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A Great War Tank Corps Anti-Splinter Face Mask, 1917
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A Great War Tank Corps Anti-Splinter Face Mask, 1917

Measurements: 15cm (6in) x 17cm (6.75in) x 6.5cm (2.5in)

£2300

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Leather stitched on iron alloy. Face mask with with slatted eye protection and chain mail skirt to cover the mouth. Complete with original ties.

Tank masks such as this were issued to British tank crews to protect them from 'splash' - or flying metal splinters caused by the impact of bullets on the tank hull. A Tank Corps subaltern whose machine suffered an artillery strike at Cambrai recalled, ‘In action if the tank was hit slivers of hot steel began to fly - bullets hitting the armoured plates caused melting and the splash, as in steel factories, was dangerous to the eyes. For protection we used to wear a small face mask.’ The somewhat sinister and medieval apearance of such masks no doubt enhanced the surreal experience of the enemy when exposed to the first mass armoured attacks as the latest development of industrialized warfare.

 

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