The P43 is an Italian industrial and civilian gas mask. It's characterized by its unique double exhale valve system. It was produced in many different variants and it was exported to many countries.
Mask overview EditThe P43 was produced in various different ways with different furniture but always with the same setup, which consisted of:
- A flat-moulded faceblank, smooth on the inside and textured on the outside
- A threaded inlet at the chin with an inlet valve
- Two crimped eyepieces, 50 or 66mm wide, usually made of triplex glass. Early industrial P43, P44 and P45 masks could also be sold with simple glass lenses.
- Two exhale valves with identical housings, one for each cheek, with P44 and P45 masks having only one on the left cheek.
- A 5-straps head harness, four of which were elastic, similar to the later produced T.35’s
Industrial variants EditIndustrial P43 masks had various available accessories. Starting from the filter, the mask could be issued with either a Dirin filter which was directly threaded to the mask or a larger filter (Tubin or Turnivercio) connected through a corrugated hose of varying length. Those large filters could be carried either with a dedicated cage carrier or a standard Pirelli carrier-case. The mask was stored either in a metal box, a carrier-case or a Pirelli tube carrier, with the latter available only with P43s with Dirin filters. The mask could also be sold with anti-fogging soap and spare exhale valves. If required, a rubberized hood could be attached to the mask, along other minor adaptations (in which case it'd have the designation changed to S.I.P. 6).
Old-pattern industrial variant EditThe first types of P43 produced were made solely for industrial purposes. Its faceblank was made of a single layer of green rubber smooth on the inside and textured on the outside (the earliest production might have had only smooth rubber), the old-pattern 5-straps head-harness was attached. The lenses could be made of either Triplex glass or regular glass, depending on the buyer's preference. The exhale valves were of the VD 25 type, the same ones used with Pr.C. 33 masks later on. The thread of the filter was 30 mm. The eyepieces were smaller than in later models, 50mm compared to 60mm. Note that due to the almost total resemblance to the P.C. 30, it's almost impossible telling them apart in a picture, save for context.
Updated industrial variant EditLater industrial P43 masks were made with a new and improved setup. The faceblank was made with a layer of rubber, smooth on the inside and textured on the outside; the lenses were made of triplex glass and were larger than before, the head-harness was updated from the previous model and the exhale valves were different, more similar to the ones later used with the T.33 but without 4 corners. Updated industrial P43s can be easily told apart from civilian ones because of the size marking on the left cheek, which has no other marking.
Dedicated civilian/territorial variants Edit
Civilian P43 masks were issued with a civilian or territorial filter (usually Dirzepo or Pir. 35 filters on later kits), a tube carrier, anti-fogging soap and a spare exhale valve in a small box. These variants all used the updated industrial facepiece setup, with minor differences such as the paint, the markings, the exhale valves and their covers.
Regular civilian/territorial variants Edit
On May 1934 the P43 was the 2nd gas mask approved by the S.C.M. (Servizio Chimico Militare, chemical military service) and started getting sold to civilians and territorial forces.
After the end of the war, some were repurposed and retailed as industrial masks.
Flat exhale valve cover variant EditThis variant had exhale valves that are dissimilar to most Italian mask, yet they are compatible with T.33-style exhale valves.
Round exhale valve covers variant EditThis variant had identical exhale valve covers but different exhale valves, which were the same later used for the T.33.
Telephonist variant EditOn the 27 of July 1939, the Mod.P43tf. was approved as the 29th gas mask approved by the S.C.M. (Servizio Chimico Militare, chemical military service) as a dedicated telephonist's mask. The mask was issued with a bag, a filter, a manual and a microphone, already installed in place of the right exhale assembly. Note that any P43 variant could have a microphone installed as well.
main article: P44
The P44 was a cheaper variant of early P43s, it differed only in the lack of the rightmost exhale valve
main article: P45
The P45 was an even cheaper variant of the P44, as the strap system was replaced with a 2-straps head harness system helped by two strings tied together around the neck.
P.C. 30 Edit
main article: P.C. 30
The P.C. 30 was the civilian variant of early industrial P43 masks. It had a 30 mm thread and smooth rubber.
P 531 Edit
main article: P 531
The P 531 was an improved variant of the updated industrial P43 which had a tissot system to help to prevent fogging.
S.I.P. 6 Edit
main article: S.I.P. 6
Some P43s had hoods permanently attached at the factory (along other minor changes) and were designated as S.I.P. 6.
SAB P43 Edit
main article: SAB P43
The SAB P43 was a variant of the P 531 produced by SAB for mainly industrial use.
Derivatives' Gallery Edit
Export and foreign production Edit
The P43 is confirmed to have been exported by Pirelli all over Europe and South America, with the Netherlands having the best reports of it being used. In Asia, the KMT (Chinese national revolutionary army) purchased and used the P43 to an unknown degree. Some masks might have been sold in Africa too, but it's not been confirmed. Some of Pirelli's production was local.
Italian type (China) Edit
main article: Italian type (China)sample text
Ajax F1 Edit
main article: Ajax F1The Ajax F1 was an Italian-licensed french-produced copy of the P43. It used a dedicated 42 mm filter. Apart for its intake thread, it's identical to the updated industrial P43 variant.
L'Anti-Gaz P43 variants Edit
During the early '30s, before the AG 5, L'Anti-Gaz produced two types of P43 variants, most likely for the civilian market or alternatively to appeal to the civil defence. The 25mm thread was not being used yet, and the carriers were rebranded Pirelli ones.
30mm variant EditThis variant of the early L'Anti-Gaz P43 sports a 30mm thread, VD 25 exhale valves and small eyepieces (50mm), resembling the first pattern of industrial P43s. The filter is very similar to an early-pattern industrial Dirin, it may have been made either in Italy or in Belgium.
40mm variant EditThis variant is slightly more modern than the 30mm one, as it has a 40mm DIN thread and AG 5-style exhale valves, but the eyepieces are still the small type. The 40mm thread might also mean that it was meant for export to the Netherlands, but there is no source to neither confirm nor deny this possibility. The filter is a slightly newer Dirin 500-pattern filter and, like the other one, it may have been made either in Italy or in Belgium.
- Andrea Poletti’s collection
- Federico Turci’s collection