The T.35 was the standard territorial and military gas mask of the REI (Regio Esercito Italiano, royal Italian Army) from 1935 until the adoption of the M59. This mask was widely issued from 1935 until the early '60s to soldiers, civil protection, firefighters and industries. The latest T.35s were issued was around the late '70s.
Mask overview Edit
The mask is composed of the following parts:
The faceblank, made of moulded rubber, has the following parts attached to it:
- the housing for the exhale valve (outlet)
- the metal threaded piece that allows the filter to be screwed in and houses the inlet valve (inlet)
- the eyepieces
- the straps
The inhale valve allows filtered air in from the filter and does not allow exhaled air to go back out from the filter again. Said rubber valve is housed in the metal threaded piece.
The exhale valve allows exhaled air to go outside and prevents poisoned air to get in. It's made of rubber, it opens under the light pressure of exhaling and closes hermetically under the negative pressure produced by the inhalation. It can be easily inspected and possibly replaced by unscrewing the lid of its housing.
The eyepieces are made of "Triplex" glass, which itself is composed of two glass layers and a thin sheet of cellulose. This kind of glass prevents poisoned air to get into the mask even after being hit, as only the outside layer of glass would be shattered and the other two layers would maintain the seal. The glasses are affixed to the mask through aluminium frames.
The elastic harness has the goal to keep the mask tightly onto the face. It is composed of 5 adjustable straps (a top one, two elastic temple ones and two elastic cheek ones) attached to the facepiece, and they gather into a nape pad.The anti-fogging disks are kept tightly onto the lenses by metal inserts and serve the purpose of maintaining good visibility.
Differences in production styles Edit
The T.35 designation includes two slightly different designs:
- S.C.M. license n. 9 of 17th May 1935 released for I.A.C.
- S.C.M. license n. 10 of 23rd November 1935 released for Pirelli
The differences between these two designs are the shape of the "nose" section, the kind of rubber used and the different threaded piece, with the I.A.C. one being deeper and allowing for an internal seal to be placed without shortening the available thread. I.A.C. facepieces have either a single or a double layer of rubber fused together.
Other 3 companies made T.35 masks, under either Pirelli license, I.A.C. license or a mix of the two. Superga and Spasciani made T.35 masks in the same form as the Pirelli one, the only difference being the rubber used. S.I.G.L.A, instead, used the Pirelli pattern faceblank shape with I.A.C. furniture and similar rubber.I.A.C. also made T.35 masks under Pirelli license, with mostly I.A.C. furniture (the only exception being the threaded piece) and the usual I.A.C. rubber style of production.
Sizes EditThe T.35 comes in three sizes, with 1 (I) being the largest, 3 (III) being the smallest and 2 (II) being the average one. The size is marked on the left side of the mask with a roman number.
On the left side of the mask, besides the mask name and the size, there is the company's marking and sometimes a series of dots of varying meaning, with regular non-post-War T.35 following the same logic as M.31-33 masks: the dots indicated the year of production, following the logic of mask name's year (1935 in this case) + the number of dots (which could also not be there, meaning the mask was made in that exact year). Some other variants have dots after their name, but it's not known whether they follow a similar logic or a different one.
On the right of the mask, there is the kit's register number, on the inside, under the right eyepiece, there is another register number, and on the exhale valve there's the producer's logo.
The T.35 was produced by various companies during multiple years.
The main producers of the T.35 were:
- I.A.C. (Industrie Articoli Caucciù, rubber items industries)
- S.I.G.L.A. (Stabilimento Industria Gomma Lavorazione Affini, Industrial plant for processing rubber and related. It is also referred to as Sacic incorrectly, as it is a different company located in Belgium)
To preserve the mask, the manual recommends wetting the exhale valve with a solution of 30 % of glycerine and to keep the mask in a dark, dry and cool place, with little temperature range.
Army and territorial corps Edit
Regular territorial-military kit Edit
The regular territorial was standard issue for most territorial and army corps. When unopened, both the filter and the mask were wrapped in paper, and the tab that closes the bag was tied with a string that had the company's logo attached.
The kit included the following:
- Canvas bag, with a size stamp
- T.35 facepiece
- T.35 filter
- Manual, varying
- Anti-fogging lenses in an envelope
- Spare exhale valve in a small box
irregular territorial kit EditTerritorial corps that were issued the T.35 sometimes did not receive a regular kit but a variation of it, which include certainly a territorial filter (a T.35, a Pir. 35, or a Dirzepo) and either a canvas bag or a tube carrier. The rest of the kit varied, possibly including none or some of the following: anti-fogging lenses, a manual, a spare exhale valve.
Cardboard box kit EditSome S.I.G.L.A. T.35R were issued with a cardboard box that had a single strap and a cardboard lid. This kit consisted of the mask, the filter, an envelope containing the anti-fogging lenses and a small box containing a spare exhale valve.
M.42 kit EditThis War-time kit had the same accessories as the regular kit, but it was issued with an M.42 filter (supposedly, as most were issued with a T.35 filter) and an M.42 bag. The M.42 bag had extra pockets at the front that allowed better storage of the kit. Some of these bags sport a large pocket in the bag for keeping a protective sheet, it's unclear whether the bags with this pocket are from the War or not.
U.N.P.A. kit EditThe U.N.P.A. was issued with uniquely marked T.35 masks and T.35 filter, the latter of which could have been either orange or the regular brown. The carrier used was either the metal one for Pirelli masks, the metal one for I.A.C. ones or the regular canvas bag, again for I.A.C. masks.
Post-War kit Edit
After the war, the mask was usually issued with the same kit as the regular one.Training kits were issued usually with an SCM-41 filter or a T.35 one. The facepiece used could be either a pre-1945 one or a post-War one.
Civilian EditCivilian T.35 variants sold had their own companies' dedicated kit, while P.C. 40s had standard kits, regardless of the producer. These kits can be seen in the dedicated sections.
Industrial T.35 masks were issued with a range of different kits, which depended on the customer's choice. The filter was usually a Dirin one specific to the threat faced, but sometimes T.35 masks and their variants used industrially still sported their original filter. Large filters like the Tubin usually had a hose and a cage carrier to carry them around. Sometimes T.35 masks were issued with the regular canvas bag, other times with a metal box. Some kits also had anti-fogging lenses and filter use timers. The T.35 could also be issued with a special hose to attach to a fresh air breathing apparatus.
Fire brigade EditThe pre-War fire brigade T.35 kits usually consisted of a territorial T.35 with a regular T.35 filter and a T.35 bag marked "V.V.F.". After the War, the mask used were mostly Post-War production T.35 mask with Dirin 600U filters.
Spanish recovery Edit
After the end of the Spanish Civil War, the government set out to gather all of the various gas equipment issued by both sides, in an effort to re-issue said equipment in a standardized way. A lot of T.35 kits went through this recovery process, and after that, some were refurbished and used in the Army. The filters were labelled with a paper that stated the recovery origin of the filter.
These facepieces can sometimes present multiple modifications, which most likely happened during the War:
- Inlet piece replaced with a piece from a different firm (Pirelli with IAC and vice versa)
- Outlet valve replaced with a piece from a different firm
- Different wiring and tape for the connections with the inlet and outlet, most likely done when repaired by the Republicans
- White tape used over the seams between the faceblank and the straps, this modification is possibly post-War
Use in Hungary EditT.35 masks sold to Hungary were often issued with a territorial kit. The filters used were commonly the T.35 filter and in rare occasions Dirzepest filters (Pirelli filter). If there was no dedicated filter available, a rubber ring was added to the thread to be able to mount Hungarian filters (34M, Hungarian industrial filters).
Italian military variants Edit
T.35R EditThe T.35R was a variant of the regular T.35 that differed only in the use of a double layer of rubber, with black rubber on the inside and a lighter-toned one on the outside (usually dark beige). This variant was produced during the War. This change in rubber was made due to the limited amount of natural rubber in Italy in that period, which led to the partial use of synthetic rubber in this variant.
T.35Rs EditThe T.35Rs was a variant of the regular T.35 that differed only in the use of a double layer of rubber, with black rubber on the inside and grey rubber on the outside. This variant, like the T.35R, was produced during the War and it was made with synthetic rubber due to the lack of natural rubber, but in this case, there was no natural rubber at all, with the valves being the only exception. Furthermore, the nape pad was simplified to make it cheaper to produce.
T.35-SIR EditThis variant of the T.35 was made using a new kind synthetic rubber and sported an M.42 filter (alternatively a T.35 one) and the upgraded M42 satchel.
Fonica Territoriale 35, Territorial phonic 35
main article: F.T.35This variant had a trumpet in front of the exhale valve to enhance the voice of the user and was provided with a Tissot system to prevent fogging. Those kinds of masks were used by the Navy. F.T.35 masks were produced by Pirelli, Spasciani, S.I.G.L.A. and I.A.C., the latter of which marked them as T.35F. and used a slightly different facepiece mould. Those masks were issued with a navy kit.
Civilian variants Edit
P.C. 35 Edit
popolazione civile 35, civilian population 35
main article: P.C. 35The P.C. 35 was I.A.C.'s civilian counterpart to the military T.35. It differed from the aforementioned by having only by the slightly different pattern of nape pad and the marking.
Pir. 35 Edit
main article: Pir. 35The Pir. 35 was Pirelli's civilian T.35 variant. It was virtually identical to its military counterpart. It came with either a dedicated T.35-style bag or a metal tube carrier, depending on the buyer's needs.
R.S. 37 Edit
Riccardo Spasciani 37
main article: R.S. 37The R.S. 37 was Spasciani's civilian T.35 variant. It didn't differ from the military model, save for the kit.
P.C. 40 Edit
popolazione civile 40, civilian population 40
main article: P.C. 40The P.C. 40 was the cheapest variant of the T.35 ever devised, and it was issued for free to the civilian population in case of a real threat of chemical attacks. It had thinner rubber, cellulose glasses and aluminium parts. After the war, the P.C. 40 started being produced to a higher standard, but the purpose of this Post-War variant is unknown.
P.C. 50 Edit
popolazione civile 50, civilian population 50
main article: P.C. 50The P.C. 50 was an improved version of the Post-War, with rubber straps sporting a hook system and an integrated Tissot system. The kit it's supposed to come with is unknown.
Post-War production Edit
After the War, the pre-War T.35 was still widely issued and many masks were used as surplus by industries.
But yet, new T.35 variants were devised and used, mostly by industries and non-military corps, as the Army still had plenty of T.35 masks to use.
Post-War Pirelli T.35 masks Edit
After the war, T.35 masks made by Pirelli were manufactured with a new kind of rubber and were mostly used by industries and firefighters, but also other territorial organizations and the Army. These masks sported a new kind of inlet piece, some times with a single stud going across it and other times with a cross formation, like the later M59. The inside of the eyepieces had small rubber studs that served the purpose of keeping anti-fogging lenses adherent to the glass.
The marking varied slightly, with the biggest difference in production being the strap systems.
First version EditThe first type of post-War Pirelli T.35 production used the standard strap system used with pre-War T.35 masks.
Second version EditThe second type of the post-War Pirelli T.35 used rubber straps and a double hook system instead of the regular one seen in the other version.
RS-37 (Post-War) Edit
Riccardo Spasciani 37
main article: RS-37After the end of the war, Spasciani made an updated version of the R.S. 37 with rubber straps, exclusively intended for industrial use.
Hooded variants Edit
S.I.P. 6 with T.35 facepiece Edit
main article: S.I.P. 6The late variant of the S.I.P. 6 was a T.35 with a hood attached, and it was made with either white or blue rubber. The mask sported a hook system with rubber straps outside its rubberized hood, which could be covered with "resivite" material if requested. This mask was used by industries when there was a risk of corrosive splashes.
Spanish refurbished variants Edit
In the early '50s, the "La Marañosa" firm refurbished a great number of Recovered T.35 masks from the Spanish Civil War to have them issued to the Spanish Army.
First variant Edit
The masks and especially their kit were subject to major changes:
The previous kit was completely disposed of, save for the anti-fogging lenses. In place of it, the mask was issued with a CMP filter and a dedicated bag, similar to the regular T.35 one but green and closed with a buckle.The mask itself had the housings of the inlet and outlet valve resealed with special clamps instead of wire and tape like before; the inlet had a rubber ring added to it to seal with CMP filters, which didn't have external rubber rings like T.35 filters. The inlet valve was some times replaced with one produced by La Marañosa, as was the tape that covers the seams between the faceblank and the straps. The exhale valve was not changed. Note that some Pirelli facepieces can have IAC parts or vice versa, this change probably happened during the recovery process they went through before this refurbishment described here, or even during the War. The furniture of the masks was painted with the Spanish Army's standard green to signify its use with said army and cover the Italian colour.
Second variant Edit
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In the early '60s, the "La Marañosa" firm again refurbished T.35 masks, this time replacing completely the inlet assembly and heavily modifying the outlet assembly by removing the inside of said assembly, making the outlet valve directly exposed to the user. Other than that, the changes to the facepiece were the same as the previous variant.Instead of a canvas bag, this variant was issued with a metal container, much like other German-derivative masks of the Spanish Civil War.
Service life Edit
During the late '20s-early '30s the Italian Army was seeking renovation in its chemical protection equipment. The first mask adopted after the Small Box Respirator was the Penna in 1928, which was widely adopted in the Army. Because of its flaws, after 2 years the Army was seeking renovation again. Furthermore, there was a push to prepare the civilian population for possible chemical attacks.
These factors led to the creation of 3 kinds of masks, with different price ranges and purpose:
- The M.31 was adopted as the main military mask, and its price was higher than 80 lire (Italy's currency at the time) per piece, which was a lot, but that kind of mask could protect the wearer for a very long time
- The P.C. 30 was adopted as the main civilian mask, with its price being 30 to 40 lire per piece. Its duration was much shorter, but it still worked well enough for passive use
- The T.32 was developed as an intermediate mask, cheaper than the military type but sturdier than the civilian mask, made for use with trained non-combatant personnel, from which derives its designation as a "maschera territoriale" (territorial mask).
This new territorial mask, lighter than a military mask and more robust than a civilian one, was fit for most purposes, and because of that, it was widely issued to most territorial forces, replacing most respirators used before. In some instances, some civilian variants of the T.35 and other respirators approved by the S.C.M. were used, mostly those suited for active civilian duty.
The Army initially issued T.35 masks only in Ethiopia, as the weight and bulk of a full military respirator were deemed excessive and gas attacks from the enemy were deemed improbable or minute in scale at most. Over the following years, the army would adopt the T.35 for all of its colonies and for a big chunk of the army, especially those that needed lighter equipment (paras and bersaglieri), eventually replacing completely the M.31-33 in 1949.
The Navy, which at the time had issued various masks (R.M.2, R.M.3, R.M.F.), adopted the T.35 only for terrestrial duties. To better fit the Navy's needs, a modified variation of the T.35 incorporating the same phonic device as the R.M.F. was devised and adopted as the F.T. 35. Later, the R.M.F. 35 would be made with features from both the R.M.F. and the F.T. 35.
1937, night-time air-raid protection training Edit
1942, UNPA trainingEdit
Various other instances of the T.35 being used Edit
Ethiopian War EditThe first conflict the mask saw use in was the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, in which, as previously mentioned, the T.35 was preferred to the M.31-33 as it was less of a hindrance and because gas attacks were from the enemy were not expected to be grand. Gas has been used by the Italian side, but it's unlikely that the T.35 were actually used.
Spanish Civil War Edit
The first European conflict this mask saw use in the Spanish Civil War. During this conflict, there was a really felt fear for gas attacks from both sides, and because of that, there was a rush to get the soldiers ready against this threat. The nationalist faction received aid from Germany and Italy, which supplied respectively 50.692 and 318.908 gas masks. The Italian masks gifted this way were mostly T.35 but also M.31-33 and Penna masks. When Italian soldiers entered the battlefield, they were issued with the same masks previously mentioned.After the battle of Guadalajara in March 1937, the Republican Army captured hundreds of Italian gas masks, which would be issued against the nationalists during the rest of the war. Some of the captured T.35s and M.31-33s were also sent to Bilbao and Catalonia to develop a copy: these copies were produced in Bilbao, Villanova, La Geltrú and in Catalonia (unknown numbers). The captured T.35s that had damage done to them were repaired with spare parts (often not firm-consistent), sometimes they had rewired inlets and outlets with blue tape, and the seams between the faceblank and the straps were covered by extra tape, white in colour (the latter might have happened after the War).
Second World War EditDuring the Second World War, the T.35 was brought in every battlefield alongside the M.31 and the M.33, but it never saw real use, as no gas was ever dropped during the conflict.
Post-War military and territorial corps' use EditAfter the end of the War, the Army still issued both T.35 and M.31-33 masks, but as soon as 1949 the latter was ruled out of service due to complexity in maintenance. During the following years, the T.35 was the main military respirator, alongside a small number of M9A1 masks. In 1959 the Army adopted the M59, which slowly replaced the T.35 in the army, the civil defence and the red cross, while other commercial masks replaced the T.35 in other fields (such as the C.60 for the fire brigade). The latest the T.35 was seen being used by any institution for anything different than training was during the late '70s. Some sources claim it was used for training until shortly after the adoption of the M90.
Passive civilian use and further development Edit
The T.35, or more precisely, the Pir. 35 and the P.C. 35, were allowed to be sold directly to civilians, as other masks already were. Those models were required to show S.C.M.'s license on the side of the mask. After some time, Spasciani presented its own civilian T.35, which was the R.S. 37, a licensed copy of the Pirelli pattern.
During 1940 a new type of T.35 was sold directly by the State to the civilian population in case of a real threat of chemical attacks, it was much cheaper and had thinner rubber, cellulose glasses and aluminium parts. The designation was P.C. 40 and it was produced by Pirelli, S.I.G.L.A. and Superga.After the War, P.C. 40s were produced with a different kind of rubber and Triplex glasses, for an unknown motive. A successor of this was devised and produced, with a rubber harness sporting a hook system and integral Tissot tubes, its designation was P.C. 50 and its use was as mysterious as the post-War P.C. 40.
Industrial use Edit
Before the War, T.35 masks weren't used in industry, but some commercial variants were, and they were issued with threat-specific filters. After the War though, there was a great surplus of military masks, and those became widely used in various industries, some times with threat-specific filters, some times with regular T.35 ones or civilian ones. New dedicated industrial variants were devised and used, before and after the War, such as the late S.I.P. 6, the hooded variant of the T.35.After the years, T.35 masks and their variants were slowly ruled out of industrial use.
Hungarian use Edit
The first masks were imported by Légoltalmi Kft. (Air defence Co.) alongside with other Italian Pirelli masks like T.33 and S.I.P. 3 with T.35 and Dirzepest filters as early as 1936. After the Bled agreement of 22 August 1938 Italy gifted some masks to Hungary. On 16 January 1939, the T.35 and T.33 with T.35 and Dirzepest filters went into service by Légoltalmi liga (the predecessor of Polgári védelem - Civil Defence) and Magyar Posta (Hungarian Post) as Gumi munkagázálarc or Mg. gázálarc (Rubber work gas mask). The price was the same as the M. gázálarc; 23 Pengő with bag or 18,50 Pengő with cardboard carrier. After the war, the mask was used in the industry and a lot of masks were converted to use with rebreathers for mine rescue (with Dräger KG rebreather series and Degea Audos MR series).
Spanish use after the Spanish Civil War Edit
After the end of the Spanish Civil War, the government set out to gather all of the various gas equipment issued by both sides, in an effort to re-issue said equipment in a standardized way. A lot of T.35 kits went through this recovery process, and after that, some were refurbished and used in the Army. They would get replaced by the M2-73 in the '70s.
Esercito Italiano (Italian army). The T.35 was used as the main respirator until the adoption of the M59. It used the T.35 for training supposedly even after the adoption of the M90, and might still be used in some instances to this day
UNPA aka Unione Nazionale Protezione Antiaerea(national union for air-raids defence, fascist). It used the T.35 in its dedicated UNPA variant but also in the regular version and in the other civilian versions
Fire Brigade. Before the war, T.35 issued to this corp had a regular territorial kit. After the war, some were regular T.35 and others were Pirelli industrial variants with Dirin 600U filters
Italian red cross.The red cross used the T.35 to prepare for eventual gas attacks. It was issued until the adoption of the M59, when it started slowly getting replaced
Italian civilians could purchase civilian variants of the T.35 before the widespread sale of P.C. 40
Légoltalmi liga (pre-Civil Defence).After the Bled agreement of 22 August 1938 Italy gifted some masks to Hungary. On 16 January 1939, the T.35 and T.33 with T.35 and Dirzepest filters went into service by Légoltalmi liga
Main article: Spanish T.35 copies
After the battle of Guadalajara in March 1937, the Republican Army captured hundreds of Italian gas masks. Some of the captured ones were also sent to the Bilbao and Catalonia to develop copies.
T.35 and the Media Edit
The T.35 was so widespread that if found its way into multiple pieces of media, mostly Italian ones but with a few exceptions, some of which are listed below:
- The T.35 can be commonly found in Fallout 4 as the gas mask with goggles, although its presence there would be unlikely in real life, even without the hindrance of total atomic annihilation.
- A slightly inaccurate representation on the T.35 can be found in Battlefield 5 as the headpiece of the "Alpini" skin set. Note that the filter used is a French civilian one, which would not fit in the thread.
- The T.35 can be seen worn by Cristina Blackwater (model) in the Blood Shake musical video by Dope D.O.D and Salmo.
- 1958 colour video of firefighters training T.35 masks with DIRIN 600U filters can be seen after the 1:16 mark.
- 1935 Chemical protection exhibit The T.35 was shown for the first times in these exhibitions
- 1942 air-raid training T.35 masks can be seen amongst other masks in various scenes.
- Training in the mountains during the Second World War T.35 masks can be seen in the first part of this short video.
- Italian girls of the GIL parading, 1939 in the streets T.35 masks can be seen after 0:42 mark.
- 1973, Porto Maghera's strike to complain about the mandatory use of gas masks Various masks, including the T.35, can be seen being worn by protesters.