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Iraqi Victory Arch Helmet


Nkomo
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  I was fortunate to grab this Iraq Victory Arch helmet at an Army base recently.  Funny part was this helmet was at a shop for at least two years and it never dawned on me as to what it was until my last trip.  

  These helmets were part of the The Swords of Qādisiyyah in Baghdad and were part of a monument to Iraq's victory during the Iran-Iraq War.  The monument shows two hands with crossed swords and many coalition soldiers had their pictures taken by this monument.  On the sides of the monument were wire nets that held approximately 5,000 helmets that Saddam Hussein claimed were trophies taken from dead Iranian soldiers.  Each side of the monument contained 2,500 helmets.

  In February 2007, it was decided that the monument needed to be taken down and demolition started.  Due to an outcry from some people, the destruction of the monument was stopped, but not before soldiers and some bystanders took some of the helmets.  This helmet is one of the ones taken by an American soldier.


  The color of the helmet and the hardened sand are the dead give aways as to what and where this helmet came from.  Not sure how many of these came home, but it can't be too many.


Side note:  Several known examples of the Victory Arch helmets have holes drilled into the brims.  Not sure as to why, but one theory is that is how they were attached to the monument.  Only a theory.

 

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I turned down one of these a few years ago and regret it. This is a great piece of history from and iconic memorial, a good buy on your part.

 

Steve.

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    Great helmet Arch, a couple of additional notes for you though. There are actually two sets of hands at either end of the stadium/parade ground, so 4 "baskets" of helmets total. People started prying the helmets loose as soon as Baghdad was taken and as you pointed out, it was still happening years later. 

     I probably sent 40-50 of them home myself, though I never kept one as I didn't think highly of them... sort of wish I had kept one. You are correct about the sand on the helmets, they were kind of cemented in and you generally had to work them a bit to get them loose. 

      As for them being Iranian, I have my doubts. One issue I had was that they were majority Soviet pattern and during the Iran-Iraq War, the Iranians used mostly US style M-1s and clones. There were also British Brodys, British Para helmets and British turtle shells. I think they were either Iraqi surplus or perhaps they were purchased by the regime to add to the monument. 

        Several posts on this forum ask about the U.S. dollar bill carpet. It comes from a small museum located beneath the grandstand that is between the two sets of hands. It was called "The Museum of Presents to the President". I went in there in early 03 and it was interesting to say the least. Also located in the area was an unknown soldiers monument and museum. Most of the items were looted from the museum and the cases smashed, I did pick up and still have a small shard of red glass from the spire which was red, white, green and black and made of glass block.    

       Scott

 

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