North Vietnamese Army 3rd Generation Cardboard Sun Helmet – Named, Letter Box No., Palm Trees, River, Mountains & Birds

$500.00

Good, Very Good Condition: No chinstrap

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Here is a Third Generation NVA Cardboard Sun Helmet with all the standard features and some GREAT Graffiti.

Khaki sun helmets were worn throughout the 1950s and 1960s by the NVA but were slowly phased out in favor of the reed green helmet. By 1975 they were not being made anymore as the PAVN standardized their sun helmets in Reed Green.

This is a mid 1960s NVA Sun Helmet. This was the standard issue NVA sun helmet during the War.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF NVA SUN HELMETS

The North Vietnamese wore a few types of sun helmets in the North and South. We have seen pith/cork, plastic and cardboard with various colors on the exterior. Many were cottage industry made but most were mass produced in factories. As with all gear, the NVA and their suppliers learned to economize as the production demands increased. They changed styles, materials and manufacturing techniques to make things cheaper and easier to manufacture as the war dragged on.

EARLY CORK NVA SUN HELMETS

Very early NVA sun helmets, from the late 1950s and early 1960s, were made with a cork body. The cork bodies were covered inside and out with khaki cotton and sometimes green cotton.

These early cork sun helmets had non-adjustable bamboo sweatbands made of thin strips of interwoven bamboo. A thin layer of plastic sheeting covered the bamboo. The plastic sheeting came in various colors like green, cream, maroon and blue. The plastic sheeting covers the bamboo so the wearer’s skin is not rubbed and chafed by the hard bamboo underneath.

FIRST GENERATION CARDBOARD SUN HELMETS

The ChiComs, who made sun helmets to Hanoi’s order, elected to make the sun helmet a bit less expensive as they were supplying the NVA with material for the coming war.

They eliminated the cork body, substituting cardboard impregnated with resin instead.

These first generation cardboard helmets retained the non-adjustable bamboo sweatband.

The exterior of these early sun helmets was cotton twill. Khaki was most common but many green ones do exist.

The interior of these early helmets remained covered in cloth like the cork helmet. There are sub-variants with bamboo sweatbands that do not have the interior lining.

SECOND GENERATION CARDBOARD NVA SUN HELMETS

Bamboo sweatbands, which are found in all the early NVA helmets, take time to weave to specification. They then take more time to sew on the plastic sheeting over the woven bamboo. Because the War was coming and production had to increase, the bamboo sweatband was eliminated.

Instead of a bamboo sweatband, an inexpensive green rubberized sweatband with matching crown suspension was riveted directly into the helmet body in four places. The backing of the sweatband and crown suspension was a white cotton.

The suspension system was riveted to the cardboard body through two cardboard spacers, one on each side, shaped like a very elongated letter “M.” This M shaped spacer/washer was not painted in this generation. Later versions of this M washer were pink cardboard painted green.

A purple color tie string was used to connect and adjust the green sweatband. Another purple tie string connected the four green crown straps.

Like the early sun helmets, this generation retained a leather chinstrap with aluminum buckle.

THIRD GENERATION CARDBOARD GREEN NVA SUN HELMETS

The last and most common ChiCom made NVA sun helmet was made of cardboard impregnated with resin with a reed green cotton twill covering glued to the exterior.

Instead of covering the interior with cloth, which cost money and skilled labor, the ChiComs simply painted the interior with a semigloss dark green paint.

In this example, you can see how the green suspension and headband have curled with age. They are not brittle.

Like in all wartime helmets, this one has all aluminum hardware including the grommets and vent. Naturally, the aluminum has oxidized. The chinstraps brads are brass.

This is nice bring back helmet named to NVA soldier “Pham Tan” with carving of a Palm Tree, a river, mountains, birds and his unit’s letter box number.

See the NVA envelopes we have for sale to read about the NVA Letter Box Number (LBN) system.

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