The M18 Headwound gas mask in use

County of origin

United States of America

Period of issue


Issued to


Preceded by


Development Edit

The M18 Headwound Gas Mask was adopted in 1959 as a replacement for the M7 Headwound Gas Mask developed during World War II. The improved M18 served the same purpose, to allow a soldier with head wounds to wear a protective mask in a contaminated environment.

Starting in 1951, the Chemical Corps worked on a replacement for the the 1944-issue M7 Headwound Gas Mask. The E5R4 model (its nomenclature during testing) was approved by the Chemical Corps and the Surgeon General and was standardized 29 September 1959 as the M18.

Design Edit

The M18 Headwound Mask is a simple design, eliminating the plastic hood and straps of the M7. The M18 Headwound Mask is a semi-rigid shell of filter material that fits over the patient's head, avoiding the need for both a canister and an exhaust valve. The wearer breathes normally as air enters and leaves the hood through the filter material shell.

Two vertical plastic eye ports provide vision. The base of the mask is extended by a skirt/collar of waterproof material that closes on the neck with a drawstring. Two elastic straps loop under the arms to hold the mask in place.

The Mask, Protective, Headwound, ABC-M18 is described by Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) Engineering Standard MIL-M-51101A. It's technical description is that the M18 Gas Mask permits diffusion of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor while excluding gas-aerosol matter, including standard chemical warfare agents and radioactive particulates.

Notes Edit

The M18 Gas Mask should not be confused with another item of chemical protection, the M18 Chemical Agent Detector Kit. This mask is unique in the fact that it does not use any sort of filter canister or inhale exhale valve, instead the majority of the mask is a semi-rigid shell of filter.


A M18 in use, note the lack of a filter. The other soldier is wearing M17 gas mask.

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Here is one that was found by an unknown person but this is what the front looks like. Notice the package at the bottom.