Old 04-13-2016, 09:20   #1
MR2
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Helmets

Background: In my day we had the M-1 steel helmet with fiberglass liner. Later on a pre-SMU stood up and wore motorcycle helmets. Then the Kevlar K-pot was issued. Heard that a couple of units got a newer, stronger, lighter-weight Israeli Kevlar helmet. Today I see what are called 'Bump' or hockey helmets.

Generally, in the Infantry helmets were always worn in the field. Support units wore them when the First Shirt was around. Patrol intensive units wore soft caps while patrolling. SF tended to only wear them for jumping.

Questions: What is the standard issue helmet for Infantry/Support/SF units today and general procedure for wear in the field or on patrol?

What ballistic protection does the new helmets provide over the M-1 or K-pot helms of yore?

Are there different versions of today's helmets - what are they and to who gets them?

Thanks.
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Old 04-14-2016, 02:46   #2
miclo18d
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It has even changed since I retired but I'll give you some info on ballistic protection.

(Picture 1)
I enlisted in 1988 and we wore steel pots in basic training. When I hit airborne school, we were issued "K-pots", Kevlar helmets and had those for about 12-13 years. During Just Cause, one of the guys in my company was shot with a pistols at point blank. The bullet went in between his head and the inside of the helmet, circled at least one time, and exited, basically skimming the inside of the helmet. I went to "SOT light" in 93 and was shown 5.56 and 9mm holes through and through to the k-pots. Asked my self why the heck are we wearing these things?

(Picture 2)
At some point after 9-11 we were issued the MICH helmet. A cut dow'n light weight K-pot. Nothing to report about the MICH other than it was very light and much more comfortable than the K-pot. Then before my 2nd deployment to A-Stan in 2006, we were issued the ACH. It looked and weighed the same as the MICH. I saw 2 separate instances of perpendicular head shots where the bullet was stopped with the ACH. The soldiers were effed up bad (TBI) but the bullet was stopped completely.

(Picture 3 sort of)
Bump helmets were used in the days of the steel pots and k-pots probably because they didn't stop bullets and the guys that wore them needed speed vs protection. Most used skateboard/hockey helmets. Used to prevent getting bumped in the head by say a little bird blade I.e. Just Cause. Now ballistic protection is getting lighter and stronger that they are incorporating it into bump helmets. Not to mention that they have cut down the ACH over the ears to lighten and improve access for electronic ear protection.

ETA: after seeing the 2 head shots stopped, I wore my ACH everywhere!
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Old 04-19-2016, 15:51   #3
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The development of the modern helmet starts with the PASGT and goes up through today. The real first iteration of the new stuff would probably be the IBH helmet. It looks a lot like a combat vehicle helmet except just ahead of the ears there is what I would describe as "sideburns" where the chinstraps connect.

The next would be the MICH helmet which was developed by the French company CGF. Beyond its interior padding it would be indistinguishable from an ACH. CGF was eventually bought by Mine Safety Appliance (MSA).

After these you get the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) and some of the variations of the "gunfighter" style where the 'ears' are cut about half way up and give it a distinct appearance.


Also mixed in there are the Ops-core helmets are currently the bees knees for special forces. There is so much demand the factor can't keep up with orders. There are some variations in those helmets as well but the Ops-core brand would yield a lot of those.

The most current issue helmet is the ACH by far but the Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH) has recently made its debut. Its manufactured by Ceradyne. If I remember correctly it is made of a ballistic plastic.


As for who wore most of these helmets the IBH would be special forces, the MICH helmet and "gunfighter" would also be SF used as well. ACH's have been used by every branch starting with the Army. The Marines had a shortfall on their Light Weight Helmet's (LWH) and ended up purchasing ACH's as well. Occasionally soldiers would purchase non 'standard' helmets out of pocket but not very common.

As for protection I'm not going to throw out numbers because I don't know them. The hear say is that the ACH (and like) can stop pistol rounds easily and that depending on the angle (as mentioned above) can deflect 7.62. I have an old PASGT that some unit took to the range and shot it with various weapons. Most went through without issue.


I hope this helps!

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Old 05-01-2016, 21:10   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedLegGI View Post

As for protection I'm not going to throw out numbers because I don't know them. The hear say is that the ACH (and like) can stop pistol rounds easily and that depending on the angle (as mentioned above) can deflect 7.62. I have an old PASGT that some unit took to the range and shot it with various weapons. Most went through without issue.


I hope this helps!
Can't speak to the science but I've personally seen an ACH stop (more likely deflect) 7.62 at approximately 100m.

Haven't seen the Ops Core take round thankfully but it is quite a bit more comfortable.
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Old 05-02-2016, 05:54   #5
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Long ago, I heard it said that Natick (NSRDEC) had some of the older PASGT helmets that were recovered from Panama (Just Cause) that stopped 7.62 x 39 rounds. I don't know if the hits were riccochets or full velocity perpendicular hits. Anyone have any collaboration of this?
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Old 05-02-2016, 20:49   #6
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There were one or two incidents in our BN back in Iraq of MICH/ACH helmets defending against 7.62x39 hits. One was a deflected round, the other entered the helmet partially and followed the interior curvature halfway around the helmet without hitting the guy's nugget. I don't know of any outright penetrations that resulted in someone's dome getting split open, at least in our specific unit.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:10   #7
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Originally Posted by Brush Okie View Post
I remember the same type of story from Grenada when I went in 1986. Supposedly a lucky shot from far away hit an 82ND guy and stuck in the helmet.
True story.

I handled the helmet in question.

TR
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Old 12-21-2017, 07:16   #8
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I know I am rather knew to this particular group but if you gentlemen might allow me to add to this thread I do have a bit of information that I would like to share here starting with the US M-1 helmet system and if the information is found useful and relevant to the discussion I will proceed with the differing helmet systems as used by the US armed Forces...

The Army adopted the famous M-1 Steel Helmet, which covered more of the head. It was of two-piece design with an outer Hadfield steel shell and a separate inner liner containing the suspension system. The complete item weighed approximately 3 pounds, with the outer shell accounting for approximately 2.3 pounds and the inner liner, 0.7 pound....
The ballistics properties of the outer shell had been improved so that it would resist penetration by a 230-grain calibre .45 bullet with a velocity of 800 f.p.s...
When the helmet causes the defeat of this missile at service-weapon velocities, it will be deeply indented, and it was deemed necessary to allow a 1-inch offset between the helmet and the head. However, battle casualty survey studies during World Wars I and II and the Korean War have shown that the primary wounding agent among the WIA and the KIA casualties was the fragmentation-type weapon. The World War II experiences are universal except for the surveys of some of the Pacific island campaigns where small arms missiles accounted for a greater proportion of casualties. After World War II, fragment simulators in a range of 5 calibres were widely used in ballistics evaluation tests of prospective ballistic materials for helmets and body armour...

During the period from 9 January to 1 March 1953, a study on the battlefield performance of the M-1 steel helmet was conducted in Korea. The study was made by collecting all available helmets hit on the battlefield by enemy fire. The helmets were then forwarded through Graves Registration channels to the Central Identification Unit, Kokura, with information on (1) the type of missile that hit the helmet (grenade, mortar, "burp" gun, and so forth), (2) a complete description of what happened to the individual wearing the helmet, (3) the type of wounds sustained, and (4) the exact location of the wounds. After proper coordination with the Medical and Quartermaster Sections, an order implementing this was published by the Adjutant General, Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea, and sent to all division surgeons for their information and coordination with their battalion aid station personnel.

A total of 45 helmets were received during this period of time. It had been hoped that many more helmets would be recovered and forwarded with the information requested. Personal contact with battalion aid station surgeons at a later date revealed the numerous difficulties involved in recovering the helmets. Soldiers who had sustained hits on their helmets without receiving a wound did not want to give up their helmets and in many instances did not turn them in. There was also added danger in attempting recovery of damaged helmets from exposure to enemy fire during the time required for recovery.

In 16 of 45 cases were killed as a result of helmet defeat by the missile. In 13 of 45 cases the missile was defeated successfully, although some of these cases resulted in death from wounds elsewhere on the body. Many of the 16 nonlethal wounds sustained through the helmet were potentially lethal. This was judged from the direction the missile was travelling. Therefore, in assessing the effectiveness of helmet protection, these reductions in wound severity must be considered. In over half the cases studied, possible death resulting from head wounds was prevented by the helmet.

Kind Regards Mark K
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Old 12-21-2017, 15:13   #9
Eagle5US
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Exclamation

10-28-2006

First casualty of the day. MP PFC at a checkpoint in Sadr City. Headshot, center helmet, 7.62.
Resulting injury was the graze you see in the final photo where I am parting his hair.

I called the Chaplain prior to his arrival, not knowing if his brain housing group had been compromised.....

Chap to MP:
My GOODNESS! How are you doing after this???

MP:
Chaplain! I am one LUCKY MOTHERFUCKER! That is how I'm doin!!!

It didn't stop it - but it re-routed it well enough.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Entry MP PFC uninjured.jpg (63.1 KB, 112 views)
File Type: jpg Entry Exit MP PFC uninjured.jpg (66.9 KB, 105 views)
File Type: jpg Exit headshot MP PFC uninjured.jpg (63.2 KB, 107 views)
File Type: jpg Bullet track MP PFC.jpg (42.0 KB, 115 views)
File Type: jpg Only a scratch MP PFC headshot.jpg (55.0 KB, 131 views)
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Old 12-21-2017, 15:18   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle5US View Post
10-28-2016

First casualty of the day. MP PFC at a checkpoint in Sadr City. Headshot, center helmet, 7.62.
Resulting injury was the graze you see in the final photo where I am parting his hair.

I called the Chaplain prior to his arrival, not knowing if his brain housing group had been compromised.....

Chap to MP:
My GOODNESS! How are you doing after this???

MP:
Chaplain! I am one LUCKY MOTHERFUCKER! That is how I'm doin!!!

It didn't stop it - but it re-routed it well enough.
That is one Christmas present that he should never forget!

I am glad to hear the situation ended this way for him AND his family!
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:08   #11
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The trauma to his head and neck from taking that much energy in the impact was probably pretty significant as well.

Almost like putting on your helmet and letting someone smack you on it with a baseball bat.

Wow!

TR
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Old 12-24-2017, 23:02   #12
turboprop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle5US View Post
10-28-2016

First casualty of the day. MP PFC at a checkpoint in Sadr City. Headshot, center helmet, 7.62.
Resulting injury was the graze you see in the final photo where I am parting his hair.

I called the Chaplain prior to his arrival, not knowing if his brain housing group had been compromised.....

Chap to MP:
My GOODNESS! How are you doing after this???

MP:
Chaplain! I am one LUCKY MOTHERFUCKER! That is how I'm doin!!!

It didn't stop it - but it re-routed it well enough.
Is that a typo in the date or are we back in Sadr City?
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Old 12-24-2017, 23:54   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turboprop View Post
Is that a typo in the date or are we back in Sadr City?
Good catch-
Should indeed be 2006

Thank you-
I’ll fix the rest when I’m on the computer vs phone.

Merry Christmas

ETA:
Original fixed. Thanks again.
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Ain't no one getting out of this world alive. All you can do is try to have some choice in the way you go. Prepare yourself (and your affairs), and when your number is up, die on your feet fighting rather than on your knees. And make the SOBs pay dearly."
The Reaper-3 Sep 04

Last edited by Eagle5US; 12-24-2017 at 23:59.
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Old 01-08-2018, 13:13   #14
RedLegGI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle5US View Post
10-28-2006

First casualty of the day. MP PFC at a checkpoint in Sadr City. Headshot, center helmet, 7.62.
Resulting injury was the graze you see in the final photo where I am parting his hair.

I called the Chaplain prior to his arrival, not knowing if his brain housing group had been compromised.....

Chap to MP:
My GOODNESS! How are you doing after this???

MP:
Chaplain! I am one LUCKY MOTHERFUCKER! That is how I'm doin!!!

It didn't stop it - but it re-routed it well enough.
Wow, one lucky dude.
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