This is the classic “salacco” of the Tirailleurs Indochinois – it features the French Marine Infantry anchor on the front. It was known locally as the “nón lá” or leaf hat. This pattern helmet/hat was used by the Tirailleurs Indochinois (Lính tập), which included several regiments of local ethnic Indochinese infantry organized as Tirailleurs (Light Infantry) by the French colonial authorities. Based on photos and reports it was worn in conflicts including the Boxer Rebellion, but its use as combat headgear was short lived. Following the First World War I this style conical hat was relegated to the parade ground and there is no photographic evidence that the French colonial forces ever used the nón lá/salacco in combat even during the First World War. It was worn with a cover in the field, but without cover with "dress uniforms."
This example was found by a friend of mine at Ciney last week. I'd love to find another with the cover, but I'm still delighted to have finally found a salacco for the collection.
Other powers headgear from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
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