This was the standard pattern used by the Afrika Korp. While most of these were made of cork, there are many examples that were apparently made of weaved straw with wicker support. This example, while in bad condition offers an excellent look at the “inside” of the helmet
While sola pith and cork are among the most commonly used materials in the construction of sun helmets, straw weave and wicker were used at times as an ersatz material, especially in wartime. We previously noted two examples of British-made Wolseley straw helmets in the collection of Stuart Bates. While these are the only two known surviving examples of British straw helmets of this pattern, there are many surviving examples of straw helmets from other countries.
How many of these helmets were produced remains a mystery, but surviving examples given an indication that serious craftsmanship went into their construction.
One thought on “Straw and Wicker Helmets”
- Enzo F.( from Italy) said:
Hi Peter! , the italian P.H made in weaved straw based on the model 28 is really a product made by CASARINI farm and named in red label: “CASARINI-brevettato”. It was purchased privately by commissioned officers or junior officers for the most part. This model is valuable for its light was produced to overcome the lack of cork during the end 30′s-WW2 period. It ‘still a model tied to the military police (Italian Royal Carabiners or colonial police P.A.I too). In fact, the old pictures that I viewed during several years have seen increasingly worn by the Carabiners or even by engineers but never by a PAI units. The famous book on the PAI history (by Girlando) shows why this model is not included in this department, so I for one am inclined to think this is an “urban legend” of some Italian collectors.
Enzo, from Italy