DOUG'S 'HEAVY METAL' GALLERY

 

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CVC/AVC Helmets .
   (Ver 2)

 

First off some quick history. During WW2 American armour crew either wore the "baseball" style helmet with fitted intercom or an M1 steel pot with headset.
Later on a helmet officially called the T56-6 CVC (Combat Vehicle Crewman), but universally known as "the bone dome" was issued and came to prominence during the Vietnam War. It was not particuarly liked as it didn't fit all that well, was not well padded and the earcups didn't seal; but worst of all it was just too hot for asia.
This was followed by the AVC (Armoured Vehicle Crewman) DH-132, but this is universally known as a CVC to those who wear it.
Not hard to get confused hey?
What the soldiers call something and what officialdom call it are more often than not are never in agreement!

These appear to have been produced by a number of manufacturers and there are detail differences to the switch box. The early models have a large octagonal microphone, while the latter models have the standardised microphone as seen on the H-161 headset family (except H-161A, which is the same).

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The T56-6 CVC (Combat Vehicle Crewman) helmet.


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An early CVC with the hexagonal mic.


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A later CVC with the "tear drop" mic.



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The AVC (Armoured Vehicle Crewman) helmet DH-132.

From what I can find out, these helmets come in a 132 and a 132A model, I do not know what the difference is, but suspect it is that the "A" model has a Kevlar shell and the earlier one a fibreglass shell - I am guessing.

If you are considering purchasing an AVC then you need to know about sizing. They come in 3 sizes, small, medium and large.
1) The small appears to only fit pixies, babies and children under 6 years of age. I have yet to find an adult who can get one past the top of their ears.
2) The medium is for women and small to average head size males. I have only seen 1 male get one onto his head and he didn't leave it on for long.
3) The large will just fit most men of anything over, say, a medium hat size.

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DH-132.
As the above picture of a DH-132 shows, (if you are lucky enough to aquire an NOS helmet still in its box that is) the size of both shell and liner are marked on the box.

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DH-132A new in box (NIB).

However, not the case with the DH-132A, the labelling seems to have gone down hill.

I have also found that less than scrupulous dealers, both on ebay and in American army surplus stores, despite explicit instructions about these labels are only too keen to send me small liners with small or large shells when I have specified very precisely large liners in large shells. They don't want to know about refunds either.

Below is a picture of BOTH the sizing tags in an AVC. Be WARNED that the shell comes in a small or a large size, but the liner comes in a small, medium and large size. So don't get caught where someone has stuck a small liner in a large shell etc.

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The 2 sizes.


The view above is of the rear underside of the helmet. Normally there is a short strap with a press stud (you can see the socket in the shell) that retains the liner at this position, for the photo I have unclipped it so as to reveal the liner tag.
The liner tag (marked "inner size") is black printing on a sewn on fabric tag. If you look closely you can see this one is marked "large". The shell tag is a paper tag integrally moulded into the helmet shell. Due to different batches or sub-manufacturers, the size can appear anywhere on the tag.

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The underside.


There is an art to getting these things on your head. Yanking it on is painfull and won't do the electronics or your ears any favours.
1) Pick the helmet up and flip it upside down.
2) Grab the earcups and twist them outwards to about 45.
3) Pull the helmet over your head and as you pull it down get your ears in first.
4) Then finish pulling down and release pressure on the earcups, the shell should then slide down a bit further.

What I am saying is that you only need to worry about getting the liner on, then the shell has to follow as it is attached to the liner.

The manual warns that hearing protection is only effective if the chin strap is worn.

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New condition.


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Typical surplus condition.

This is how you will normally encounter them - missing the "Y" cable and quite often with a pair of genuine goggles, which amounts to a pretty good chance that it is an ex-crewman's issue.

My own experience is that wear and tear is mostly to the liner and only in that the plastic coated foam inserts deteriorate and every time you use the thing you then have to pick bits of plastic and foam out of your hair.
The foam inserts in the earcups turn to a sticky dust with age, but are easily replaced with foam of similar appearance.
Electonically, the major problem will be cracking of the outer sheath of both the drop and "Y" cables. The internal wires are rubber insulated aluminium braid conductors, the rubber deteriorates easily. The conductors are non-solderable and use tiny crimp connectors. The microphones and speakers are quite reliable, but it doesn't hurt to have a spare mic or 2.

Disclaimer: Some of the images in this article are from ebay sales, photographers are unknown.

 

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