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1960s Afghanistan | The photographs of Bill Podlich
Old 02-04-2013   #1
Hibbs
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1960s Afghanistan | The photographs of Bill Podlich

http://blogs.denverpost.com/captured...s-photos/5846/

Looks like surplus WW2 German army helmets!



~ Hibbs
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Old 02-04-2013   #2
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thanks for sharing. i have always thought
the '60s and '70s were way cooler than
what we see now.
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Old 02-04-2013   #3
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Thanks for posting the link! Great images and history.
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Old 02-05-2013   #4
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Wonderful -- thanks for sharing!

As far as the helmets are concerned -- given the level of Soviet influence in the late 1960s, they were probably then-current production East German helmets. Seems bizzare, but the NVA (East German army) continued using the 1930s-era style...
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Old 02-05-2013   #5
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A friend posted these to me recently and many of my Afghanistan friends, Afghan and International, have found them captivating. Everything and nothing has changed. So many landmarks remain visible... its the same place, yet nothing like it. Those people are largely gone. The culture is gone. Quite painful. Its quite astonishing how much has changed and it goes far deeper than the images depicted. You could pick the German helmets and comment on that aspect of history, women's clothing, facial hair, male attire.... the list goes on.

I've just entered my eighth year here as I am still as fascinated, horrified, thrilled, perplexed and compelled as the day I arrived.
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Old 02-05-2013   #6
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Very interesting link.

John
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Old 02-05-2013   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbisc View Post
Wonderful -- thanks for sharing!

As far as the helmets are concerned -- given the level of Soviet influence in the late 1960s, they were probably then-current production East German helmets. Seems bizzare, but the NVA (East German army) continued using the 1930s-era style...
The NVA did not continue to use the M35/M40/M42 'Stalhelm', as it was a potent symbol of the German Army during WW2. The NVA first used the M54, which looks like a cross between a German and Russian helmet, but ultimately they settled on the M56, which the Germans had in the prototype stage as the M45 at the end of the war. The M56 (in 1945 called the M45) was rejected by Hitler, because it looked nothing like the traditional WW2 German helmet that dates back to WW1. The Germans only issued about 100 units of the M45/M56 during the final battle of Berlin in 1945, but they were never official issue.

In the picture we probably are seeing recycled WW2 helmets (unless they came from Spain under Franco or South America). In the 1960's the Germans were helping the Afghans with development and training a national police force, so there was some connection and there still was plenty of surplus laying around from the war that was picked up by developing nations.
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Old 02-05-2013   #8
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Fascinating!

And interesting "... and I believe he used a small Olympus camera." According to his daughter, it was a half frame as well.
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Old 02-05-2013   #9
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Thanks for posting.
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Old 02-11-2013   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lime View Post
The NVA did not continue to use the M35/M40/M42 'Stalhelm', as it was a potent symbol of the German Army during WW2. The NVA first used the M54, which looks like a cross between a German and Russian helmet, but ultimately they settled on the M56, which the Germans had in the prototype stage as the M45 at the end of the war. The M56 (in 1945 called the M45) was rejected by Hitler, because it looked nothing like the traditional WW2 German helmet that dates back to WW1. The Germans only issued about 100 units of the M45/M56 during the final battle of Berlin in 1945, but they were never official issue.

In the picture we probably are seeing recycled WW2 helmets (unless they came from Spain under Franco or South America). In the 1960's the Germans were helping the Afghans with development and training a national police force, so there was some connection and there still was plenty of surplus laying around from the war that was picked up by developing nations.
That's correct. The West Germans sold sizeable quantities of refurbished wartime surplus abroad, especially in the Third World (but not many firearms). The only force in Western Germany that continued to use the M35/M40/M42 'Stalhelm' after World War II was the Bundesgrenzschutz or BGS for short (the Federal Border Guard), together with Nazi-era, obsolete (in the 1950s) Kar.98k bolt-action rifles which were eventually replaced by the FN FAL. They also used a camouflage pattern reminiscient of one of the several variations used by the Heer during WWII.

Another possible source of German helmets in Asia was China. The Nationalist Chinese government bought and issued German-made M35s in large numbers from the mid-30s onwards. I don't have any idea about what happened to the stocks of such under the new Communist management after 1948, but photos of red Chinese troops from the late Civil War period/early PLA wearing the 'Stalhelm' are very rare (though some Chinese stocks found their way to Vietnam).

But I digress! Hibbs, thanks for posting! Wonderful images and story. As oftheherd, I enjoyed the tidbit regarding the "small Olympus camera", an half-frame. A viewfinder, zone focus Pen or the more elaborate F or FT SLR?

The first photo is priceless, with the bunch of guys looking (but in a too glaring or rude way) at the blonde cutie. Such a sight - a young foreign lady with uncovered hair and a sleveless shirt or dress - would be impossible today. Some photos also remind us of the proximity to the USSR and the quite close and complex relationship between the two countries since well before the Russian Revolution. Soviet cars can be seen in more than one image (eg. a nice view of a GAZ-M-21U "Volga" at the gas station), as well as GAZ69A jeeps at a military parade.
Btw, on photo #10, one of the girls is about to take a portrait of her sister with a TLR (at least the device she's holding looks like one).

Alex
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Old 02-15-2013   #11
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These pictures was taking by in which son?
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Old 02-15-2013   #12
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nostalgic... thanks for sharing this!!!
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