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Clarifications on a few items relating to WWII M-1's

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I've been reading various threads across multiple forums about WWII M-1's specifically and going through my Chris Armold Steel Pots book and Pieter Oosterman's The M-1 Helmet of the World War II GI and I've found some contradictions and could use some guidance. I just want to make sure I'm clearly understanding attributes of these helmets as a newer collector. I plan to pick up Helmets of the ETO as well.


1. Liner chinstrap claps (cam buckle)

I've had people review helmets I've posted both here and on other forums and them tell me that black clasps on liner chinstraps are not correct. On page 94 of Oosterman's book he states that early models were issued with green painted steel and black oxidized brass clasps starting around mid 1944. Armold's book on page 122 echoes this saying "early examples were painted OD but were later changed to a black corrosion resistant finish" without specifying the type of metal. His black clasp example is clearly a black oxidized or black painted steel and not brass due to worn edges of the clasp showing and they definitely do not have the color you would associate with brass. So are all three varieties acceptable?


2. Types

I understand there were four varieties of M-1's used during WWII. 


M-1 front seam fixed loop produced 1941-1943


M-1 front and rear seam swivel loops produced 1943-1944

In October 1944 the seam moved from the front to the rear and the rim transitioned from stainless steel to manganese to match the construction of the rest of the shell.


M-2 front seam "D" loop produced 1942-1944 for paratrooper use

Special shell straps with a snap, special liner



Mid-late war production/issue, I could not find an exact date of production/issue. Closest is QMC catalogue does not list an "Airborne M-1C" until January 1945. Some people are of the opinion that this type of helmet was not used in the Normandy Campaign (photographic evidence seems to back this statement). Physical evidence (in the form of original pieces) shows that airborne modified helmets with both fixed and swivel chinstrap loops were certainly in circulation towards the end of 1944. Some believe term "M-1C" that was not in use and not the helmet style. Also had a button snap strap for the shell and unique liner. Due to similarity with the infantry M-1 identification is difficult if shell straps and/or liner are not present.


It is a reasonable assumption based on evidence as mentioned above that M-1C's were not present during the Normandy Campaign. Is there any written record of numbers of M-2's that were assigned to units that participated in D-Day as compared to modified fixed and swivel loop helmets?


I would be curious to know the above in relation to airborne modified fixed loops compared to airborne modified swivel loops specifically for D-Day and in addition compare that to the proportion of fixed loop and swivel loops for infantry.


Unless a helmet is painted or marked by a service number or other identifying information, there doesn't seem to be a real good way to fact check engagements the helmet may have been involved in. And that may just be how it is.


Without unit paint being applied to shells and/or liners is there a way to determine via shell heat stamp what batches were initially sent to what units? I know this doesn't account for any period refurbishment or soldier reassignments. I believe(?) I read you can figure out a rough production time period based on this number however.

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The steel black buckle chinstrap may be transitional. In general there are three main types of chinstraps used in WWII. The early green painted steel flat buckle chinstraps, the green painted steel chinstraps, and the black painted black buckle chinstraps with the patent number.


As for your question RE the types of helmets, my understanding is there is some evidence that a very limited number of swivel bail helmets saw use at Normandy. However, this would have been much too early in the war for a M1C or likely even a modified swivel bail helmet to have been used. My understanding is production of M1Cs didn't begin until early 1945, with factory M1Cs falling somewhere in the 1000-1200 heat stamp range.


Airborne helmets at that time would have been either the M2 or modified M1s. As far as the number of M2s vs modified M1s I don't know if any documentation exists detailing the numbers used.


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It's mentioned in Pieter Oosterman's book. They're either a production error or were a limited trial I believe

I must have missed that part then

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I had a helmet at one time that did have a brown chinstrap, it was in two pieces but It’s the only one I’ve seen.



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1 hour ago, akriener said:

Where did you see that?


I had one once.  Helmets of the ETO says they're early, which makes sense since mine was the straight style that seems specially designed to slice through the leather.

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3 hours ago, aef1917 said:


I had one once.  Helmets of the ETO says they're early, which makes sense since mine was the straight style that seems specially designed to slice through the leather.

Ditto, I've had two of them in the last 20 years. I accidently broke one which was more brittle than I thought. It was and still is too painful to discuss.  Probably the one Marty has.  ;)

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

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