Polish M15

Polish Soldiers WWI*

General Information: During the First World War the French equipped Polish volunteers with French equipment including Model 1915 Adrian style helmets. These were fitted with pressed metal badges following the pattern of French chasseurs units, but with a Polish eagle in the center of the disk rather than “RF.” A less common badge was larger and oval shaped with a Polish eagle.

Displayed Example: I bought this at the Show of Shows in Louisville, Kentucky in 2015 from a prominent UK-based dealer. Of course, we have to be skeptical about this type of extremely rare helmet because fakes abound. I showed the helmet to collector friends at the show and almost all thought it was good. A Polish collector who was writing a book on the subject of Polish military helmets said he thought it “might be” original. I sent photos of the piece to a top French authority on Adrian helmets who is also an aspiring book author. His judgement based on photographs: also “maybe.”  So, the helmet sat on my shelf for several years, but there was always a question of its authenticity. Recently, I mailed the helmet to my French collector friend for analysis. In-hand, he judged the helmet to be a high-quality reproduction. The revealing feature was the slight color variation around the edge of the badge.

The helmet and all components, excepting the badge, are perfectly original. Furthermore, the helmet type – a dark blue painted M15 manufactured by the Compagnie Coloniale company with second-pattern liner – is a type known to have been used for the helmets issued to Polish troops. The presumed reproduction badge is the more common chasseur type badge. On the interior dome is an anchor stamp with the initials “CC” for Compagnie Coloniale. The helmet is stamped size B for medium size.

Collector Notes: This is an exceedingly rare helmet type. There are few surviving genuine examples of this type, but many fakes, so beware. Look carefully for signs of tampering around the edges of the frontal badge and the prongs in the interior of the helmet. Color variation between that badge and shell may be an indication of fakery.

* Citation pending

Published by maplecreekmilitaria

I am a collector of military headgear from 1915-1945

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