The GM30 is a military gas mask used by Nazi Germany in the Second World War and the S-maske is the civilian version of it.
The mask mainly stayed the same throught the years only the valve house changed. The first model has a simple valve house whit a little bit separated intake screw part. The second is the well known one, the exhale and the inhale are in one flat plain. The update was implemented because the valve was soiled quickly and the soldiers hit the front teeth while falling. The masks were retrofitted with the rubber protector and the pre-chamber lid. (in the military the modernisation was easy but not all the civilian ones were returned to be modified resulting in some rare masks nowadays). The third variant has a valve house made of only one mould.
The GM30 uses a simple head harness made from cloth straps which can not be easily adjusted. The face-piece itself is made from a thick canvas material coated in a thin layer of rubber to provide a tight seal to the user, though it was considered uncomfortable. Cellulose eye lenses were attached to canvas using simple metal rims, the valves were also made from metal and included a 40mm intake valve as well as an exhale valve covered by a metal grate for protection and a voice emitter. The mask was medi in 5 sizes (1-5).
A normal GM30 with a built michrophone in the left cheek.
The Luftwaffe had an additional, lateral round thread connection, depending on the aircraft type, right or left, with corrugated hose or filter. Depending on requirements, the unneeded connection was sealed with a round threaded plug. For experimental purposes, these masks were used at the end of the war on tanks (prototypes with collective filtration system). These masks were not crew equipment but remained in the aircraft or tanks.
It had a removable metal cap on the side into which the microphone was screwed.
This mask has been developed for the Kriegsmarine (navy), but has also been used in other branches for radio operators.
There is no difference between normal GM30 and S-maske masks, only the RL (RL1-38/3) stamp. To simplify the gas mask production the manufacturers could only produce certain masks.
The mask was issued with many different filters varying on the users. The Civil Defence used it with S-Filter. The armed forces used warious filters, mainily FE 37, FE 41 and FE 42. In general all filters were round canicter filters painted in green colors. Markings:
- FE: combat filter
- Fe: ferrum (iron)
- AL: aluminum
- NM: not magnetic
- R: Drinked Improved Ring-shaped Nebula Filter (In older filter-tops the R was stamped, in the newer ones) soaked = hexamethylenetetramine Refilled
- HN: hexamethylenetetramine Refilled
- Tp, Tr or Tropics: tropical filter
The mask came in a round steel canister called Gasmaskenbüchse (gas mask canister). On the inside of the lid there is a separated section for the anti-fog inserts.
First model Reichswehr and Wehrmacht canisters used between 1930-35 are around 26 cm high with a diameter of around 12 cm.
The second model used between 1935-36 is bit shorter at 25 cm. The diameter remains the same. The closure system changed, adding a canvas pull strap for easier opening.
The third model used between 1936-38 has an updated closure system again, which remains the same for all following models. The dimension are the same as the second model.
The fourth model (1938-45) keeps all the hardware features of the third, but is longer (around 27 cm) to better accommodate the rubber GM38 mask.
Early versions of the fourth and previous types are not waterproof, later variants however are. A waterproof canister is marked with a "D" for Dicht ((water)tight) on the bottom.
History and service
The GM30 was created as a successor to the GM24 and was issued to the Wehrmacht and to other branches during Nazi Germany. Early variants of the mask were used with rebreathing devices like the Dräger KG rebreather serie.
The mask was used for protecting the user's face form the back blast of the rocket leaving the tube of the RPzB 54 Ofenrohr ("stove pipe" - early Panzerschreck without protecting shield).
In concentration camps like Auschwitz the mask was used by the guards when dealing with Zyklon B, it requiered a special "J" filter.
Export, foreign use
Bulgarian licensed variant of the GM30 but the designation is unknown unlike of other Bulgarian masks like Typ II and Typ III. The mask is slightly different than the original GM30 as the harness is removable and the eyepieces are made of triplex glass not cellon.
Turkey imported masks and other military equipment from Germany just before the war. Just like in Bulgaria the GM30 was used with GM24 type filter and hose but later with normal lighweight filter as well. The mask was in service till the 1990s for training.
It is unknown that Greece licensed or bought the masks. But just like the Bulgarian variant the harness is removable. The text on the antifog insters is written on Greek but it is possible that it was manufactured in Berlin by Auer just like the Hungarian 34M antifog inserts. The mask came with hose and GM24 type filter.
During the Spanish Civil War the Condor legion was issued with the mask however the Spanish forces mostly used modified M.31/33 masks with GM30 valve houses to allow the use of German 40mm filters. This model is called Draeger-Blanco M.31/33. Various other masks made by DGSA and CMP used the same exhale valve.