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Helmet-wearing regulations?


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Over the years I've pored over thousands of pics of the US military at war in WW2 and have reached the conclusion that the US Army was the most helmet-orientated of all the allied nations. For example, I've viewed many WW2 pictures showing troops behind the lines, out of the line of fire, but still wearing their helmets. There are also many "team photos" showing senior US/British commanders. The Brits are often in berets or visor hats, but the Americans tend to be helmeted. Why is this? Was there a regulation governing the wearing of helmets anywhere in the combat zone?

 

Sabrejet :think:

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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This is the kind of thing. I suppose it could be argued that the Generals are in parade order, but there are two visors among the helmets, so the protective nature of helmets is evidently not needed here.

 

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"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Over the years I've pored over thousands of pics of the US military at war in WW2 and have reached the conclusion that the US Army was the most helmet-orientated of all the allied nations. For example, I've viewed many WW2 pictures showing troops behind the lines, out of the line of fire, but still wearing their helmets. There are also many "team photos" showing senior US/British commanders. The Brits are often in berets or visor hats, but the Americans tend to be helmeted. Why is this? Was there a regulation governing the wearing of helmets anywhere in the combat zone?

 

Sabrejet :think:

 

I don't know if the US Army regulation favors the wear of combat helmet but the wear of another headgear can be a better choice when out of combat zone.

 

As a platoon leader, I used to order the wear of berets to show civilian we were not agressive and they could come to us ... it was easier to pick informations.

Collecting USMC AEF 1917-18 & PTO 1941-45, US Navy PTO 1941-45.

 

Most seeked items : USMC dog tags from 1915 to 1945, USN corpsman dog tags and other identified items, USN id'd M1 helmets.



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Over the years I've pored over thousands of pics of the US military at war in WW2 and have reached the conclusion that the US Army was the most helmet-orientated of all the allied nations. For example, I've viewed many WW2 pictures showing troops behind the lines, out of the line of fire, but still wearing their helmets. There are also many "team photos" showing senior US/British commanders. The Brits are often in berets or visor hats, but the Americans tend to be helmeted. Why is this? Was there a regulation governing the wearing of helmets anywhere in the combat zone?

 

Sabrejet :think:

Hello sabre,as far as wearing steel pots in the field, i can mention one regulation, although i dont no its manual nomenclature off hand, where the steel helmet was required for wear in noncombat/garrison situation's, that being under arms, there where regulation,s governing this. Here when a soldier was on guard duty, on parade whether on post or in a cilivilan one, standing certain inspection's and in these cases a weapon was to be carried,rifle or pistol, then not only was the steel helmet and to a lesser degree the helmet liner by itself to be worn, but also web gear, even if it was only just the pistol belt worn by itself. Most of the time when the Class A or khaki uniform was worn, the boots where ordered to be bloused. This normally never sat well with your airborne type's after WWII and into the 50s, but it was a continued pratice that began in the 20s and 30s most likely even earlier, in that legging's and cartridge belt,s and or pistol belts (though not necessarily the steel helmet)where prescibed for wear when under arms in a garrison setting.This of course pertain's to my day and before, i really don't know what reg's govern this dress order in today's army.

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Hi Patches...thanks for your usual in-depth answer!

 

Sabrejet :thumbsup:

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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All I can say is that in the mid '70s, I was under arms pretty much every day I was on duty for 2.5 years, and for most of it I don't believe I was even in possession of a helmet. I was required to wear a liner for about a month while on a field station in NE Thailand, but that didn't last long. The only reg I was aware of concerning under arms wear of headgear was that if you were under arms, you were allowed to remain under cover at all times, including indoors.

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The beatings will continue until morale has improved..

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All I can say is that in the mid '70s, I was under arms pretty much every day I was on duty for 2.5 years, and for most of it I don't believe I was even in possession of a helmet. I was required to wear a liner for about a month while on a field station in NE Thailand, but that didn't last long. The only reg I was aware of concerning under arms wear of headgear was that if you were under arms, you were allowed to remain under cover at all times, including indoors.

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I'm in the center, leaning on hood

 

Thats one thing i completly forgot about , you did not have to remove the helmet in doors. this would usualy be in the chow hall. Carrying weapons far afield from the unit area when on duty and you where on some kind of break was prohibited, except if it was a parade in the local towns or traviling to your larger city's for one or in the case of a funeral detail at a distent location then you be obviously traveling as a unit. In some setting's for instence, at fort hood the weapons could be carried in the local px annex that was located in and around so many unit barrack's, but would be prohibited from being brought in to the main post px and the post commisary. My other statement as are all my statements pertain to the infantry.In my time i never ever saw weapons being carried in under arms with the soft cap being worn,and with out at least a liner and LBE or at least the pistol belt, apart from MPs who would on occasion be in the class A uniform and would have on the white service cap as that was part of their duty uniform's.

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Thanks fellas. I was thinking more in terms of WW2. I realise that the helmet liner was intended for wear as a piece of secondary headgear in its own right, but the complete helmet assembly seems to have been most commonly and frequently worn "out of the line".

 

Sabrejet

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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I think it's a US Army thing....

 

Back in the 80s during REFORGER exercises, I spent considerable time as liaison officer for US units going through Belgium and the GIs I worked with only took their helmets of to sleep....

 

Even when they deployed through Antwerp for the Gulf War they were all wearing helmets all of the time...

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I think it's a US Army thing....

 

Back in the 80s during REFORGER exercises, I spent considerable time as liaison officer for US units going through Belgium and the GIs I worked with only took their helmets of to sleep....

 

Even when they deployed through Antwerp for the Gulf War they were all wearing helmets all of the time...

 

 

That was also my line of thinking Johan...thanks!

 

 

Ian

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Ian,

don't forget that the US also had the helmet liner and that is often seen in photos of troops in the rear and thought to be the helmet. The US Army in WWII didn't really have a soft hat appropriate for wear in the field until the patrol cap was introduced in late 44 or early 45. There were HBT mechanics hats but they weren't often issued to line soldiers. And there was the '41 Jeep cap , which wasn't really appropriate when it was hot. Aside from that and the overseas cap, which is rarely seen in WWII photos in the field, there just wasn't anything else to wear. The helmet liner was supposed to replace any other headgear out of the immediate combat zone and the steel helmet was supposed to be worn at all times in the combat zone. I also think (having tried all the other WWII helmets) that the GI M1 helmet is the most comfortable and practical of all of them.

Tom Bowers

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Thanks Tom...you make some valid points. If that was all there was to wear then I guess they just wore it, under fire, or not!

 

Ian :thumbsup:

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Hey, can't give that much coveted provenance to a helmet if it sits in your duffle bag. As for a regulation, no, there is no regulation that says when you have to wear a helmet, it is pretty much the command uniform policy.

 

Thank's for pointing this out, but i sure in the past that in some manual, FM or otherwise, there will be some regulation somwhere in regards to the wear of the steel helmet and liner.You correctly pointed out command policy's,here these are what would amount to unit SOP's, but SOP's are not created out of thin air, they have their basis in regulations, which are to be interpreted and implemented within the guidelines of the pertinent regulation.

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Over the years I've.... The Brits are often in berets or visor hats, but the Americans tend to be helmeted. Why is this? Was there a regulation governing the wearing of helmets anywhere in the combat zone?

 

Sabrejet :think:

 

 

Sabre-

 

One of the generals in the photo you posted, the one in the middle with the Service cap, seems to be Ike. I seem to remember a thread in this forum, where it stated Eisenhower never wore helmets, not even in the front. As the reason given, it seemed he stated he felt the helmet was more of a headgear for the front-line soldier and not for generals.

 

I may have botched the reason given. As I said, it was a thread at least three months old. And no, I am not feeling up to search that old thread...

 

It does not explain why the other general is wearing the Service cap as well, or who was it. Could it be one of Ike's staff? And Ike's habits rubbed off in him?

 

Nice photo, are these generals identified somewhere?

 

Take care,

 

Luis R.

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Sabre-

 

Am I mistaken in that photo? Is it Patton the Lt Gen to the right of the photo (or to the left of the viewer).

 

The other general with the Service cap seems to me is wearing wings on his chest. Enlarge the view. I may be wrong, and Air Force generals may have had helmets to wear, but I have never seen photos of Air Force generals using helmets...

 

Maybe the reason all other generals are wearing helmets in this photo is that these are Infantry or Armored generals, with the exception of Ike and an Air Corps general, one who wore no helmets per custom, the other because he had none. But if so, why just one Air Force general and so many front-line generals...?

 

Interesting...

 

Luis R.

 

:think:

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Sabre-

 

Am I mistaken in that photo? Is it Patton the Lt Gen to the right of the photo (or to the left of the viewer).

 

The other general with the Service cap seems to me is wearing wings on his chest. Enlarge the view. I may be wrong, and Air Force generals may have had helmets to wear, but I have never seen photos of Air Force generals using helmets...

 

Maybe the reason all other generals are wearing helmets in this photo is that these are Infantry or Armored generals, with the exception of Ike and an Air Corps general, one who wore no helmets per custom, the other because he had none. But if so, why just one Air Force general and so many front-line generals...?

 

Interesting...

 

Luis R.

 

:think:

 

 

Hello Luis. No, you're not mistaken. The pic shows Ike with his top commanders...Generals Patton and Bradley etc. A lot o' brass assembled in one place at the same time!

 

Ian

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Aside from that and the overseas cap, which is rarely seen in WWII photos in the field, there just wasn't anything else to wear.

 

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This photo of my late friend of the 7th AD during the Battle of the Bulge is the only one I've ever seen...

MSGT William Gould, 8th Weather Squadron, USAAF WWII
MAJ Abner J. Barnett, 329th Infantry Regiment, 83rd Division, USA Medical Corps WWI, WWII
T 5 A. Curtis Dufield, 147th Armored Signal Company, 7th Armored Division WWII

CAPT Thomas F. Hooper, 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division, WWII
"And then we all got invited to World War II and everybody's life changed." (Jean Kelly Barnett Gould 1922-2009 (My mom))
For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Phil. 4:11b)
"That outfit was so bad that the CHAPLAIN went over the hill with a couple of guys." William Bryson Gould 1920-2012 )(My dad))

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Here's some speculation - The helmet is the most war-like head cover available. Image conscious generals that wanted to be seen as aggressive combat leaders (vs. administrators) might have been inclined to wear a helmet. The liner is a more comfortable alternative. Patton was particularly self-aware of the image he presented to his troops. I believe the helmet/liner wearers in this photo are all in command of ground units. I also suspect Patton's example/presence may have influenced other combat generals in the ETO (especially when they were being photographed together). Pete Quesada commanded the Tactical Air Command. Among WW2 pilots, the "crusher cap" was the symbol of an experienced pilot, so a steel pot would not have the same effect on subordinates.

 

From http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-E-...egfried-2.html: THIRTEEN COMMANDERS OF THE WESTERN FRONT photographed in Belgium, 10 October 1944. Front row, left to right: General Patton, General Bradley, General Eisenhower, General Hodges, Lt. Gen. William H. Simpson. Second row: Maj. Gen. William B. Kean, Maj. Gen. Charles E. Corlett, Maj. Gen. J. Lawton Collins, Maj. Gen. Leonard P. Gerow, Maj. Gen. Elwood R. Quesada. Third row: Maj. Gen. Leven C. Allen, Brig. Gen. Charles C. Hart, Brig. Gen. Truman C. Thorson

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Here's some speculation - The helmet is the most war-like head cover available. Image conscious generals that wanted to be seen as aggressive combat leaders (vs. administrators) might have been inclined to wear a helmet. The liner is a more comfortable alternative. Patton was particularly self-aware of the image he presented to his troops. I believe the helmet/liner wearers in this photo are all in command of ground units. I also suspect Patton's example/presence may have influenced other combat generals in the ETO (especially when they were being photographed together). Pete Quesada commanded the Tactical Air Command. Among WW2 pilots, the "crusher cap" was the symbol of an experienced pilot, so a steel pot would not have the same effect on subordinates.

 

From http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-E-...egfried-2.html: THIRTEEN COMMANDERS OF THE WESTERN FRONT photographed in Belgium, 10 October 1944. Front row, left to right: General Patton, General Bradley, General Eisenhower, General Hodges, Lt. Gen. William H. Simpson. Second row: Maj. Gen. William B. Kean, Maj. Gen. Charles E. Corlett, Maj. Gen. J. Lawton Collins, Maj. Gen. Leonard P. Gerow, Maj. Gen. Elwood R. Quesada. Third row: Maj. Gen. Leven C. Allen, Brig. Gen. Charles C. Hart, Brig. Gen. Truman C. Thorson

 

An Excelent, astute observation. You are most correct on all points.

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