Greek M34/39

BRITISH TROOPS ON WAY AND ARRIVAL AT CRETE (E 1171) Original wartime caption: Greek and British soldiers enjoy a cup of tea. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

General Information: Contrary to popular belief in the collector community, the Greek Model 1934/39 helmet was produced entirely in Greece. The myth that evolved about this helmet was that the shells were produced in Italy under contract and sold to the Greeks prior to the outbreak of hostilities between the two countries. According to the story, the liners were locally made in Greece. Thanks to pioneering research done by Markos Andreos, published in the journal Military History the interesting true story of this model has come to light.

The manufacturer of the M34/39 helmet was the Emage and Metallurgy factory of Athanasios Kostas on the island of Kea in the Aegean Sea. Production began in 1937. The helmets were made in three sizes: 55cm, 57cm, and 59cm. The liners bear the stamp of Greek Army. The Greek authorities ordered 250,000 of M34/39s, but production at the factory was interrupted by the Italian invasion of Greece and total number actually produced is unknown.[1]  

Some captured M34/39s were used by Italian armed forces during the war.

Displayed Example: This helmet is complete and unaltered from its World War II state. It is a size 57, which was the medium size for this model. The helmet size is displayed in two spots: on the liner and in ink on the rear skirt section. In addition to the size stamp on the liner, there is an ink stamp on the rear skirt section One of the liner tabs is crisply embossed with the Greek Army stamp featuring a cross and topped with a royal crown.

Collector Notes: These helmets are moderately difficult to find but if you are patient, they can be acquired. They are also moderately priced. Many surviving examples seem to be unissued, so they are often in nice condition. Most of the helmets on the market are the smaller size 55s. The size 57s are significantly less common and the larger size 59s are very scarce. I suspect that the smaller helmets were over-produced and many of these ended up in storage, whereas the larger sizes were mostly issued and ended up rusting on old battlefields.

[1] “The Uniform – The Greek helmet.” WWII Greek Army 1940 Reenacting Team.” February 19, 2017. Accessed November 14, 2022.

Published by maplecreekmilitaria

I am a collector of military headgear from 1915-1945

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