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Painting a WWII M-1 fixed bail helmet


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As some of you already know I have been looking for an M-1 helmet to paint with my father's infantry insignia -- the 69th Infantry Division -- and rank of Master Sergeant.

 

My first helmet, some of you told me, was authentic and should not be fooled with.

 

One of the forum members had a great helmet, no liner, that he sold me that is in wonderful (refurbished) shape and that will be perfect for painting.

 

Another forum member told me what type of paint to use.

 

I bought the 69th stencil and a tech sergeant rank stencil and so I am ready to go once I buy the paint.

 

My NEW questions, for all of you experts out there-- and I know you are many -- are these: How far up on the helmet, from the front seam or other point, should the 69th insignia go?

 

Second, how far UNDER the 69th insignia should the sergeant's rank go?

 

third, what color should the sergeant's rank be painted? White or off-white (I don't know that it matters, but I'll bet it does).

 

Okay, fourth, I have a tech sergeant stencil. I do not paint the 'T,' right? And do I add one or two stripes beneath the one stripe that is already beneath the upper sergeant's chevron?

 

Lots of questions, i know, but your help is, as always, greatly appreciated!

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This one could give you some idea ;)

 

 

tumblr_mbdvobB5X61ry96k9o1_500.jpg

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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Here is is link to a thread on the forum with a M1 helmet with the rank painted on, which should give you a size scale. The unit insignia would go above the rank: http://www.usmilitar...o-medic-helmet/

Also note, since M/Sgt is an NCO rank, he would have an NCO stripe on the back of the helmet, like this:

tQyuw.jpg

 

I don't know if you have discussed this before, but it was quite unusual for NCO's to paint their rank on the front of their helmet, instead the horizontal stripe across the back would let others know that he was an NCO. It could be difficult to make the M/Sgt rank and the unit insignia fit on the front of the helmet. Just my thoughts.

 

 

Frederik

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at the time of this photo it looks like he was a Sergeant (three stripes) and had not yet been promoted

 

It's possible that after he was promoted, he could have painted the rest of the M/Sgt rank on the helmet, instead of just removing it, so it's maybe he did have the full M/Sgt rank on the helmet at some point, it was just at a later time than this picture.

 

 

It's a very cool picture, it certainly does look like his rank is painted on the helmet.

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What do you think I should do? Duplicate the helmet as it is in this photo? Or add the M/Sgt ranking? If he got promoted after combat was over then it wouldn't be too realistic to paint M/Sgt on the helmet, would it? (Not that this will actually BE his helmet, so I guess it's a moot point).

 

I am waiting for his personnel records, or whatever the government can dig up since his record was burned up in the fire of 1973. Maybe that will tell me when he was promoted. Right now, I'm leaning toward just painting Sgt's stripes on the helmet. . . like those that are in the photo. (Good eye, Johndanger. I wasn't able to discern what rank was on the helmet, only that it looked like a rank was there. . . )

 

So, I'm thinking no NCO stripe on the back, right??

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One more question: is it even feasible that he would have been bumped all the way up to a M/Sgt rank from a regular sergeant? I'm just positive that that is what my Mom told me -- that Dad was a M/Sgt. Now, I'm beginning to wonder since this was close to the end of the war. Although I don't think Dad was mustered out until sometime in August, 1945.

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Oh, yes, that 69th-infantry-division website and I are old buddies. . . I have been corresponding with a couple of the old-timers, none of whom, regrettably, remembers my father. Of course, the division was 15,000 strong, and now there are very few of the soldiers left, so that hinders one's research.

 

My goal now is to try to find out which regiment and which company my Dad was in. I'm thinking it was the 271st regiment, just from recognizing so many of the names of the places where that regiment's infantrymen fought. I used to hide when I was a kid and eavesdrop as my Dad talked to his war buddies. That was the only way I could hear his war stories. It's amazing how much of what he said I remember today, over 55 years later. So, if it was the 271st regiment then all I need is the company. I'm hoping that the government -- personnel records office -- will be able to pin that down for me.

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I would say there were a lot more casualties among those wear their RANK on their helmet. It was learned that a vertical white strip rear of helmet denoted officer and white horizon strip denoted NCO. This way less officers and NCO's were killed.

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