The Dutch m16 model helmet is briefly described below. If you would like to know more about the m16 helmet, I would like to advise you to purchase the book 'The Dutch steel helmet 1916-1992'. In this book you will find a lot of information about decision-making, development, production, amount of produced helmets and much more. There are also many photos in which you can view details and photos where the m16 helmet can be seen in use.
On 16 December 1916, the helmet model 1916 (m16) was officially adopted and introduced as Helm no. 1. After the helmet model 1927 (m27) was officially introduced as Helmet New Model on 01 July 1927, all m16 model helmets were officially designated as Helmet Old Model.
During the First World War, the developments of war material were closely followed by the Netherlands. It became clear then that the introduction of a steel helmet was necessary to protect the own soldiers and in February 1916 the Staatsbedrijf der Artillerie Inrichtingen (AI) was ordered to develop an own Dutch steel helmet.
The first trial models produced by AI were derived from the French m15 Adrian helmet and like the m15 Adrian, these helmets also failed. A number of trial helmets were also supplied by the company van Heijst & Zonen and these helmets did meet the requirements. The van Heijst helmets, of their own design, eventually became the basis for further development. Firma van Heijst was ordered to supply about thirty helmets for testing.
An order for 100,000 helmets was placed by the War Department. 50,000 would be supplied by van Heijst and 50,000 by the company Braat from Delft. The company F. Pauwels would supply the 100,000 liners.
Production barely started due to a major shortage of steel. Firma van Heijst supplied only 13,000 helmets until October 1917 and the firm Braat barely 300 (trial) helmets. The order with Braat was eventually canceled as a result, they were unable to meet the obligation.
There was also a difference between the helmets supplied by van Heijst. Helmets were supplied from 1mm thick steel and helmets were supplied from 1.5mm steel. The 1mm steel helmets were finally discarded in 1922 due to poor quality.
In June 1921, 22 companies abroad were requested to supply trial helmets. Only six companies agreed and supplied the requested trial helmets. Of these six companies, 3 eventually received an order to produce m16 helmets. These producers were the firms of Heijst & Zonen from the Netherlands, Hadfields Ltd. from England and Eskilstuna Stalpressnings from Sweden. From mid-1924 the helmets were produced at the Artillerie Inrichtingen and production of the m16 helmets continued until 1928 at the Artillerie Inrichtingen. From 1927, helmets of the model m27 were also produced at the Artillerie Inrichtingen.
The slots and ventilators in the m16 helmets caused an annoying noise when windy and in January 1926 it was proposed to remove the ventilators from all new helmets to be produced. On 23 March 1926, the Minister of War gave his approval and it was decided not to modify the existing helmets, because closing the slots and ventilators was an expensive modification.
An improvement made in early 1927 on the recommendation of the Helmet Commission was a new model 2-piece chinstrap with flat sliding buckle and larger bale. The new model chinstrap, also called 3rd model, was 18mm wide and about 58cm long, and was attached to the right bale with 2 hollow rivets. A short strap with a flat sliding buckle was attached to the left bale with 2 hollow rivets.
The bales were attached with rivets between the leather strap and the inside of the helmet shell. The 2nd model chinstrap was replaced by the new 3rd model chinstrap on all m16 helmets in circulation.
Ultimately, several models were produced of the model m16, namely:
The m16 produced in 1916 by van Heijst;
The m16 produced in 1916 and 1917 by van Heijst;
The m16A produced between 1922 and 1924 by van Heijst, Hadfields Ltd. and Eskilstuna Stalpressnings;
The m16B produced in 1926 by Artillerie Inrichtingen;
The m16C produced in 1927 by Artillerie Inrichtingen;
The m16D produced in 1927 and 1928 by Artillerie Inrichtingen.
The helmet m16
The m16 helmets produced in 1916 are characterized by 3 slots and a venthole on both sides. The helmets were painted in a dark green color with a smooth finish.
The interior was derived from the German model as used on German m16 helmets and consisted of three leather flaps placed on a steel strap. The whole was attached to the helmet with 8 steel flat rivets, with a cork ring placed between the helmet and the steel band for each rivnite. It wasn't long before the steel strap was replaced with a leather strap, due to complaints.
The liners liners were available in two sizes, namely one of 56cm and one of 59cm. Depending on which size liner was placed, the thickness of the cork ring was different. There was a cork ring of 10mm thick for the size 56cm liner and a cork ring of 5mm thick for the size 59cm liner.
They quickly switched to one size liner of 59 cm, so that cushions filled with horsehair were placed at the back of the leather flaps. Depending on the size of the head, these pillows were filled until the correct size was reached. The chinstrap was a 1 piece French model as used on the m15 Adrian, also called 1st model. Initially, the sliding buckle was placed on the right side, but it was soon moved to the left side.
After approval by the Centrale Magazijnen, the liner was stamped on the inside of one of the flaps with the letters CM and a year. These CM stamps were white in color at first, but the Centrale Magazijnen soon switched to black stamps.
The helmets made by the Van Heijst company were stamped on the front (wide rim) with “VAN HEIJST” with “DEN HAGUE” underneath. These stamps are located on the inside, under the front slot.
The m16 helmets produced in 1916 and 1917 are characterized by 3 slots and a venthole on both sides. The helmets were painted in a gray-green color with a smooth finish.
The interior consisted of three leather flaps with cushions filled with horsehair on the back, which were placed on a leather strap. The whole was attached to the helmet with 8 copper rivets, with a cork ring of 5mm per rivet placed between the helmet and the leather strap.
After approval by the Centrale Magazijnen, the interior was stamped on the inside of one of the flaps with the letters CM and a year. These CM stamps are black in color. The chinstrap was the 1st model.
Most helmets were stamped on the front (wide brim) with “VAN HEIJST” and “DEN HAGUE” underneath. These stamps are located on the inside, under the front slot.
After 1922, a large part of the 1.5mm thick van Heijst helmets were overhauled. They received a new model liner, a new model 2-piece chinstrap with pin buckle and the helmets were painted in a grass green color with a grainy finish.
De helm m16A is tussen 1922 en 1924 geproduceerd door de firma’s van Heijst & Zonen, Hadfields Ltd. en Eskilstuna Stalpressnings en werden niet gestempeld. De m16A kenmerkt zich door 3 ranselriemsleuven en aan beide zijden één luchtventilator. Vanaf medio/eind 1925 werden de helmen m16A zonder luchtventilator geproduceerd. De helmen werden gespoten in een grasgroene kleur met een korrelige afwerking.
Het binnenwerk was een verbeterd model zoals gebruikt op de m16 helmen uit 1916 en 1917. Deze bestond uit drie lederen flappen geplaatst op een lederen band. De zakjes paardenhaar werd vervangen door drie rechthoekige vilten flappen die onder de lederen flappen werden geplaatst en er was maar één maat beschikbaar.
De kinriem was een 2-delige model, ook wel 2e model genoemd, met aan de linkerzijde een doorngesp in plaats van de eerder gebruikte schuifgesp.
De helm kreeg na goedkeuring van de Centrale Magazijnen een zwarte CM stempel met goedkeuringsdatum op de lederen band tussen twee flappen. Meestal bevind deze stempel aan de linker voorzijde
Eind 1926 startte bij de AI de productie van de helm m16C. De helm m16C ontstond na een fout in de productie omdat een groot deel van de helmen te kort werden afgesneden voor het kralen van de rand. De m16C kenmerkt zich door het ontbreken van een ranselriemsleuf, een scherp rand en geen luchtventilatoren.
Het binnenwerk bleef gelijk en de m16C helmen geproduceerd eind 1926 en begin 1927 hadden een 2e model kinriem. Na het doorvoeren van het nieuwe 3e model kinriem begin 1927, kregen de m16C helmen het nieuwe 3e model kinriem.
In januari 1927 startte de productie van de helm m16D. De m16D kenmerkt zich door het ontbreken van een ranselriemsleuf, een gekraalde rand en geen luchtventilatoren. Het kralen van de helmrand werd uitbesteed aan de N.V. Verenigde Blikfabrieken (Verblifa) in Krommenie.
Het binnenwerk bleef gelijk en de kinriem was van het 3e model.
Met de toegenomen oorlogsdreiging midden jaren ’30 werd bepaald dat in het geval van een mobilisatie ook de opgeslagen helmen m16 in al zijn varianten moesten worden uitgereikt om over voldoende helmen te kunnen beschikken. De helmen m16C en m16D kregen vanaf maart 1936 alsnog één ranselriemsleuf, die aan de voorzijde (brede rand) werd aangebracht. De ranselriemsleuf was bedoel om de helm mee te voeren anders dan op het hoofd.
Ook werd de wijze van dragen vrijgelaten, omdat vrijwel alle militairen de helm m16 liever met de brede rand naar achteren droegen.