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).

Sides:

Elastic band allows cover to conform to helmet’s shape.

Top:

Inside:

Drawstring at rim to secure cover.

Usage Photos:

SADF Recces in Mozambique (from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/843580573941880310/).

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.