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Did the Rangers at Anzio ever paint the 'V' on the front of their helmets?


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#1 Grant G.

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 09:04 AM

I am sure many of you have seen the photo below and other similar photos, showing Rangers preparing for the invasion of Anzio, Italy in January 1944 with large Vs painted on the rear of their helmets. What I am wondering is if there are any photos showing the V marking painted on the front of helmets instead. Thank you in advance!

 

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#2 Proud Kraut

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 11:18 AM

I have learned "never say never" but I can't imagine any soldier wearing a helmet with a big white "V" on it's front in such a scenario. Would be a kind of target mark, right? Interesting question though.


Edited by Proud Kraut, 02 August 2018 - 11:20 AM.


#3 Frogskin7

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 12:42 PM

Rangers meet the Brits on the Anzio-Rome Road. January 23rd, 1944.

Not sure if this helps at all but they have what looks like Hs on the back.

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#4 David D

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 02:03 PM

As far as I’m concerned they were only on the back. Evident by photos

#5 Grant G.

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 02:31 PM

Well, I guess now's as good a time as any to share this helmet with you all. Let me start by saying, when I first acquired this helmet I reserved very little hope for the authenticity of its camouflage net and burlap scrim, but am now cautiously optimistic. Prior to this, I have only ever owned one helmet with authentic scrim in my years of collecting. Upon receiving this helmet set, I can state with relative certainty that the camouflage scrim is of original, wartime application. When the helmet is moved in the slightest, it begins to shed burlap, just as did my prior original example. Compressed between the interior of the helmet shell and the exterior of the liner is a lump of scrim that looks like it hasn't been disturbed in decades. Additionally, the net itself has a considerable amount of excess material wedged between the steel shell and the liner. Newly-cut vehicle nets, in order to maximize yield, usually have no more material than is absolutely necessary to fit over a helmet. With these promising indications, I pressed the previous owner on the helmet's history. The prior owner's mother gifted him the helmet while in Morro Bay, California in 1986 and its appearance has not changed until recently (it was previously outfitted with a Vietnam era liner that I have since replaced with a 1942 IMP). As you can see, the front of the steel shell exhibits a large, white-painted 'V', while the wearer's left side is splotched with red paint. The shell's interior once exhibited a veteran's ID, but it was unfortunately scratched away quite some time ago. With the combination of the white V and burlap scrim, I was thinking Anzio Ranger, but I really can't say for certain without a wartime photo...

 

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#6 Grant G.

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 02:32 PM

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#7 Grant G.

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 02:32 PM

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#8 Grant G.

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 02:33 PM

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#9 Grant G.

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 02:33 PM

Last of the images.

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Edited by Grant G., 02 August 2018 - 02:35 PM.


#10 72psb

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 03:07 PM

The white blob of paint on the interior rim edge is a patent finger print.Finger print left  in material and is visible.A latent print must be developed to be seen. Just speculation,but the guy painting the V had paint on his thumb and when he grabbed the helmet,he left the thumb print. I speak from 25 years of experience as an evidence tech.


Edited by 72psb, 02 August 2018 - 03:07 PM.


#11 Burning Hazard

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 05:19 PM

Nice helmet Grant!

 

I've also seen V's painted on the front of the helmet by US coast guard units

 

Pat

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#12 trenchfoot

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 07:14 PM

I like that helmet a lot. The straps have lots of grime. The only odd thing is how loose the scrim is affixed to the net. I have one original scrim helmet, and the other originals I've seen are much tighter affixed then this one. Maybe its looser because some of the netting is gone in areas?



#13 Grant G.

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 09:28 AM

The white blob of paint on the interior rim edge is a patent finger print.Finger print left  in material and is visible.A latent print must be developed to be seen. Just speculation,but the guy painting the V had paint on his thumb and when he grabbed the helmet,he left the thumb print. I speak from 25 years of experience as an evidence tech.

I look forward to the time when fingerprint testing is added to the collector's tool kit; I have owned quite a few helmets with no names, but fingerprints left on the inside.



#14 Grant G.

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 09:35 AM

I like that helmet a lot. The straps have lots of grime. The only odd thing is how loose the scrim is affixed to the net. I have one original scrim helmet, and the other originals I've seen are much tighter affixed then this one. Maybe its looser because some of the netting is gone in areas?

Thank you Trenchfoot! The loose scrim can also likely be attributed to the large squares of the net; smaller nets have more material to which the burlap can be restricted. When I first received it some of the scrim was fished in the net so loosely it was falling out.

 

Pat, thank you for the photos! I had also considered Navy as a possibility, but can't say that I've seen photos of them using net and burlap scrim. 


Edited by Grant G., 03 August 2018 - 09:46 AM.


#15 pararaftanr2

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 11:19 AM

Two random observations, for what they are worth.

 

The photos of the Coastguardsmen are from footage taken at Normandy, evacuating casualties. The "V" and the other swabs of paint seen on the top and rear of their helmets is vesicant detection paint, applied specifically for the invasion.

 

I don't know how long you have been collecting, but when I started, back in the early 1980s, you could walk into almost any Army/Navy surplus store and buy a pre-packaged square of camouflage netting and scrim. Enough to do about two helmets. It was packaged in a clear plastic bag with a cardboard top to hang from a peg in the store. I don't recall who packaged them, but it was someone like Rothco, or one of the other big distributors. The full sized vehicle nets were also readily available. That was 35, not 75 years ago, but you would expect the burlap scrim to deteriorate a bit even over that time span. Something to consider before you decide you have an untouched Ranger helmet from Anzio.

 

Circa 1989, some of that same scrim I attached to a British-made net for a mannequin in my long-defunct war room:

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Edited by pararaftanr2, 03 August 2018 - 11:24 AM.


#16 Government Issue

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 12:09 PM

As far as I am aware the GO from HQ of 3rd DIV was for the Ranger force to mark the rear of equipment with their specified unit marking. 



#17 Grant G.

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 01:55 PM

Thanks for all the comments so far, gents!




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