While khaki was typically the color uniform of colonial powers, it was also used – alongside with the sun helmet – by the forces of North Vietnam during the conflict with the United States. In 1958 the PAVN (People’s Army of Vietnam) – also known as the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) began a modernization following its war that saw Indo-China “liberated” from French rule. This modernization included efforts to standardize its uniform.
While dark green is typically the color associated with PAVN forces, in the 1965-73 conflict with the United States, khaki and tan uniforms also became prevalent, especially among officers.
A light fiber helmet of the so-called East German pattern with the badge of the Cuban Navy
German sun helmets are well-established. Imperial Germany had colonies in Africa, and during the Third Reich fielded the infamous Afrika Korps. However, a lesser known sun helmet is one purported to be of East German origin.
A few sources, including Paolo Marzetti’s Elmetti (“Helmets”) note the existence of a “DDR sun helmet, made in fibre material” the use of these helmets would seem to be limited. The Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR), or East Germany had no colonies of course. East German soldiers of the NVA (Nationale Volksarmee or National People’s Army) did serve as advisors to various African countries during the Cold War and it is possible the helmets may have been developed for this purpose. Continue reading