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Color of paint on USN helmets.


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#1 ccmax

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 03:53 AM

Gentlemen,

There has been a lot of debate about whether a specific helmet that is attributed to naval service can be related to a particular conflict. Much like the OD paint found in M1 helmets from WWII and the different shades utilized in ensuing conflicts, there is a chance that the paint on naval helmets underwent some modifications in color according to the time frame the the helmet saw service. Could we start a topic beginning with identified helmets that are sure to have been used in WWII, Korea, VN and so on, in order to enable us to precisely pin down what colors were used?

#2 a6skin9

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 04:43 AM

Gentlemen,

There has been a lot of debate about whether a specific helmet that is attributed to naval service can be related to a particular conflict. Much like the OD paint found in M1 helmets from WWII and the different shades utilized in ensuing conflicts, there is a chance that the paint on naval helmets underwent some modifications in color according to the time frame the the helmet saw service. Could we start a topic beginning with identified helmets that are sure to have been used in WWII, Korea, VN and so on, in order to enable us to precisely pin down what colors were used?


There was no standard for painting helmets in the Navy during WWII. Every M-1 helmet that left the factory did so painted green. It was up to the individual commands to paint the helmets with what paint they had available.
While working as a volunteer curator onboard the Battleship North Carolina and in the shipyards around Norfolk, VA I have seen literally hundreds of Navy helmets painted in different colours. All shades of gray, shades of light blue, dark bue, yellow, red, green, white; with letters, numbers, symbols or writing; or not painted at all.
This practice still exists today in the Navy. Different divisions onboard ships use different colours.
Plus to try and attribute if it is a WWII, Korea or Vietnam era thing is also difficult. These helmets were used and used. The last time I was aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise in the shipyards during 2005 I came across stacks of M-1 helmets - fixed bales, swivel bales, front seams, rear seams, etc.

#3 BOLO

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 07:39 AM

heres a nice WWII color photo showing helmets painted grey

#4 Bugme

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 07:48 AM

I don't know how much help this will be. My navy lid is a WWII issue repainted blue/gray, red(I assume fire control) and then finally gray. Take your pick as to which would be right.

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#5 Bugme

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 07:49 AM

Back

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#6 Bugme

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 07:50 AM

closeup

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#7 reinking71

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 08:25 AM

Here is one that is attributed to the navy which still retains its OD green. The helmet on the back has AATB (Advanced Amphibious Training Base) with an anchor above it. North Africa has been inscribed on the left hand side and the service memberís initials HA on the front.

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#8 a6skin9

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 09:13 AM

Here is a fixed bail Navy helmet painted yellow.
http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e202/a6skin9/1010-2.jpg

#9 Salvage Sailor

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 12:32 PM

....and the two I have

 

more on them here http://www.usmilitar...ficult-to-find/

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Edited by Salvage Sailor, 10 July 2015 - 04:36 PM.


#10 Squad leader

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 12:58 PM

This is a pix of my WWII USN helmet.
It was painted in a blue/grey color then it was roughtly repainted OD and stenciled.
Some spots of blue/grey color may be seen under the stencil 2-22.
The helmet was found in Saint-RaphaŽl (Southern France), where the landing in Provence occured in August 1944.

Dan.

http://img360.images...elmet222qs3.jpg

#11 wildcat123

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 01:06 PM

Here is my Naval marked helmet again. It still retains the original OD finish.

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#12 Justin

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 02:02 PM

Here is my Naval marked helmet again. It still retains the original OD finish.

Isn't this helmet for sale? :P

#13 wildcat123

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 02:13 PM

Isn't this helmet for sale? :P

Not anymore... no one wants it :rolleyes:

#14 TLHSS

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 02:19 PM

My fixed bail came from a WWII corpsmen grouping (many years ago when no one wanted WWII US stuff) that also included the navy jumper with the 1st Marine Division patch.

Tim

navy_helmet.jpg

#15 sigsaye

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 03:01 PM

My fixed bail came from a WWII corpsmen grouping (many years ago when no one wanted WWII US stuff) that also included the navy jumper with the 1st Marine Division patch.

Tim

navy_helmet.jpg

The thing to remember about Navy helmets is that there is nothing standard. As was said, they come from the factory green. There is nothing in the NWP 24 (Naval manual on what things are to be painted what color) about helmets. If some one in authority says to paint them a specific color, they get that paint. Red is generally Damage Control. But as the Yellow painted one above shows with it's REP-2 Repair Locker 2) stencil they can be anby color. Usually they get painted when they get really buggered up, just to cover up the rust. Generally they get a coat of ssome gray that is handy in the paint locker or is being used close by. Stencils usually id the helmet to a station. This is to make theft more dificult since as has been mentioned, painting is an indifferent thing at best. other off the wall colors indicate things like crane and boom stations or unrep stations.

The next thing to remember is that these things get passed down literally generationally. When a ship is docommissioned, these things that are still usable are passed on to another ship, over and over. and then maybe painted again and again.

As an aside, in the early Nineties, I was still getting brand new M-1 helmets and liners that were WW 2. I knew by the chin straps. The liners hat the "tie up" piece in the top and the studs for the brown leather chin strap. These leather straps were available throught the supply system also and we got bunches of them and used zip ties to attach them not only to M1's that had lost their regular chin straps, but Talker helmets.

Also, didn't some one here say that spray paint in a can didn't come out until '49 or something like that?

About the only way to definately know that any Navy helmet was WW 2 is to know the vet that brought it home and get it directly from his hands. I see the prices paid for these things and have night mares about the many I tossed over the side because the chin straps were rotted off, too heavily dented or just didn't want to sand them down and re paint them.

Steve Hesson

#16 Bob Hudson

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 03:16 PM

Here is one that is attributed to the navy which still retains its OD green. The helmet on the back has AATB (Advanced Amphibious Training Base) with an anchor above it. North Africa has been inscribed on the left hand side and the service memberís initials HA on the front.


This is one Navy helmet that probably can be pinned down to WWII: Advanced Amphibious Training Bases were located in forward deployed areas including ones in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco in North Africa.

#17 market garden

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 10:17 PM

Here is my Navy helmet Signal company painted white but was also yellow at one time. I believe this to be post WW2 Market garden

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Edited by market garden, 25 July 2008 - 10:18 PM.


#18 sigsaye

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 07:22 AM

Here is my Navy helmet Signal company painted white but was also yellow at one time. I believe this to be post WW2 Market garden

Just out of couriosity, what is "Signal Company"? I was a Signalman in the Navy for 26 years. I was trained by guys who learned the trade in WW2, and never came across the term Signal Company as applied to the Navy. I'm not saying it didn't exsist, just never heard it before. Generally, anything relating to Signalmen, Signal bridge or what ever, used "Sigs" in some form or another or in combination with other acronyms. Just wonderning

Steve Hesson

#19 craig_pickrall

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 08:11 AM

http://www.ibiblio.o..._29-P1000S.html

This is a Naval Abbreviation reference. You can try putting the abbreviation together using this. I couldn't tell for sure if your helmet was SNCC or SNCO. When you try the abbreviation list look at the possible combinations of the letters as well. SN CC or SN CO for example.

#20 market garden

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 01:54 PM

Thanks for the refrence. I'll let you guys figure it out. It could be a number of things. Market garden

#21 Andrei

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 02:17 PM

Here is again a pic of my USN helmet, Korea or Vietnam period, repainted at least twice.

post_467_1170368554.jpg

The other pics are here :

http://www.usmilitar...?showtopic=2386

#22 Theorywolf

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 02:18 PM

Here are two navy fix-bail M1 helmets. One is painted a dark blue with a grey liner. On the back it is scratched with the name, "ERIC" and above the name, "GUNS". Don't know if it is the guy's name or the battleship USS ERIC.

The second one comes from the LCI/L/498, which landed abreast with several other LCI's around 12:30 at Easy Red Beach on D-Day. The 498 was carrying elements of the first division. I have actual video of this particular LCI heading out for the invasion. In Gawne's book, Spearheading D-Day, there is a photo of sister LCI's going into Easy Red, LCI's 490 and 496 are visible. I've wondered if the photo was taken from the LCI 498! It would have been in this group of LCIs. Notice the helmet retains its original OD green! The number "30" is near the top and I wonder if it stands for "Omaha 3rd wave" as the LCI/L/498 was in the 3rd wave or 0-3!

Cheers,

Mike

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Edited by Theorywolf, 27 July 2008 - 02:24 PM.


#23 Theorywolf

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 02:20 PM

LCI/L/498

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#24 Bob Hudson

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 02:31 PM

Just out of couriosity, what is "Signal Company"? I was a Signalman in the Navy for 26 years. I was trained by guys who learned the trade in WW2, and never came across the term Signal Company as applied to the Navy. I'm not saying it didn't exsist, just never heard it before. Generally, anything relating to Signalmen, Signal bridge or what ever, used "Sigs" in some form or another or in combination with other acronyms. Just wonderning

Steve Hesson


Right - and typically in the military SNCO stands for "Senior Non-Commissioned Officer." I could see such a helmet being used for some sort of watch-standing detail, etc. The Navy would use "Senior Chief Petty Officer" in such a case because that is the actual name for an E-8 CPO and in the old days, Navy Warrant Officer 1 would also been a Non-Commissioned Officer rank.

#25 sigsaye

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 02:53 PM

Right - and typically in the military SNCO stands for "Senior Non-Commissioned Officer." I could see such a helmet being used for some sort of watch-standing detail, etc. The Navy would use "Senior Chief Petty Officer" in such a case because that is the actual name for an E-8 CPO and in the old days, Navy Warrant Officer 1 would also been a Non-Commissioned Officer rank.

The navy has no "Non- Comissioned Officers" per say. That is an Army Marine term. We were NCOs by virtue of pay grade, but in Naval terminology, were refered to as either "Petty Officers" or "Chiefs". Being that the helmet is painted white, it would have primarily been used on a replenishment station or with cranes and booms for cargo handeling or loading/off loading of boats. These helmets were painted in various colors to ID specific stations in the detail. Markings on these helmets was purely local, meaning that who ever was responsible for getting them marked would make up the stencils. True, there were some standard abreviations which may or not be used. MT 5-2 PTR would mean Five inch Mount #2, Pointer. REP-2 LKR LDR would mean Repair Locker 2 Locker Leader. These markings were mostly so that the helmets got back to their correct station, and the same guy got the same helmet each time. Some times there may be a rate and name on them, just depended on how much effort someone wanted to put into them.

the helmet in the post avobe this from the LCI with "30" stenciled on it would mean it was simply helmet #30. That was commonly done with deck departments that were responsible for large numbers of the things. it was a way to account for them. Alos, you could "assign" a specific helmet to a specific guy that way. As I said, marking was mostly just accounting.

As far as using it for watch standing, slim chance. Liners were commonly used for that, but shells? When I was in boot camp, I was assigned to the Career Coounselors office for a week. When I left the office on mail runs and such, I wore a helmet liner with the leather chin strap. It was white and had "C/C" in two inch letters stenciled on the front. This allowed me to walk from place to place rather than run as was required by recruits not in formation.

Steve Hesson
Senior Chief Signalman
USN Retired


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