I see that many people that are war enthusiasts do not understand the real use of a military helmet, it has all started with a question that is always. Why has the bullet gone through the helmet? For the sake of this article as well as an argument, we shall take a look at the World War two era as all or at least most soldiers were wearing a military helmet.
Please do understand that we are talking about 3mm of steal, I am pretty sure that even 22. calibre can actually penetrate that however, the most common calibre which is 9mm can certainly penetrate 3mm of steel and go even beyond the skull — brain — outer shell skull and even penetrating another 3mm of steal exiting the back of the helmet.
Many people would blame that every time a soldier has been shot through their helmet it is because they have been shot by a big calibre such as the 7.62x54mm shot out of the Mosin rifle which most Soviet soldiers were equipped with. It is imperative to mention that all helmets were the same thickness from all nations no matter if axis or allied.
I have chosen to take into consideration the calibres that the American soldiers were firing because at that time they have the most diversified armament when it came to different calibres. Most of the bullets that you see above are able to penetrate any axis or allied helmet and most definitely hit their target for a lethal shot.
So, if they have not been made to defend soldiers from bullets why were they wearing them in the first place?
First of all, to explain the cases where soldiers were shot in the head and the helmet has actually saved their life is because the shot was at an angle that was curved enough so that the bullet had no potential to penetrate and the bullet would ricochet off the helmet. No matter how big the calibre would be (as long as it was shot out of a rifle and not a cannon) if the angle is curved enough there is a high chance that the bullet will ricochet and bounce.
The actual use of the military helmet was to protect your head from shrapnel that was created by bombs, grenades and artillery. When all of these explosives hit on impact they create lots of small and hot pieces of shrapnel which in some cases, can actually be more harmful than a bullet. As they are very small pieces that do not have an accurate shape they often do not have the power to penetrate 3mm of a steal as they are not propelled directly down a barrel.
When firing a bullet the explosion which shots the bullet out of the gun has a greater deal of power because of the concentrated explosion. If a grenade explodes, the concentration is not so concentrated as it does not focus on propelling one piece of metal down a barrel but propelling many small pieces of metal in all directions.
Many people get this wrong as well because they have the impression that when a bomb or artillery shell goes off the soldiers die from the initial explosion, in some cases, yes but, it is mainly due to the shrapnel.
As the old WW2 saying goes:
“Keep your head down the can”