A lecture based on new research by Eugene Jordan, Vice President of the GAHS.
The new Irish army’s decision to equip its troops with German style helmets in 1927 has been claimed was done to deliberately insult the British. Yet in December 1940, the British army approached the Irish army asking for a sample of and comments on, the Irish military helmet, commenting that they believed it to be superior to the British Brodie helmet. The Irish army responded sending a sample helmet along with a note indicating that the helmet was beyond useless. The army had initially decided to buy Italian/French Adrian helmets but testing revealed that they could be penetrated easily by shrapnel, while the British Brodie Helmet and the German Stahlhelm remained impenetrable. Both helmets had been modelled on earlier medieval designs updated in response to the trench warfare of WWI.
The Irish army contracted the British Vickers armaments company to manufacture helmets to the superior German design and its experience reveals that the Germans had significant advantage in steel technology over the British. Moreover, the Irish army sent an officer to the Sheffield factory to test the newly manufactured helmets for shrapnel penetration, All passed the test, but when the helmets arrived in Ireland, further tests showed that they did not meet the Irish army’s specification. What happened, did Vickers pull a con job on the Irish army and if so why.
The lecture will be broadcast live on the GAHS YouTube channel on Monday 14th September 2020 at 8pm