Combat helmet

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Example of a modern combat helmet

A combat helmet or battle helmet is a type of helmet, a piece of personal armor designed specifically to protect the head during combat.


Helmets are among the oldest forms of personal protective equipment and are known to have been worn by the Akkadians/Sumerians in the 23rd century BC, Mycenaean Greeks since the 17th century BC,[1][2] the Assyrians around 900 BC, ancient Greeks and Romans, throughout the Middle Ages, and up to the end of the 17th century by many combatants.[3] Their materials and construction became more advanced as weapons became more and more powerful. Initially constructed from leather and brass, and then bronze and iron during the Bronze and Iron Ages, they soon came to be made entirely from forged steel in many societies after about 950 AD. At that time, they were purely military equipment, protecting the head from cutting blows with swords, flying arrows, and low-velocity musketry.

Military use of helmets declined after 1670, and rifled firearms ended their use by foot soldiers after 1700[3] but the Napoleonic era saw ornate cavalry helmets reintroduced for cuirassiers and dragoons in some armies which continued to be used by French forces during World War I as late as 1915.[4]

World War I and its increased use of artillery renewed the need for steel helmets, with the French Adrian helmet and the British Brodie helmet being the first modern steel helmets used on the battlefield,[5][6] soon followed by the adoption of similar steel helmets, such as the Stahlhelm[7][8][9] by the other warring nations. In the 20th century, such helmets offered protection for the head from shrapnel and fragments as well as for specialist roles such as Paratrooper helmets.[10]

Today's militaries often use high quality helmets made of ballistic materials such as Kevlar and Aramid, which offer improved protection. Some helmets also have good non-ballistic protective qualities, against threats such as concussive shock waves from explosions.[11][12]

Many of today’s combat helmets have been adapted for modern warfare requirements and upgraded with STANAG rails to act as a platform for mounting cameras, video cameras and VAS Shrouds for the mounting of Night Vision Goggles (NVG) and monocular Night Vision Devices (NVD).

Beginning in the early 20th century, combat helmets have often been equipped with helmet covers to offer greater camouflage. There have been two main types of covers, mesh nets were earlier widely used, but most modern combat helmets use camouflage cloth covers instead of the earlier net covers.

By the late 20th century, starting in the 1970s and 1980s, new materials such as kevlar and aramid began replacing steel as the primary material for combat helmets, in an effort to improve weight, ballistics protection, and protection against head injuries caused by blasts. This practice still continues into the 21st century, with further advancement and refinements in the fibers used, design and shape of the helmet, and increased modularity. Early helmet systems of this new design are the American PASGT, the Spanish MARTE, the Italian SEPT-2 PLUS, and British Mk6.

List of military helmets[edit]


Model Origins Users
SPECTRA helmet  France Used by the French Army, Danish Army, United Nations peacekeeping forces[13]
Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH)  United States
Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH)  United States Developed from the Modular Integrated Communications Helmet, the ACH is now the standard issue helmet of the US Army.[14][15][16]
Modular Integrated Communications Helmet (MICH)  United States Developed for special operations use by the United States Army, it became the basis for the Advanced Combat Helmet
Lightweight Helmet (LWH)  United States Used by United States Marine Corps[17]
Mk. 6 Helmet  United Kingdom Used by British Armed Forces.[18] being replaced by the Mk. 7 Helmet
Mk. 7 Helmet  United Kingdom Used by British Armed forces
M76 paratrooper helmet  United Kingdom Used by British Armed forces Paratroopers and Airborne forces.
BK-6 Helmet  Croatia Used by the Croatian Army, Swedish Army, German Army, Kuwaiti Army, French Army, Singapore Army, Israel Army, Saudi Arabian Army, Polish Armed Forces, Australian Army, Turkish Armed Forces, Czech Army, Bulgarian Army, United Arab Emirates Army, Lithuanian Armed Forces, Mexican Army, Spanish Army, Pakistan Army, Malaysian Army, Saudi Arabian Army, Finnish Army, National Army of Colombia, Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Indonesian Army, Italian Army, Military of Hungary, Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic and by the police forces of the following countries: Croatia, Turkey, UK, Spain, Republic of Macedonia, Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Colombia, Italy, Ukraine, by Argentina and by the UN demining committee.[19] - Similar to the Gefechshelm B826.
BK-9 Helmet  Croatia Used by the Croatian Army. Updated version of the BK-6. - Similar to the Gefechshelm B826.
BK-3 Helmet  Croatia Used by the Croatian Army. Further updated version of the BK-6. Also used by Bulgaria. - Similar to the Gefechshelm B826.
CCB  Brazil Used by the Brazilian Armed Forces in two versions: Polymer and Kevlar.[20]
BK-3 Helmet  Bulgaria Kevlar helmet worn by the Bulgarian Land Forces. Replacing the older steel M36 type C Helmet. - Similar to the Gefechshelm B826.
M91 Helmet  Australia Former kevlar helmet used by the Australian Defense Force. Replaced by the newer ECH. - Similar to the PASGT.
Enhanced Combat Helmet  Australia Introduced into Australian Defence Force in 2004, replacing the M91.
CG634  Canada Used by the Canadian Forces since 1998 - SPECTRA type helmet.[21][22]
M92 Helmet  Denmark First kevlar helmet used by the Danish Armed Forces. - Imported SPECTRA helmet. Design later incorporated into the M/96.
Gron Helmet  Denmark Early kevlar helmet used by the Danish Armed Forces while peacekeeping. - Imported Gefechtshelm B826.
M/96 Helmet  Denmark Kevlar helmet used by the Danish Armed Forces. - SPECTRA type helmet. Might be replaced by ACH type helmet.
CABAL II  Argentina Ballistic Helmet M-6 for Argentine Infantry Approved by CITEFA NIJ Level II according to the standards currently in stage R3B certified to MIL-Std 662 E[23]
PASGT helmet  United States First issued in 1983 to replace the M1 helmet. Former kevlar helmet used by the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy. Used by the USAF, but is being phased out by the ACH[24] US Air Force.[25]
M1994  Norway First Kevlar helmet adopted by the Norwegian Armed Forces. - Imported Gefechtshelm B826.
Hjelm Cato  Norway Proprietary kevlar helmet adopted by the Norwegian Armed Forces in the early 2000s (decade). - Similar to the Swedish Hjalm 90.
GOLFO  Chile Military of Chile, Similar to the PASGT.
GK80  People's Republic of China People's Liberation Army
QGF03  People's Republic of China People's Liberation Army
QGF02  People's Republic of China People's Liberation Army
SSh-68  Soviet Union Steel helmet Russian Army Russia
STSh-81  Soviet Union Titanium helmet Russian Special Forces Russia
6B7  Russia Kevlar helmet Russian army
6B7-1L  Russia Kevlar helmet Russian army and Naval Infantry Russia
Kolpak 2  Russia Kevlar helmet Russian army
6B27  Russia Kevlar helmet Russian army
6B28  Russia Kevlar helmet Russian army
6B26  Russia Kevlar helmet Russian army
OR-201  Israel Kevlar helmet used by the Israel Defense Forces, Some units of Special forces of Indian Army, Irish Defence Force, Lebanon (Lebanese Forces, South Lebanon Army, Hezbollah, Lebanese Army), Honduran Army, Guatemalan Army, Peruvian Army, Romanian Army, Nicaragua (National Guard and Police), Portugal (Portuguese Marine Corps), South African Defence Force, Chilean Army (1st Parachutists Battalion "Pelantaru" (1º Batallón de Paracaidistas "Pelantaru")), Sri Lanka, and other countries.
KASDA  Israel Kevlar helmet Israel Defense Forces, Guatemalan Army
Gefechtshelm Schuberth B828  Germany Limitedly used by the paratroops in Bundeswehr like Fallschirmjäger, Spezialisierte Kräfte des Heeres mit Erweiterter Grundbefähigung für Spezielle Operationen and Kommando Spezialkräfte. - ACH type helmet.
Gefechtshelm Schuberth B826 (M92)  Germany Used by the Bundeswehr, Swiss Army, Dutch Army, Estonian Defence Forces, Czech Army and other countries - PASGT type helmet.
NP Aerospace AC200/650  Greece Kevlar helmet used by the Greek Special Forces. - Gefechshelm type helmet. - Hellenic Army, Navy and Air Force primarily use the PASGT.
Helm wz. 2005  Poland Newer kevlar helmet used by the Polish Armed Forces. Supplementing the older Helm wz. 93 currently in use. Similar in size to the American Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH), similar look to the PASGT.
MARTE  Spain Versions I to IV, MARTE IV Kevlar helmet currently used by the Spanish Armed Forces. - Similar to the PASGT. - Protec type helmet replacing it in the Spanish Navy Marines.
Sistema Compositi SEPT-2 PLUS  Italy Kevlar helmet used by the Italian Armed Forces[26]
Sistema Compositi SUPERUBOTT  Italy Used by Special Units (particularly GIS) of the Italian Law Enforcement community[27]
Savar SVRH01  Turkey Used by the Turkish Armed Forces and General Directorate of Security
Savar SVRH02  Turkey Used by the Police Special Operation Department of the General Directorate of Security
Tecnoplast TD-71  Italy Used by the Italian Law Enforcement community for riot control[28]
Type 88 Helmet  Japan Used by the JSDF - PASGT type helmet
M80 Helmet  Iraq Plastic and cloth helmet, limited use
PASGT helmet  Mexico U.S. kevlar helmet adopted by the Mexican Armed Forces in the 1990s to replace the M1 helmet.
BK-6  Mexico Kevlar helmet, adopted in the 2000s (decade). used in conjunction supplementation role with the PASGT. - Imported helmet.
M83  South Africa Variant of the OR-201 helmet used by Paratroopers of the South African Army
M87  South Africa Kevlar helmet of the South African Army
Hjälm 90  Sweden Kevlar helmet used by the Swedish Armed Forces
Helm wz. 93  Poland Kevlar helmet Used by the Polish Armed Forces. - Being replaced by the Helm wz. 2005.[29]
K/92 Helmet  Finland Kevlar helmet used by the Finnish Defense Forces. Replaced in the early 2000s (decade) by the M/02. - PASGT-Hjelm style blend helmet.
M/02 Composite Helmet  Finland Used by the Finnish Defence Forces
MKH/PA-1  India Kevlar helmet worm by the Indian Armed Forces.- PASGT type helmet.
RBH303IE  Ireland Variant of the Enhanced Combat Helmet (Australia) helmet used by the Irish Defence Force
MPC-1  Slovenia Variant of OR-201 helmet
Mile Dragić M-97  Serbia Used by the Serbian Army - PASGT type helmet[30]
Mile Dragić M-05  Serbia Used by Serbian Special Forces—MICH type helmet[31]
KCI  Republic of Korea Kevlar helmet worn by the Republic of Korea Armed Forces. - PASGT type helmet.

World War I – Vietnam War[edit]

Model Origins Users
Adrian helmet  France [4] used in  France,  Belgium, Japan Japan,  Serbia,  Yugoslavia,  United States,  Soviet Union, Irish Free State,  Italy,  Republic of China,  Manchukuo,  Peru,  Romania,  Mexico,  Greece,  Uruguay,  Thailand, Brazil
Brodie helmet  United Kingdom used in  United Kingdom,  Canada,  United States,  Australia,[10]  Republic of China,  Estonia,  Belgium,  New Zealand,  South Africa,  India,  the Netherlands,  Portugal, Luxembourg,  Commonwealth of the Philippines (1935-1944)
Modèle 1951  France  France
Mk III Turtle helmet  Canada,  United Kingdom
Helmet Steel Airborne Troop  UK used in  CAN,  BEL,  Rhodesia,  UK
Mº 44 E.T.A. de Paracaidista  Argentina used by Argentine Paratroopers
M33 helmet  Italy  Italy,  Finland
Bulgarian M36 Helmet  Bulgaria  Bulgaria[32]
M42 Duperite helmet  AUS Paratrooper helmet
M63 Staaldak  South Africa  Rhodesia,  South Africa
M1 helmet  United States U.S.Army, U.S.Marine Corps;  Canada,[33]  Turkey, Republic of China,  South Korea, Guatemala,  Philippines (1944-1991),  Belgium, the Netherlands,  Thailand,  Argentina, Brazil
Type 66 Helmet  Japan Variant of M1 Helmet used by some elements of the JSDF Ground Forces
RAC helmet  United Kingdom  United Kingdom,  Belgium
Dutch M-28 helmet  Netherlands  Netherlands,  Romania
m 1923 Danish helmet  Denmark  Denmark
Czechoslovakian Model 1932 Steel Helmet  Czechoslovakia  Czechoslovakia
Pickelhaube  German Empire  German Empire
Soviet helmets during World War II  Soviet Union  Soviet Union,  People's Republic of China,  North Korea,  North Vietnam,  Finland, Warsaw Pact
Stahlhelm[7][8][9]  German Empire  Weimar Republic,  Nazi Germany,  Turkey, Chile Chile,  Republic of China,  Irish Free State,  Poland,  Estonia,  Finland,  Afghanistan
Hełm wz. 31  Poland  Poland
Hełm radziecki wz. 40  Poland  Poland
Hełm wz. 50  Poland  Poland
Hełm wz. 67  Poland  Poland
Swiss M1918/40   Switzerland   Switzerland,  Argentina
1935/38 M. rohamsisak  Hungary  Hungary/Kingdom of Hungary (Royal Hungarian Army),  Finland
1950 M rohamsisak  Hungary  Hungary/People's Republic of Hungary (Hungarian People's Army)
1970 M rohamsisak  Hungary  Hungary/People's Republic of Hungary (Hungarian People's Army)
Type 90  Japan  Japan,  Thailand,  China
Irish M1928  Ireland  Ireland
Norwegian M31  Norway  Norway
Swedish M1926  Sweden  Sweden
Greek M1934/39 (helmet)  Italy,  Greece  Greece,  Italy
Belgian M26/32  Belgium  Belgium,  Luxembourg
Portuguese M1940, M1940-63  Portugal  Portugal
Spanish M1926, M1942 Modelo Z  Spain  Spain

Medieval and early Modern[edit]

Model Origin Users
Bascinet c. 1300 Europeans during the Hundred Years' War(1337 to 1453) amid the kingdoms of Flag of Île-de-France.svg France,  Aquitaine, Flag of Bourgogne.svg Burgundy and  England
Burgonet[34] c. 1600 Europeans, especially by militias of  Poland &   Switzerland
Capeline late 16th century Europeans during the 17th century, including the English Civil War in  England & Thirty Years' War across the  Holy Roman Empire
Cervelliere late 13th century Christian Europeans in Crusades during the 14th century
Great helm[35] 1189 Christian Europeans in Third Crusade; other Europeans until 1540
Kabuto c. 1600 Samurai especially during the 17th century of the Edo Period Tokugawa shogunate in Medieval  Japan.
Morion 16th and early 17th centuries Europeans (esp. associated with Spanish Conquistadores)
Pickelhaube[7][8][9] 1842 especially by  Prussia &  German Empire and other Europeans until 1918; revived for 2006 FIFA World Cup in  Germany
Raupenhelm c. 1800-1870 High crested leather helmet used primarily by  Kingdom of Bavaria and  Württemberg
Sallet c. 1450 used in Northern Europe &  Hungary until the mid-16th century
Spangenhelm[36] 5th century Central Asia, Near East & Europe; espec. by Scythians, Sarmatians, Persians, & Germans until 1000
Tarleton c. 1770-1800 Crested, peaked leather helmet used by cavalry and light infantry by  Great Britain,  France and  USA in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Qing parade helmet after 1655 till 1911 China
Zischagge c. 1600-1780 Originated in Ottoman Empire, used by the most of the Europe.

See also headgear listing within Components of medieval armour.

Ancient militaries[edit]

Model Origin Users
Attic helmet ancient Greeks
Boar's tusk helmet 17th century BCE Mycenaean Greeks until 10th century BCE
Boeotian helmet ancient Greek cavalry
Chalcidian helmet ancient Greeks
Corinthian helmet[37] ancient Greeks
Disc and stud helmet c. 400 BCE ancient Illyrians & Adriatic Veneti until 167 BCE
Galea (helmet) ancient Romans
Horned helmet c. 1000 BCE Celtic Europeans until 700 CE
Illyrian type helmet ancient Greeks
Kegelhelm ancient Greeks
Negau helmet ancient Etruscans in Negau, Slovenia
Montefortino helmet ancient Romans
Pilos ancient Greeks
Pot helmet ancient Illyrians
Phrygian/Thracian helmet 5th century BCE ancient Greeks in Thrace, Dacia, Italia & Hellenistic Europe until c. 200 CE


Cushioning is used to negate concussive injuries. Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory published a study in 2011 that concluded that the addition of an eighth of an inch of cushion decreased the impact force to the skull by 24%.[38]


  1. ^ Shaft Graves, Mycenae
  2. ^ Nobuo Komita, The Grave Circles at Mycenae and the Early Indo-Europeans
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ a b Heaumes Page
  5. ^ Military Trader
  6. ^ Military headgears
  7. ^ a b c
  8. ^ a b c Axis History Factbook: A brief history of the German Stahlhelm
  9. ^ a b c German Pickelhaube Spiked Helmet Evolution Guide
  10. ^ a b Index CEF Helmets
  11. ^ Kevlar Pasgt Helmet
  12. ^
  13. ^ MSA: Casques Militaires
  14. ^ Advanced Combat Helmet ( ACH )
  15. ^ ACH
  16. ^ US Military Taking Delivery of Advanced Combat Helmets
  17. ^ The Warrior
  18. ^ PLCE and Body Armour
  19. ^ Šestan - Busch d.o.o. (Ltd)
  20. ^
  21. ^ Canadian Military Police Virtual Museum
  22. ^ Canada
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Department Of The Air Force
  26. ^ Sistema Compositi SEPT-2 PLUS helmet
  27. ^ Sistema Compositi SUPERUBOTT helmet
  28. ^ Tecnoplast TD-71 riot control helmet
  29. ^ pl:Hełm wz. 2005
  30. ^ Mile Dragić Production M-97S/P
  31. ^ Mile Dragić Production M-05S/P
  32. ^ Българските Военни Каски
  33. ^ Home of the M-1 Helmet
  34. ^ The Burgonet
  35. ^ 75years - Great Helms
  36. ^ Simon Coupland, "Carolingian Arms and Armor in the Ninth Century", (accessed 10 March 2006).
  37. ^ lookup=Hdt.+4.180.1 Herodotus, The Histories (ed. A. D. Godley)
  38. ^ regg Zoroya (17 April 2911). "Larger helmet could guard against brain injury to troops". USA TODAY. Retrieved 17 April 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links[edit]

Ballistic Helmets