In September 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, the British Army fielded their first armoured vehicle in its military history, the Mark I tank, which would enable their frontline troops to overcome the no-man’s obstacles and the enemy trenches. However, the British High Command would soon realize that the tank’s armour provided inadequate protection against spalling to its crew inside.
When big-caliber fire arm projectiles struck the armour, steel splinters came off the inner armour walls at high speed, seriously wounding the men inside. This fact led the British Generals to issue the tank crew with helmets and visors to protect their heads and faces, such as the one in the picture below, which became the standard British tank crew helmet. It was made of steel and reinforced with riveted plates. The upper part of the face was protected with a steel mask, while the jaws were protected by a chainmail.