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Battle Damaged NVA Pith Helmet w/ Graffiti


AnDuc49

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Hello all,

After talking to Daniel Griffin, one of the mods in charge of this section of the forum, he graciously allowed me to share this helmet.

 

The helmet itself is an early pattern helmet likely produced in the early 50s and 60s by Communist China for export to North Vietnam. These helmets were later phased out in preference to those produced locally beginning the mid-war period.

 

It's typical of helmets manufactured by the Chinese; it's simply made of cardboard impregnated with resin with a khaki-green cotton twill covering glued and stapled to the exterior. The sweatband is a first pattern type made of thin interwoven bamboo that was covered with some kind of plastic/vinyl material. Most of the metal present is aluminum which has oxidized due to exposure. The chinstrap brad itself though is brass.

 

The helmet itself, as can be seen in the photos experienced three hits from some object: There are three entry holes on the front brim and three large exit holes along the wearer's left. The seller believed that this damage was possibly caused from a M-60, but neither of us are really sure. If anyone knows, please feel free to chime in.

 

The helmet itself is extensively graffitied both on the interior and exterior. The exterior lists four names: Nguyen Thi Vinh, Duong Thi Ly, Chinh Thi Pham and Dong Van Phu. These were all written in Vietnamese hand and interestingly enough, the first 3 names are female names. The much larger and bolder "Nguyen Thi Vinh August 17, 1968" was not written by anyone who was Vietnamese. More likely than not, this was the vet who picked up making a note of the date and the name of the soldier who it belonged to. Based on this, I would say that his helmet belonged to a female soldier named Vinh. I doubt that she was a front line soldier though. It would be more likely that she was a performer, a nurse, a guide or such.

 

The interior of the helmet is also quite heavily adorned with writing, but in some areas, the writing has either become too faded or damaged to read, but I did my best to translate.

 

The largest bit of writing in the front brim of the helmet seems to be the soldier's military postal code and home town. These postal codes generally corresponded to units, but they were frequently changed It goes: ".... HT (Hop Tho -> Mail Box) 24089 CK. Minh Son Commune, Do Luong District. Nghe An Province. There is also a small bit of writing written off to the side, but bullet/shrapnel damage to it has rendered it unreadable.

 

The rear brim is EXTREMELY FADED, but I after messing around with different filters and contrast values, I believe it reads "2 February 1968, a special date to remember in the future, your dearest". The handwriting here is completely different compared to that anywhere else on the helmet, so I believe it could possible have been Vinh's lover. The date itself most likely represented the day that she began her journey South.

 

On the wearer's left side, the writing is also extremely faded. To me, it looks like it reads "4 June 68, Quan" (literally translates to Army). If correct, this would likely be the date that she entered South Vietnam and began whatever mission that she was assigned.

 

The opposite side is just simply marked "T.A.". I have no clue of any significance that this might have. Perhaps it's a code, but I am not sure.

 

Anyhow, I hope that you all enjoyed this helmet. What I have now is simply guesswork and intuition, so I could be wrong on some points here. If there are any mistakes, feel free to point them out to me.

 

-- Khang

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post-154926-0-64546000-1523801105_thumb.jpg

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Very interesting helmet.

 

Always like them as a collectible and learning about them.

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

Have you Hugged a Clown Today?

You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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That is one fantastic helmet And thanks for the very complete description of the writings that adorn it.

Collector of Vietnam and Korean War Sniper Weapons

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USCapturephotos

I really enjoyed seeing and reading about your helmet. What a great piece of history from the Vietnam War.

Paul

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vintageproductions

This is a great helmet, but where is the proof that it is a "spoil of war".

www.vintageproductions.com

"A militaria show is a social event for anti-socials" - A.T. 2008

ASMIC Executive President

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This is a great helmet, but where is the proof that it is a "spoil of war".

As in my post, I noted that the bold writing in marker, "Nguyen Thi Vinh, August 17, 1968" was written by the vet.

 

Unfortunately, the seller did not grab the name of the vet. I wasn't sure whether this was allowed as items are verbally supposed to be provenanced to a vet, but after asking Daniel Griffin, one of the mods in charge of this section, he gave me the thumbs up.

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Patchcollector

So the thought is that the person was killed wearing the helmet?It seems odd to me that there is no sign of blood on it.

High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silver wings;

Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth

Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there

I've chased the shouting wind along and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue

I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,

where never lark, or even eagle flew;

and while, with silent, lifting mind I've trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

 

John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

June 9, 1922 – December 11, 1941

 

 

 

" And each man stands with his face in the light of his own drawn sword. Ready to do what a hero can." - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

 

Don't let the B@stards wear you down -"Vinegar" Joe Stillwell

 

 

Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world.Unreasonable

people attempt to adapt the world to themselves.All progress,

therefore, depends on unreasonable people.

George Bernard Shaw

 

 

" Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining" , Fletcher,from the movie "The outlaw Josey Wales"

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vintageproductions

As in my post, I noted that the bold writing in marker, "Nguyen Thi Vinh, August 17, 1968" was written by the vet.

 

Unfortunately, the seller did not grab the name of the vet. I wasn't sure whether this was allowed as items are verbally supposed to be provenanced to a vet, but after asking Daniel Griffin, one of the mods in charge of this section, he gave me the thumbs up.

 

The rules of posting in this section are there must be provenance to the veteran who brought the item home.

 

Like I said it is a great helmet, but there is no documentation to an actual vet bring back.

www.vintageproductions.com

"A militaria show is a social event for anti-socials" - A.T. 2008

ASMIC Executive President

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So the thought is that the person was killed wearing the helmet?It seems odd to me that there is no sign of blood on it.

 

I have seen a lot of bringback NVA headgear and consider that most if not all were battlefield captures. I've only seen a couple of bringbacks that exhibited blood. I would venture that very few vets would bring back a bloody helmet, especially if they would have to carry it around awhile. Just the messiness and the smell would be a great deterrent.

 

Collector of Vietnam and Korean War Sniper Weapons

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Patchcollector

I'm not a helmet expert so I can't speak to the authenticity of the helmet itself but I'm suspicious of "battle damage" that shows no evidence of the trauma that most likely would have been accompanied by the rounds,especially with a cloth covered helmet.
I've fired the M60 many times while in the Military and I've seen what it can do.Multiple head shots with a round like the M60 uses would IMO create a lot of damage,and there would have been blood and gore present IMO.
Without solid provenance one must surmise that the possibility of "battle damage" being added later is a real concern,on any helmet.

High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silver wings;

Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth

Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there

I've chased the shouting wind along and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue

I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,

where never lark, or even eagle flew;

and while, with silent, lifting mind I've trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

 

John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

June 9, 1922 – December 11, 1941

 

 

 

" And each man stands with his face in the light of his own drawn sword. Ready to do what a hero can." - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

 

Don't let the B@stards wear you down -"Vinegar" Joe Stillwell

 

 

Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world.Unreasonable

people attempt to adapt the world to themselves.All progress,

therefore, depends on unreasonable people.

George Bernard Shaw

 

 

" Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining" , Fletcher,from the movie "The outlaw Josey Wales"

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USCapturephotos

Could have been dropped and hit while laying on the ground or picked up by the vet and used for target practice? Patchcollector makes a very valid point.

Paul

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