Original U.S. WWI 4th Marine Brigade HQ Model 1917 Helmet

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Original Item: Only One Available. This is an incredibly rare M1917 helmet that was issued to a member of the 4th Marine Brigade HQ during the Great War. This very nice example is complete with complete liner and complete chinstrap, and still has original period textured paint on the outer shell. Most notably the helmet features an EGA (Eagle Globe Anchor) cap badge. The hole for the badge is punched not drilled. The front features a hand painted Indian head insignia inside what appears to be a black circle. These helmets are routinely faked, but this is authentic to the period with period applied paint and EGA.

The shell is maker marked with a stamping on the underside of the rim that reads ZC 246. This maker marking indicates that this is a U.S. produced shell, which is further indicated by the solid rivets used to retain the chin strap bales.

The outer shell still has 95% or more of the original textured finish, with the interior finish a bit less due to rust and staining. There is some dirt and rust on the shell, which we left in place to preserve the patina.

This is an wonderful RARE example of a genuine USMC Great War helmet, all original and ready to display!

The 4th Brigade was originally formed during World War I as the 4th Marine Brigade. It served in France as one of the two infantry brigades of the U.S. Army 2nd Infantry Division and all Marine combat units in World War I were organized under the 4th Marine Brigade. The 4th fought actions at Belleau Wood, Soissons and Meuse-Argonne campaign

The 4th Brigade was ordered to shore up crumbling French lines near Château-Thierry in late May 1918. The 6th Marines took up positions southwest of Belleau Wood, then it was ordered to seize the town of Bouresches and to clear the southern half of Belleau Wood itself on 6 June. These attacks were the beginning of a month-long struggle that eventually became a landmark battle for the U.S. Marine Corps. Colonel Catlin was severely wounded not long after the first waves went over the top; his replacement was Lieutenant Colonel Harry Lee, who would command the regiment for the rest of the war. Gunnery Sergeant Fred W. Stockham voluntarily gave up his own gas mask to a platoonmate and was later awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor for that action. Regimental dentist Weedon Osborne was also awarded a posthumous Navy Medal of Honor. Regimental losses in this sector were 2,143 over 40 days.

The U.S. 2nd Division was attached to the French XX Corps to conduct a counterattack near Soissons in mid-July. The 6th Regiment was held in reserve when the initial assault waves went over the top on 18 July. The next day, the 6th Marine Regiment stepped off, advancing alone from Vierzy toward Tigny, but was stopped short of the objective by intense artillery and machinegun fire. Casualties were extremely heavy, estimated at 50 to 70% in most units. First Lieutenant Clifton B. Cates  reported only about two dozen of more than 400 men survived and added "... There is no one on my left, and only a few on my right. I will hold."

After a month-long rest, the Marines were assigned to the U.S. First Army to participate in the first "all-American" push, a double envelopment to eliminate the St. Mihiel salient. The 6th Marines was relegated to support the 3rd Brigade's attack from Limey to Thiaucourt. The push began early on 12 September, and the initial attack carried virtually all of the division's objectives before noon that day. The American attack unknowingly coincided with a German withdrawal. The sharpest action for the Regiment occurred when defending the outpost line of resistance on 15 September. Although this mission has been tagged "a piece of cake" by some historians, the 6th Marines lost more than a hundred killed and about five hundred wounded at St. Mihiel; Navy corpsman David E. Hayden earned a Medal of Honor for his heroic actions while attached to the 6th Marines defending Thiaucourt.

The 2nd Division and the US 36th Division were then loaned to the French Fourth Army for its assault on German forces that became the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge. Here the Marines successfully captured their objectives after bloody fighting, and with support from the 36th Division fought off German counterattacks until the flanking French units were able to catch up to the American advance. The 2nd and 36th Divisions then advanced and captured a German strongpoint at St. Etienne, after which the 2nd was withdrawn from the line to regroup and returned to American command.

For the actions at Belleau Wood, Soissons, and Blanc Mont, the 6th Marine Regiment was awarded the French croix de guerre three times. As a result, the regiment is authorized to wear the fourragère of the croix de guerre . The fourragère thereafter became part of the uniform of the unit, and all members of the modern 6th Marines are authorized to wear the fourragère while serving with the regiment.

When the armistice on 11 November 1918, ended active hostilities, the 6th Regiment was assigned to the U.S. Third Army to spearhead the Allied march from France through Belgium and Luxembourg to Coblenz, Germany. There, the regiment settled into uneventful occupation duty from December 1918 to May 1919. At that time, the regiment once again deployed for hostilities when the German representatives balked at the unexpected terms of surrender. This threat persuaded the Germans to accept to the terms, and the treaties formally ending the war were signed in June 1919. Their mission accomplished, the Marines sailed for home the following month.

The 6th Marines was deactivated at Quantico on 13 August 1919 after victoriously parading through the streets of New York City and Washington, D.C. Thomas Boyd's novel Through The Wheat. covers the activities of the 6th Marine Regiment during the First World War.

History of the M1917 Helmet:

The M1917 was the US Army's first modern combat helmet, used from 1917 and during the 1920s, before being replaced by the M1917A1. The M1917A1 helmet was an updated version of the M1917 and initially used refurbished WW1 shells.

The M1917 is a near identical version of the British MkI steel helmet, and it is important to note that when the US joined the Great War in 1917 they were initially issued with a supply of around 400,000 British made Mk.Is, before production began state side. The M1917 differed slightly in its lining detail, and exhibited US manufacture markings.

M1917 helmet liners typically show a paper label at the crown and the dome rivet head. The liner is set up as on the British versions, with an oilcloth band and net configuration, attached to a leather strap, riveted to the shell. The chinstrap is leather with steel buckle.

  • This product is available for international shipping.
  • Eligible for all payments - Visa, Mastercard, Discover, AMEX, Paypal & Sezzle


Cash For Collectibles