Two GIs taking a smoke break during WWII wearing the M1 helmet. The soldier on the right wears a helmet with a late model helmet net and elastic foliage band while the helmet on the soldier on the left exhibits common paint loss to the helmet rim. Is this a WWII helmet? Few questions evoke so many opinions as this one often asked at shows, auctions, or online forums. In order to accurately deduce if a M1 helmet and liner are of WWII origin, it is important to know the basic manufacturing characteristics of the helmet and liner as new specification changes emerged.
Shfll dates according to stamps in WWII helmets cannot always be done as some are unreadable. The collector should take note that as new specifications came into being, older patterns were normally used up, inconjunction with the production of new specification models of any part of the helmet. So, it is normal for odd combinations such as a dating m1 helmet shell liner with a herringbone suspension.
This can result in many interesting hhelmet, both historically and informatively. This article will provide the new collector with a step-by-step process to determine the WWII vintage of the M1 helmet. The M1 ahell distinctive WWII manufacturing features will be described as well as dates approximating time of specification changes. Attention will be made to alert the collector of post-WWII modifications due to specification changes that were applied to helmets originally produced during WWII.
Mc Cord was the first and the largest producer of WWII M1 helmet shells. They were also marked with an dating m1 helmet shell numerical stamp in the same place as Shlueter made helmets but did not possess any other distinguishing hallmarks. Adopted shortly before the United States entry into WWII, the first production M1 helmet shell was made of manganese steel coated in cork aggregate and dark olive drab paint.
This combination gave the helmet a dark, coarse, appearance and texture. The stamp can be hard to see but can identify maker and approximate year of manufacture. These features are common to all WWII helmets and were never changed during the course of the war. For this reason, any M1 helmet of WWII to Vietnam War vintage should be handled carefully to reduce chance of damage. Initial production helmets in to late had their rims seemed in the front.
All M1 helmets with this feature among others were produced during or just prior to WWII. From to latethe seam met in the front center edge of the steel helmet. The rim was made of stainless steel which did not rust but shined excessively when exposed, as the paint normally did not hold up well under constant contact with hard surfaces. At that time, the seam moved degrees to the center rear edge of the helmet. Originally, the chin straps were sewn onto dating m1 helmet shell loops.
This feature was installed on all front and early rear seamed helmets. The fixed loops were a weak point in the helmets design because the loops were in constant contact with k1 surface. Enough became broken off that they were superseded by the swivel loop type chinstrap attachments dating m1 helmet shell datung From to lateadting loops were welded directly to the left and right side of the helmet.
The airborne used a fixed loop in the shape of a half datjng for most of the war but also used the standard swivel loop by the end of the war. From to latechin straps were constructed of cotton webbing in olive drab shade number three top. It was produced in different shades from khaki to light green. Although officially phased out inthe number three shade was used passeduntil supplies were exhausted. The decision to adopt the shade of field gear material to the darker olive drab number dating m1 helmet shell bottom was made by the end of It is usually found dating m1 helmet shell on to rear seamed helmet shells.
CHIN STRAP The chin straps on all WWII infantry helmets were sewn on to dzting loops described above. Initially they were dyed olive drab number three which was technically a greenish khaki, but in practice was produced in varying shades from khaki to greenish khaki. Ina decision was made to phase out olive drab number three in favor of olive drab number seven, or dark olive dhell.
By the end ofthe new color change was implemented. This change was not completed over night by all manufacturers as the old number three material was normally used until exhausted. From to latethe chin strap buckle was made from a brass casting that can be readily distinguished by its brass construction and raised bar cast into the top of the buckle.
Aftera simplified buckle was developed to ease construction and conserve brass. The new buckle, stamped out of steel and painted black would remain unchanged for the rest of WWII. The adjustment keeper was placed at the end of the chinstrap to secure the extra webbing after adjustment. The manufacturing processes tabs used were the same as the buckle. On the underside of the buckle were two rounded tabs. These matchmaking for heroic strikes were be replaced by square tabs in These parts are located on the right chin strap.
Early adjustment buckles were cast in brass with a distinctive raised bar in the center and finished black. The end cap was used to secure the free end of the chin strap once it had been adjusted to the wearers chin. Inin order to ease production and save brass, a new blackened steel stamped buckle was approved along with a steel end cap.
Late saw the resumption of brass in the production in metal hardware. This was the last WWII specification regarding the chin strap assembly. This piece is located on the left chin strap and is used in conjunction with the buckle on the right side to secure the chin strap assembly under the wearers chin. The hook underwent the same material and finish changes as the buckle and securing cap at the same time.
Bynew specifications had been adopted which changed how the M1 helmet was produced. Although most of these changes were cosmetic they did differ from helmets produced during WWII and determined if a Dating m1 helmet shell produced helmet shel, altered from original WWII era of manufacture. In the early s, a fine sand aggregate was applied to sehll and refurbished older M1 helmet shells.