P-series helmets in German Air Force and Navy use
Message 2102, May 05, 2001
Have you seen the German Air Force P-4B with the Autoflug visor that has been relisted on eBay? It is a real beauty but I am afraid that it will suffer the same fate as the Italian P-4/3. It seems as if gear does not meet USAF specs it does not fetch the high prices (unless it is Danish and a stupid Dane is bidding).
German P-4B with Autoflug visor İFrank Jensch. Click on the thumbnails
to see large size pictures.
Message 2107,May 5, 2001
Bluelight, Roger that on the Autoflug visor equipped P-4B. I was interested in that myself, but I had to limit myself to the equally interesting "HGU-26" that Frank was also auctioning at the same time. I could not realistically afford both so I let the P-4B "slide", and as I was quite interested in the Luftwaffe's use of the original MS22001 type configuration with single mask bayonets, grabbed that one instead. I agree with you that the Luftwaffe specimen of the P-4B is a great and interesting variant on the P-series helmet and wish I had enough 'mad money' to snare both of them.
By the way, I think that Frank's HGU-26P is actually an APH-6 (foreign version), but we shall see when it gets over here. I am fascinated by that hard-bayonet & MS22001 set-up, though. I never thought of using a single nylon strap through the rubber lugs on the MS22001 mask to allow use of bayonets--that is innovative and worth closer study, in my opinion.
Message 2160, May 6, 2001
Bluelight, Speaking of the Luftwaffe's use of the P-series helmets, I spotted a P-4B (images attached and borrowed from Haas-Ausrustungen site merely to illustrate this point) at Rudigear's site which is greatly puzzling. It has a paper label on the inner shell clearly identifying it as a US factory built P-4B, but the other aspects of the system's internal coms and so forth are mystifying (like no P-4B I ever saw before). It has the old chamois skin earphone pads (a la P-1 through P-3 helmets) and a pigtail com plug in situ. Earphones are apparently secured with twin screws, in the manner of P-4A type H-75/AIC headphone sets (!?). Head sling assembly clearly has "US Air Force" on the leather crown pad, which I doubt seriously if the Luftwaffe would use on helmets issued exclusively to its pilots.
All in all a very strange set-up by my standards of familiarity. If you or anyone else out there has any information on this beastie, I'd certainly appreciate some illuminating reflections from you. Rudigear is asking about US$490 for it with MS22001 mask, which is reasonable, but questions linger in my mind about what exactly it is supposed to be.
Message 2172, May 7, 2001
DocBoink, First of all I should hasten to say that we are now passing the limit of my knowledge about German helmets. I have no personal recollections this early. But, as one of my former instructors used to say, this means that I am not inhibited by prior knowledge or experience.
Your first reaction is bound to have been the same as mine, "This is a kitchen table job". But if that is not the case, the strange configuration may be a result of a German wish to have one standard configuration only. In the Danish Air Force we have had P-4A that were retrofitted to P-4 in order to meet the set standard (one of my P-4s has a P-4A label). What may have happened is that a need arises late in the P-4 helmet service life for an additional number of helmets. If the production line at Gentex had moved on to P-4A standard they were ordered and then modified on arrival. The jump from P-4B back to P-3 seems, however, to be a long and not very likely one.
Another possibility: On my last trip around to the Danish air bases I saw two P-4 helmets that are still being flown occasionally by a couple of ALSE guys, just for fun. Maybe the same has happened in the German Air Force. As spare parts run out it would be necessary to improvise, so the P-4B hybrid might be such a special helmet that has finally surfaced. But it would be almost impossible to confirm unless you had the luck to pluck the helmet off the shelf when they finally decided to let it go.
I am not sure whether Djabbah is monitoring this conversation but maybe he would be a good one to challenge for further information.
Message 2184, May 8, 2001
Most interesting hypothesis on the P-4B matter, Bluelight. Thanks for this suggested possibility of a 'reverse upgrade', as it were. Also, I wonder how many P-series helmets are now flown for similar reasons (perhaps to lend that touch of authenticity in old jet warbirds). Amusing anecdote about your former instructor: he should have been in the diplomatic corps. The idea of asking Frank about the Luftwaffe configurations is also a good one. I'll follow these up, hopefully with the result that more information and a few answers surface on these older German variations.