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Strange M4 Gas Mask?


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I've had this mask in my collection for about 10 years. I've always wondered about it so maybe you guys can help. It looks like a standard M4 mask with one exception.


Here is bag


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It still had the face form with it and also a small can of anti-dim cloth. It's attached to a standard M10A1canister.


Okay, here is the strange part to me. I've never seen a mask marked "SS" - I always see them as "S", "U", "M", or "L". But "SS"? any ideas?








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The SS could well stand for (super small ) remember the women in the armed forces were issued them as well.


Looks like the bag reads (MOD Small ) modified small ?

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Small Short?


Is the face piece shorter than a standard mask?


Hose shorter etc?


The military things are often marked short,regular or long in clothing(S-R-L) just wonder if this is a similiar marking?

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Kinda weird...I see them pretty often...I think I even have one in my collection, have to pull it out and look at it closer.

I always assumed SS meant Size Small.


None of the manuals I have refer to a "Short Small" or "Super Small".

The mask you have pictured is indeed an M4 from the outside at least.


With that said here's the weird part.

The M4 is "always" referred to as only being in size U, (Universal).

The M4A1 is always referred to as sizes S (Small), U (Universal) and L (Large).


The M4 face blanks are identical in mold to the M2A2 (Says the TM 3-205 1951)

The M2A2 is also always referred to as sizes S (Small), U (Universal) and L (Large).


My documentation does not give me any definitive answer other than it's pretty adamant that the M4 is Universal in size.

I have a few theories...maybe I can toss out, but it's not conclusive. So I won't muddy the waters.



doyler, the hose should be 18 inches for the M4, plus, the SS is on the face blank...they would never use the face blank to tell you the size of an attachment, right?


oldabewla, I would hesitate saying "women's" mask. Before you know it, that's how they would be sold in the future collecting market. I have a lot of IKE jackets that are "SS" and they are not women's. We simply sent a lot of "boys" off to war and some were pretty small.


Viking73, Whats the date of manufacture and the maker of the face piece?


If anyone else has an M4 mask marked SS, post a pic and of the mask and let me know the date of manufacture and maker.

Maybe we can figure this out through our own research.

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Thanks for the replies gents.


One50 - please do muddy the waters! I'm curious to hear your theories. Like you, I have never seen size SS referenced in any document or book, official or otherwise. They aren't mentioned in Ron Ruble's gas mask book which I think is a pretty good reference.


Here are a couple of photos of the markings on mine. Looks like it's dated 7-42. Not sure of the maker's name, starts with an "A" I know... The hose is 18" long as well.


I too would love to see other's "SS" marked M-4 masks. Also, have you seen "SS" marked masks on anything other than M-4s?





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Here's a picture to chew on.




The M4 was obsolete by 1950...so says the books.

This M4 mask pictured above belongs to the box labeled below.


But check out what the box says....SIZE SMALL.

SS maybe?




What is going on with the date on the box?



Not my mask BTW, but I did ask the owner to tell me the date on the face blank. Lets wait and see who and when it was actually manufactured.



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Derek, you asked if I have seen SS marked on other masks besides the M4.

Ummmm...sure...maybe...probably not. :unsure:


I love gas items and read about and look at them every chance I get.

My collection is larger than most, I assume...

But I never note what I have or what I have seen.

I have a list of all my firearms, I have a list of all my coins....but no list for my gas stuff.


I probably could have written a book had I started making notes 20 years ago when I purchased my first mask.


That might be a fun idea, keep a little note book handy and keep track of various aspects of Masks I find in my travels.

What might be better is making an info sheet that can be filled out electronically and kept on file.

I made one for the Japanese rifle collectors, I'm sure I can do it for Gas Mask collectors.



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Derek, Forgot to mention, the manufacture of your mask is Acushnet Process Company of New Bedford Mass.

They made golf balls...you might know their best selling ball as Titleist.

That made Gas Masks during the war.

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Hi Dan,


Wow - a 1956 dated package for an M4 gas mask?!? What the heck? The markings on that label look very similar to the stenciling on my mask bag.


I figured production would have stopped in the 40s on the M-4 since it was obsolete by 1950. The superior M9 mask was well into production by 1950. It sure is a mystery.


Thanks for the info on the maker of my mask.


Just how many masks do you own? :)



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Derek, That is a reconditioned item for sure. Yes, they were obsolete by 1950..."But hey we're the Govt. and we have bunch to use up."


My collection is just shy of 50 US masks.

14 are still in original packaging.

I have chem kits, clothing, manuals, repair chests, alarms Etc. Etc.

If its' US gas related...It's mine. :D


So the date on the facepiece I posted above is 1/42 Manufacture Acushnet and CWS code E41R115 Mold 88

Same as yours, just earlier date and earlier Mold #.

The CWS code of E41R115 is really cool clue as the E sands for "Experimental" the R is for "Revision"


Just a side note..."Experimental" does not equate to rarity. Simply means it was not approved version yet.


Sooooooo, because both examples posted have the same CWS Experimental code and are both Size Small (SS) and all the official manuals mention only size Universal (U) exists for the M4.

ALL M4 Masks we made from reconditioned M2A2 FaceBlanks.


The clues add up to me at least that the SS mask was not "officially" adopted, but was used anyway.

If every SS M4 we encounter has a CWS code starting with E, then it was never officially approved, hence no mention of it in the books.


See where I'm going with this?


So now the bigger question is have you ever seen an M4 with a single S?


Everyone please post your SS M4 masks with date, manufacture and CWS code.


Love to see more.

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