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187th PIR "Rakkasan" Bring Back from Leyte. Japanese Para Helmet


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Nearly 40 years ago a friend of mine in the Seattle area picked this up from a man who had served with the 187th PIR. He was part of the contingent of "Rakkasans" at San Pablo Airfield (Leyte, PI) when the Japanese Army's 3rd Parachute Regiment launched an airborne assault during the night of December 6th, 1944. Additional objectives of the assault were the airfields at Buri and Burauen. I think the 187th is the only American Airborne regiment to have been assaulted from the air during WWII. This helmet was taken directly from one of those 306 Japanese paratroopers.

 

I was fortunate enough to acquire the piece a couple years back. To me, the most historical Japanese paratrooper helmet I have come across.

 

This is a first model helmet (leather vs. cloth flaps)

 

Notice how it has been camouflaged for a night operation (by what appears to be wood stain or gun oil or something like that). It definitely is NOT post war applied lacquer or something like that.

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JOLLY GOOD! Thats the coolest Japanese item I have ever seen...

Crapgame: His name is Kelly. Used to be a Lieutenant, pretty good one too-

until someone gave him orders to attack the wrong hill. Wiped out half a company of GI's...

Somebody had to get the blame so he got picked....

Oddball (Laughing): Oh man, I don't like officers...

Crapgame (Laughing): Neither does he, so relax!

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Wow that's the coolest Japanese helmet I've seen in awhile! Very impressive!


Pvt. James H. Honey 1st Md. Eastern shore Vol. Inf. Co. D (union) Gettysburg
Pvt. George Eddie Lear 26th Inf. Co.H 1st Div .(WW1) P.H. WIA Cpl. Richard Elsea 268th C.A. Bn. Battery A. WW2 SSgt. Grant Elsea 314th Inf. Hq.Co. I.R.79thDiv. WW2
Cpl. Harry Lawrence Butler Jr 23rd Regt. WIA Korea Lt. George Olin Tilghman 111th MG. 29th Div. WW1 DIS France 1919
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A Holy Grail helmet for sure!

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I "primarily" collect Gulf War 1 patches. All branches (USA, USAF,USN, USMC & USCG) and ALL Countries..
US - Op.'s Desert Shield / Storm / Provide Comfort /Some Southern Watch - F-4G's Wild Weasels
UK - Op.'s Granby / Sabre / Warden
Canadian - Op. Desert Storm / Op. Friction
French - Daguet / Aconit
Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, South Korea, etc.
Looking for the oddities, including unfinished & flaws
I HAVE EXTRA's!! Will trade as well.

 

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OH WOW! UBER cool and rare!

A collecter of photographs

Always looking for PTO related photos and photo albums. also looking for 134th CB USN and 711th railroad operating battalion photos and photo albums.

 

Mike Harpe

 

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Fantastic! I've been collecting 6 years and seeing things like this really keep me in awe. Knowing that the interesting and rare are still out there is what helps keep me hunting. Thanks for showing the helmet.

PFC. Bernard Elkins Btry.D 737th AAA BN. Pacific Theater WW 2

SSG. George A. Elkins Team 46 MACV / SOG Khanh Hoa Vietnam

Killed In Action 10/9/69

 

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Glad that you guys enjoyed taking a look at this. Thanks for the comments. Has anyone on the forum had the opportunity to speak with one of these guys (187 PIR at Leyte) directly? It would be interesting to hear what they told you and what types of material they brought back.

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Absolutely the best Japanese helmet I've ever seen and I mean, ever!

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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