Jump to content

Cavalry and Infantry Type tank helmets.


LarryM3
 Share

Recommended Posts

If you look at desert training photos and the Carolina maneuvers photos, you will see a mix of uniform items. He probably wore what he had with not too much attention paid to standardization.

 

Very true. I suspect there would have been more opportunity to wear a mackinaw at the Desert Training facility than in the Carolina's or Louisiana. But then he could be at Fort Snelling in 1939 for that matter

 

Larry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If i get some time tomorrow I'll look through my photos and see if there is anything interesting.

 

Something I did see the other night was an unusual photo of a Pershing crew member at Cologne. I think you would like the helmet. I'll see if I can find that one tonight.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well that was easy. I have been trying to identify and label my photos.

 

What do you think of that helmet?

 

post-78-1344056279.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those were French helmets if I recall correctly(?).

I think somewhere on this forum there is a post or two about these.

 

Erwin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those were French helmets if I recall correctly(?).

I think somewhere on this forum there is a post or two about these.

 

Erwin

 

Hey Amigo,

 

Yep, I was aware of that, just showing them for interest. It's interesting to me that they chose these over the US version.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 'French' looking helmet shown in several previous photos is a very interesting helmet. I call it the 'ETO Contract Tank Helmet' because it was produced in the liberated portion of France under the auspices of the US 1st Army's Armored Section. The idea was to take some of the stress off the Allied supply chain and at the same time re-boot the French economy and get businesses running again. Various shops were contracted to make such items as parts for M4 tank engines and this particular tank helmet. The helmet was patterned on the French Modelle .33 Casque de Motorcyclistes which had an aluminum helmet bowl. The sides were modified so that the standard R-14 earphones could be attached by means of detachable leather ear cups. The helmet was successful, American tankers liked it, in fact my late Father's unit used them unfortunately the production soon ran into problems. The factory making them had problems getting materials and in keeping electricity on and by the time 278 of these helmets were made the Army pulled the plug in id-September, 1944. The helmet in the attached photo is in my collection. I know of only two of these helmets and both are in private collections. I owe a big assist to Steven Zaloga for help in tracking down information in the official records on this helmet.

 

Larry

post-9881-1344126610.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So the "stocks of French tank helmets" discovered and worn by US armor troops is a myth?

This is good information indeed.

Thanks.

 

Erwin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So the "stocks of French tank helmets" discovered and worn by US armor troops is a myth?

This is good information indeed.

Thanks.

 

Erwin

 

Erwin - that "stocks of French tank helmets" story could have been started by me many years ago. My father had told me the story that his unit was allowed to use French tank helmets that they got from a French warehouse and I always took this story with a grain of salt because I had never heard of US troops wearing another nation's helmet in combat during WWII. Then I stumbled across this photograph which shows my father's unit and there was a tanker wearing what appeared to be a French tanker helmet. Many years later I found a helmet on eBay which had been obtained from the estate of a deceased WWII tank vet. in Texas, it was advertised as a French tank helmet. I recognized it for what it really was and obtained it and then with the help of many European collectors compared it to all known examples of French tank and motorcyclist helmets just to make sure it was not a French item. I spent years trying to track down more information on these helmets and in the process often related the story my father told me. I am not surprised that the story got passed around and in retrospect I can see where my father would have thought they were french helmets and they were probably issued from either the factory were they were made or some other QM supply point which could very well have been a French warehouse. Over the years I discovered photos of this helmet being worn by various other US units so they were obviously widely distributed. All of the units appear to have been light tank or Mecz. Cavalry units except the famous Deriggi photos of the M26 vs. Panther duel in front of Cologne Cathedral. I talked to Mr. Deriggi's brother several years ago (unfortunately Mr. Deriggi himself was hospitalized with altzhimers at that time) and he told me that he had asked his brother many years ago about the helmet and had been told that Deriggi obtained the helmet and the K98 rifle in a trade with another US tanker from a different unit. I suspect that possibly these helmets were originally issued only to Mecz. Cavalry and Cavalry Recon. groups but why only them I cannot imagine. Anyway, to wrap this story up, I was talking to Steven Zaloga, the well known author of many books on tanks, and I mentioned this helmet and he told me he had come across something on them while doing research. He was kind enough to send me what he had found and I pursued it and found more information. I have since found one other example in a US collection and it has the American Sgt.'s name and rank scratched into the aluminum bowl of the helmet. The search for finding out about this helmet turned into quite a detective story but was very rewarding.

 

Larry

post-9881-1344209678.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Larry, thanks for the great story and clarification.

I thought (till now) they actually were French helmets.

I thought it was a company or other smaller unit "thing".

 

But now looking at that helmet, especially at the part where the receivers are installed, I see it would have been either a modification or - as you state correctly - a French-made helmet for armor and cav troops.

 

Jim; that photo would make a nice display project ... I got every part of his uniform ... except that blasted helmet! ;)

 

Erwin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...