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This article is about the headgear known as a balaclava, for information about the town in the Crimea see:Balaklava[?].
A balaclava or balaclava helmet (sometimes called a skimask) is a form of headgear covering the whole head, exposing only the eyes and often the nose. The name comes from Balaklava[?] in the Crimea. During the Crimean war, knitted balaclava's were sent over to the British troops to help protect them from the bitter cold weather. They are traditionally knitted from wool, but modern balaclavas can be made from a number of materials.

They are often associated with special forces units such as the SAS, or with the IRA or with muggers[?] where they act as a form of disguise[?].

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