed static or mobile use in an open environment, which is not the case in the Navy where conditions are totally different and where space is limited, requiring precise and calculated gestures. Nevertheless the AFM 34 was adopted by the navy. Its filter is fixed to the back of the wearer's head, the hose connecting the cartridge to the mask from above the head of its owner. This provision made it impossible to wear simultaneously the gas mask with the Adrian helmet Model 26. Faced with this problem, it was necessary to study a new helmet specifically adapted to this new mask. The army was already equipped with a helmet of innovative design, the Model 35 for motorized troops and thus was also necessary a new helmet for the Navy, allowing to wear simultaneous the gas mask and protect the head. The new helmet appeared in 1939 and designated as Model 39, was photographed very little during the short period of peace. After the defeat of the French army in 1940 and the signing of the Armistice in June, the helmet model 39 remained in use both to residual forces loyal to the government of Marshal Petain and to the other side in the naval forces of Free France.
The shape of the helmet of the marine model39 is derived from that of Adrian helmet model 26, which has deleted the shortcut and the crest front visor to allow the wearing of the AFM 34 and the passage of the hose connecting the mask the filter attached to the back of the helmet. The shell was manufactured in three sizes and is formed in one piece by stamping a sheet of progressive manganese steel. The helmet model 39 was painted gray / blue matte for copies manufactured before 1940 and then will be painted a lighter color to products manufactured after the war. Helmet size is specified with the letter A, B or C stamped cold inside the cartridge holder of the gas mask. Its sharp edge is softened by the addition of a contiguous piece rod on the side. The back of the helmet is shaped as a wide inverted "T", this hole is covered outside of the helmet by a curved piece of metal welded to the hull with 6 points of electrical solder. This "groin" thus formed has a slot with rounded ends, for attaching the filter cartridge 34 to the AFM using a metal hook. The creation of the helmet model 39 of the Navy is closely linked to the adoption of the filter apparatus of marine model 34 by the French naval forces, known as AFM 34. This gas mask designed specifically for sailors to be used in all circumstances, any combat position on a warship. After several years of study, the French Navy establishes specifications that meet the particular needs of the navy, gas mask, developed by Lieutenant Commander Charles Bertin and adopted by the Navy in 1934, answered following features: - Mask of semi rigid facial part comprises a shaped sheet extended to the sides by a skirt of fabric the same type of structure that the PNA 31. The facial part comprises two metallic glass viewfinders triplex located in the same plane and mounted by screwed rings, allowing the use of optical devices, a speech diaphragm in front of the mouth and an exhalation valve housed in a small box at the bottom. - The air inlet connection is at the top of the facial part is connected to the pipe connecting the filter cartridge, itself held in place on the neck by a special stamp located on the back of the head harness of the mask. This provision should allow the sailorman to swim with the mask in place. The mask is carried in a large rectangular metal box worn on the back using shoulder straps and canvas with an instruction manual storage of the gas mask glued to the inside cover.The gas mask was manufactured by AFM 34 Luchaire companies (company still exists today in the French arms industry) on behalf of the Navy.