These helmet covers were mainly used by the SADF Recces (Special Forces) for urban training, though a few were used on operations. The camouflage pattern is similar to what the South African Air Force painted on its Mirage fighter jets (source: https://www.warrelics.eu/forum/world-steel-helmets/combat-helmet-south-africa-745873-7/#post2140527). It is unclear where the covers are manufactured though they are often worn on West German manufactured helmets (sources: http://brendonshelmets.weebly.com/south-africa-m71-airborne.html, https://www.newrhodesian.ca/viewtopic.php?p=4722#p4722) and appear to be made from a moleskin-like material that some Western European forces, including the West German Bundeswehr, also used.
Helmet cover is displayed mounted to a US M1 helmet liner. In SADF service, a West German M1 with the paratrooper chinstrap would have been used (sources: http://brendonshelmets.weebly.com/south-africa-m71-airborne.html, https://www.newrhodesian.ca/viewtopic.php?p=4722#p4722).
Elastic band allows cover to conform to helmet’s shape.
Drawstring at rim to secure cover.
There are photos of helmets with this type of cover in the book South Africa Special Forces: The Men Speak by Jonathan Pittaway and Douw Steyn on:
- Page 398 (Hot extraction practice)
- Page 414 (6 Recce in a Dakota, appears to be related in Operation Beanbag which occurred on January 29-30, 1981); the helmet cover on Page 415 appears to be made from a different twill material than the one on this page.
- Page 487 (Demolition range)
- Page 496 (Urban training)
- Page 598 (Urban team training at the Bluff in Durban)
- Pag 632 (Motorbikes on urban exercise; in 1990’s section of the book, but the soldiers are wearing Nutria brown, so the picture was probably taken some time between 1990 – 1994?)
The pictures tend to be concentrated in the 1980’s section of the book, hence the date in the title.