French Export M26

Volunteers from the Abraham Lincoln Brigade*

General Information: The French produced an export version of the Model 1926 helmet that was used by Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War. The was nearly identical in appearance to the domestic version but for the lack of holes in the front for a badge. The export M26s were made of mild, magnetic steel, so the were not as strong as the helmets used by the French armed forces. These helmets are typically found with Spanish three-pad liners of the German M16 style. Some were refitted with Spanish Nationalist eagles post-Civil War.

Displayed Example: This a classic example of the type. It is made of magnetic steel. The original factory paint is mostly intact. A second period-applied coat of paint has largely flaked off. There are no manufacturer’s stamps in the dome as would be normal for domestically used French M26s. (Lack of manufacturer stamps seems to be a feature of export helmets from this period.) The comb on top is made of steel rather than aluminum which would be typical of the M26s used by the French. This specimen has its original French-made liner which is less common for surviving M26s. Usually they have Spanish replacement liners.

Collector Notes: These interesting and historic helmets can be found for modest prices. Be wary of Spanish Civil War helmets of all types that are dress up with communist or anarchist militia emblems. These are usually post-war creations.

* Water carriers, Jarama. (Previously misidentified as Oliver Law; Tamiment Library, NYU, ALBA Photo 184, Box 1, Folder 34). From: Anatomy of a Lie: The Death of Oliver Law. By Grover Furr. The Volunteer. June 1, 2010. Accessed November 11, 2022.

Published by maplecreekmilitaria

I am a collector of military headgear from 1915-1945

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