[Vietnam War]

North Vietnamese Army French Style 1950s Tropical Pith Helmet


Excellent, Very Good Condition

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The standard PRC made NVA sun helmet was made of cardboard imprenated with resin with a reed green cotton twill covering glued to the exterior.

The North Vietnamese also wore other types of sun helmets in the North and South. Many were cottage industry made. I have seen pith (cork), plastic and cardboard with various colors on the exterior. Some even had two colors no the exterior like the NVA militia man shown.

This helmet has the first type sweatband made of interwoven bamboo which has a thin, almost transparent, layer of plastic covering it. The cloth came in various colors and materials and often becomes brittle over the decades.

Although most NVA wartime sun helmets had leather chinstraps, the chinstrap is the same material as found on NVA made plastic canteen harnesses, consisting of several parallel rows.

Like in wartime helmets this one has all aluminum hardware including the grommets, vent and chinstrap buckle. Naturally, the aluminum has oxidized.

Khaki sun helmets were worn throughout the 1950s, 1960s by the NVA but were slowly phased out in favor of the reed green helmet. By 1975 they were not seen much.

When the PRC began to send tens of thousands of cardboard sun helmets to Hanoi, there was not need for these cottage industry helmets to warrant their manufacture.

This rare helmet predates the standard NVA cardboard helmet by a decade or so.  It has all the early features including the colonial pith helmet shape more common during the French era.   These types of helmets were worn by the Viet Minh and early NVA.  Some can be seen in wartime photos in Hanoi and Haiphong. This one is named to a European, possibly Polish advisor.  Many Warsaw pact nations sent military personnel to Hanoi to assist with air defense, engineer, infrastructure and medical support in the 1960s.

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