The M1934 was an Italian designed mask adopted by the Belgian army.
Mask overview EditThe M1934 mask's facepiece was made of a two layers beige rubber, milled on the outside and smooth on the inside. The head harness had six straps. The eyepieces were made of three layers, two glass ones and a cellulose one, and they were 66mm wide, to give a bigger field of view than its predecessor. Inside the mask, there was a sponge layer that helped to reduce the dead space inside the mask and to prevent fogging while wearing it. The intake-outtake piece is connected to the mask at the bottom and it has a pipe for the hose and one for a flutter valve, which was protected by a metal sheet that goes around it. The filter was attached through a pleated hose to the aforementioned piece and itself was stored in its bag.
The filter is a metal box stored in the satchel and connected to the mask by a hose. This kind of filter was quite small compared to previous Belgian issues, and it had two reinforcing rods inside to prevent it from opening.
Kit EditThe mask comes with its filter in the M1934 issue satchel, which is a bit sturdier than the previous M1931 bag and it has a hook at the top to hang it from the belt. The exhale valve is covered by a small cloth to protect it from damage.
Inside the bag, there was also a metal cylinder which contained a stick of anti-fogging soap.
Markings EditOn the left side of the M1934 there are the three markings, namely the company name or symbol, the size (in roman numbers) and sometimes the date, depending on the manufacturer. The three main manufacturers were Sacic, Bergougnan and Pirelli; the first of these marked the masks with its full name, Bergougnan's marking are two "B"s and Pirelli's marking is particular, because instead of putting the full name and the date it just put a "1" in a circle: this was because the Belgian army didn't want any connection to fascist Italy and because Pirelli is an Italian company it was necessary to hide the provenance of the masks.
The M1934 was much appreciated by the Belgian army, but overall it saw no use at all.
After the surrendering of the Belgian army to Germany, all the gear carried by the soldiers was piled up and given to the German army. Some of that gear was used, while some of it was destroyed, including a lot of M1934 gas mask. When the war ended, a lot of M1934 masks were available, but they were not enough to be supplied to the whole army, so the M51 was adopted to fill the gap and eventually replace the M1934.
- Alejandro Giner Vidal’s collection