Greek M15/18

Greek soldier 1919*

General Information: The Greeks formally adopted the French Adrian model helmet in 1918. In collector circles it is usually referred to as the “Greek Model 1915/18.” The helmets were generally painted brown, but less commonly were painted green as well. Based on period photographs, it appears that most of the helmets supplied to the Greeks may have been regular 1915 models with standard French infantry badges[1]. These were likely part of the earliest procurements. In a similar manner, the French had initially supplied the Italians and the Russians with standard French infantry helmets, but subsequently manufactured helmets with special export specifications. Many of the French supplied helmets had badges made of stamped sheet metal bearing the cross of the Greek Orthodox Church topped by a royal crown. The liners on the Greek M15/18s were the second pattern, made from one piece of leather forming the band with separate tongue sections sewn to the band.

Following the end of the First World War, Greece remained at war with Turkey until 1922, so the helmets were used in combat up to that point. In 1924 Greece became a republic and the badges with royal crowns were removed.

Displayed Example: I need to fess up; the displayed example is a reproduction. It is made from a badge-less, factory painted, brown helmet. This configuration, brown-painted, no-badge, is quite rare. I have seen two others like this that apparently never had a badge. The Greek badge is a reproduction that is painted to match the color of the helmet. The frail, partly repaired liner is the second type which would be correct for a Greek First World War helmet. The helmet is a size C, which was the largest size M15.

A Greek M15/18 was the very last helmet on my wish list of helmets to include in my collection. In my whole collecting career, I have never seen an original one for sale. There was a good one that sold at a European auction house a few years ago, but I missed that particular auction. Ultimately, I decided that I would be happy with a high-quality reproduction. It is the only non-original piece in my collection. It is at least conceivable that what I have is an actual Greek M15/18, but with badge removed per the 1924 change.

Collector Notes: You will never find one of these. Give up trying. They are exceedingly rare. I have been looking for years. If you think you have an original, however, please let me know and I will happily take it off your hands. Be wary of fakes. There is a dealer from Serbia who has been offering fakes of this type periodically on eBay. These can be identified by their badges which tilt slightly off kilter to the right, although I think he may have corrected this defect. The fakes I have seen also tend to have active, reddish rust.

* A soldier from Mytilene Island. In 1921 he was transferred to the new Archipelagos Division and then he was sent to Smyrna. He was reported KIA. Papadopoulos, Dimitris. Private collection. . May 22, 2022.

[1] Haselgrove. 2006. pp523

Published by maplecreekmilitaria

I am a collector of military headgear from 1915-1945

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