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This vet bring-back contains a rare German WWI leather Gas mask M1917. The original container (Bereitschaftsbüchse M1917) retained all webbing straps and houses the actual mask inside. There are two lens sets inside the special compartment. Some aging, but still a very difficult to find set.
Also a US WWI steel helmet in great condition containing the full liner and chin straps. Marked “ZD 53” inside the rim. A WWI US gas mask inside its canvas back with various stamps. All in a overseas bag from jeans fabric. White inscription on the bad and wooden shipping tag.
Ledermaske (or Gasmaske M1917)
DATE OF INTRODUCTION
June 6th 1917 (KM, Allg.Kriegs.Dep.n.2852/ 5.17, 6.6.1917)
Made of oiled sheepskin to prevent gas absorption, the Ledermaske (leather gas mask) was an evolution of the earlier Rahmenmaske (frame gas mask) made of rubberised fabric. The Ledermaske had specific improved lenses (Klarscheiben) made of a special synthetic material that could absorb moisture and prevent fogging. The mask was equipped with fabric-covered elastic straps (called Spiralbänder) already in use with the earlier Rahmenmasken. A front cord was added to support the filter attachment disc (Mundring) and thus the weight of the filter itself.
Ledermasken were fitted with three layer filters (Dreischichteneinsatz) types 11-C-11 and from summer 1918 the two layers (Zweischichteneinsatz) 11-C-11 filters.
According to the War Ministry circular from April 1918 (KM, Chem.Abt.n.890/ 2.18, 16.4.1918), the manufacturers were Auergesellschaft, Berlin; Hanseatische Apparatebaugesellschaft, Kiel; Drägerwerk, Lübeck; Metzler u. Co, München; J. Roekl, München.
A specific carrying box was introduced on 6 June 1917, with the same War Ministry circular that announced the introduction of the Ledermaske. In addition to this official type, known among collectors as the Bereitschaftbüchse type 1917, a wide variety of transport cans were used, mainly recycling older Gummimasken ones: these were modified using the same body but applying a higher closing lid. Finally, for a short period, wooden transport containers were also produced.
Every soldier and officer at the front had to carry his gas mask with him. The carrying can was usually hung from the neck and put on the breast or on the side. When the gas alarm was given, he must quickly open the can, extract the gas mask and fit it to the wearer’s head. Filters could be easily changed by unscrewing the first and screwing on the new one. After use, the mask had to be cleaned, checked if damaged or not, and put completely dry inside the carrying can.