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This Soviet-like helmet came to replace the older, German-like M36, but never did - still both are in use in the army. It is the first postwar Bulgarian helmet, a new design for the communist state's army which was for long years a part of the military system of the Warsaw Treaty, the commies' version of NATO. Though the main idea most probably was the helmet to be Russian-like, in fact it is an almost exact copy of the Italian M-33 combat helmet. Only the Bulgarian helmet's sides are a little more flat, not that round, and also the liner is a little different - only a little. As far as I know these helmets are produced in the military factories here in Bulgaria.
The beginning of year 2003 - M36 and M51/72 helmets still in use together /click image to see a little bigger/
The color pictures of Bulgarian soldiers are from the site of the Bulgarian War Ministry and from the "Bulgarian Army" newspaper. Unfortunately they are available only in quite very small size.