Original U.S. WWI 3rd United States Army M1917 Doughboy Helmet with Unique Engraved Artwork
Original Item: One-Of-A-Kind. This is a fantastic, genuine American made Great War hand painted 3rd US Army helmet, which features a lovely engraving of a man and a woman on the outside shell.
The paint is somewhat worn, and definitely shows use, but it has a great look and the colors are still easily discernible. The underside of the rim is stamped ZE 29 indicating it was produced in the United States, and can be seen on the underside of the skirt towards the front. The solid rivets on the chin strap bales is another method of identifying the helmet as being American made. The liner is still present as is the top felt pad with paper label, but the entire lower portion of the chinstrap is missing.
A wonderful totally original helmet with genuine original paint! Ready to display!
The Third United States Army was first activated as a formation during the First World War on 7 November 1918, at Chaumont, France, when the General Headquarters of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) issued General Order 198 organizing the Third Army and announcing its headquarters staff. On the 15th, four days after the Armistice with Germany, Major General Joseph T. Dickman assumed command and issued Third Army General Order No. 1. The Third Army consisted of three corps (III Corps, Major General John L. Hines; IV Corps, Major General Charles Henry Muir; and VII Corps, Major General William G. Haan) and seven divisions.
On 15 November 1918, Major General Dickman was given the mission to move quickly and by any means into the Rhineland on occupation duties. He was to disarm and disband German forces as ordered by General John J. Pershing, commander of the AEF.
The march into the Rhineland for occupation duty began on 17 November 1918. By 15 December the Third Army Headquarters at Mayen opened at Koblenz. Two days later, on 17 December 1918, the Koblenz bridgehead, consisting of a pontoon bridge and three railroad bridges across the Rhine, was established.
Third Army troops had encountered no hostile act of any sort. In the occupied area, both food and coal supplies were sufficient. The crossing of the Rhine by the front line divisions was affected in good time and without confusion. Troops, upon crossing the Rhine and reaching their assigned areas, were billeted preparatory to occupying selected positions for defense. The strength of the Third Army as of 19 December, the date the bridgehead occupation was completed, was 9,638 officers and 221,070 enlisted men.
On 12 December, Field Order No. 11 issued, directed the Third Army to occupy the northern sector of the Coblenz bridgehead, with the advance elements to cross the Rhine river at seven o'clock, 13 December. The northern (left) boundary remained unchanged. The southern (right) boundary was as has been previously mentioned.
Before the advance, the 1st Division passed to the command of the III Corps. With three divisions, the 1st, 2d, and 32d, the III Corps occupied the American sector of the Coblenz bridgehead, the movement of the troops into position beginning at the scheduled hour, 13 December. The four bridges available for crossing the river within the Coblenz bridgehead were the pontoon bridge and railroad bridge at Coblenz, the railroad bridges at Engers and Remagen. On 13 December the advance began with the American khaki crossing the Rhine into advanced positions. On the same day the 42d Division passed to the command of the IV Corps, which, in support of the III Corps, continued its march to occupy the Kreise of Mayen, Ahrweiler, Adenau, and Cochem.
The VII Corps occupied under the same order that portion of the Regierungsbezirk of Trier within army limits.
On 15 December, Third Army Headquarters at Mayen opened at Coblenz: III Corps Headquarters at Polch opened at Neuwied and IV Corps Headquarters remained at Cochem, with the VII Corps at Grevenmacher. In crossing the Rhine on the shortened front—from Rolandseck to Rhens on the west bank—the Third Army encountered no hostile act of any sort. In the occupied area both food and coal supplies were sufficient.
By the night of 14 December, Third Army troops had occupied their positions on the perimeter of the Coblenz bridgehead.
The U.S. M1917 "Doughboy" Helmet:
The United States entered into World War I in April 1917, at this time the United States Army did not have a helmet for its troops. The adoption of a helmet by the French, British and German armies convinced the United States Army that a helmet was needed as a standard piece of equipment. In June 1917, the United States Army selected the standard British helmet design for its use. This was the British Mk. I steel helmet. There were three main reasons for the selection of the British Mk. I helmet design: "the immediate availability of 400,000 ready-made helmets from England, the simplicity of manufacture from hard metal, and the superior ballistic properties." When the British Mk. I was selected by the United States Army, its United States production version was designated and standardized as the Helmet, M-1917. Until United States production of the M-1917 could begin, the United States Army purchased the 400,000 available British Mk. I helmets in England and issued them to the American Expeditionary Forces already in Europe. Production was begun on the M-1917 helmets in the fall of 1917. By the end of November 1917, large quantities of M-1917 helmets became available for the United States Army.
The M-1917 helmet was very similar to the British Mk. I helmet. The helmet was basically an inverted bowl stamped out of a single piece of manganese alloy, which was made up of 13 percent manganese and was .036" thick. This differed from the British helmet, as the Mk. I helmet was made up of 12 percent manganese. Thus ballistically, the M-1917 helmet increased protection for the wearer by 10 percent over the British Mk. I helmet, and could withstand a .45 caliber pistol bullet traveling at 600 feet per second fired at a distance of 10 feet. A rim was spot welded to the edge of the steel bowl, with the ends butted, as opposed to lapped, which was done on the British Mk. I helmet. Riveted to the steel bowl were two flexible guiding loops for the chin strap. Here again, the U.S. M-1917 helmet differed from the British Mk. I helmet. On the U.S. helmet the loops were secured by solid machined rivets, whereas the British Mk. I helmet used split rivets. An adjustable leather chin strap was riveted to the steel bowl and consisted of two halves, each joined together by metal loops which were secured to the ends of the leather halves by steel split rivets. Also riveted to the steel bowl was the helmet lining. The lining was also similar to that of the British Mk. I helmet and consisted of a number of items described below:
The lining was woven of cotton twine in meshes three-eighths of an inch square. This web, fitting tightly upon the wearer's head, evenly distributed the weight of the two-pound helmet, and in the same way distributed the force of any blow upon the helmet. The netting, together with the small pieces of rubber around the edge of the lining, kept the helmet away from the head, so that even a relatively large dent could not reach the wearer's skull.
The linings of the U.S. M-1917 helmet were produced by 10 shoe manufacturing companies.
The lining, as mentioned above, consisted of cotton twine mesh surrounded by a circular piece of leather that held tubular pieces of rubber, and the mesh was covered by a piece of black oil cloth. Sandwiched between the lining and the steel bowl was also a piece of felt.
The steel for the M-1917 helmet was rolled by the American Sheet and Tin Plate Company.
The steel was then pressed and stamped into its bowl shape by seven companies, which were: Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Sparks, Withington Company, Jackson, Michigan; Crosby Company, Buffalo, New York; Bossett Corporation, Utica, New York; Columbian Enameling & Stamping Company, Terre Haute, Indiana; Worchester Pressed Steel Company, Worchester, Massachusetts; and Benjamin Electric Company, Des Plaines, Illinois. The steel was stamped with an austenite heat number and shipment number, which were used to identify the quality of steel and shipment lots. The metal helmets and woven linings were delivered to the plant of the Ford Motor Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where they were painted and assembled. To make the outside surface of the helmet anti-glare, the helmets were first painted, then fine sawdust was blown on the wet paint, and finally the helmet was painted again. To increase protective properties the helmets were painted in an olive drab shade.
During the fall of 1917 production was begun on the M-1917 helmets. By the end of November 1917, the first deliveries of large quantities of M-1917 helmets were being made to the United States Army. On 17 February 1918, approximately 700,000 M-1917 helmets had been produced. As United States involvement in World War I increased, the U.S. Army placed additional orders for the M-1917 helmet. By July 1918 orders for the M-1917 helmet reached 3,000,000, in August 6,000,000, and in September 7,000,000. In November 1918, when hostilities ended and American production was ordered to cease, U.S. Manufacturers had produced a total of 2,707,237 M-1917 helmets. Production figures for the pressed and stamped steel helmets during World War I, were as follows:
Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Co. - 1,150,775
Sparks, Withington Co. - 473,469
Crosby Co. - 469,968
Bossett Corporation - 116,735
Columbian Enameling & Stamping Co. - 268,850
Worchester Pressed Steel Co - 193,840
Benjamin Electric Co. - 33,600
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