Original U.S. WWI AEF 4th Infantry Division 11th Machine Gun Battalion Trench Art Camouflage Helmet
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This genuine trench art Great War helmet is a fine example with excellent complete liner and chinstrap. The shell has original period camouflage textured paint in orange, blue, red, dark reddish brown and gold. The front is marked with the 4th Infantry Division insignia and 11th Machin along with places the soldier was stationed, trained and fought including: New York, Detroit Mich, Marne, Mihiel, On The Rhine. Grenoble, France . The shell is maker marked with the stamping on the underside of the rim ZC 65.
This is an excellent example of a genuine USGI Great War helmet from the 4th Infantry Division 11th Machine Gun Battalion .
4th Infantry Division in WWI:
St. Mihiel Offensive For the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, the division moved into an area south of Verdun as part of the First United States Army. General John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) on the Western Front, had gotten the French and British to agree that the AEF would fight under its own organizational elements. One of the first missions assigned to the AEF was the reduction of the St. Mihiel salient. The 4th Division, assigned to V Corps, was on the western face of the salient. The plan was for V Corps to push generally southeast and to meet IV Corps who was pushing northwest, thereby trapping the Germans in the St. Mihiel area.
The 59th Infantry Regiment moved into an area previously occupied by the French, deploying along a nine kilometer front. On 12 September, the first patrols were sent forward by the 59th. The 4th Division attack began on 14 September with the 8th Brigade capturing the town of Manheulles. All along the front, the American forces pressed forward and closed the St. Mihiel salient.
On 26 September, the last great battle of World War I, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, began. Moving under the cover of darkness for secrecy, the Americans had moved into their sector of the front following the completion of their mission in the St. Mihiel area. Three United States Army corps were assigned sectors along the United States part of the front. III Corps held the extreme right (eastern) part of the front with V Corps to their left. The 4th Division was assigned to III Corps. The III Corps sector had the 33rd Division on the right, the 80th Division had the center, and the 4th was assigned the left, with the 79th Division of V Corps on their left.
The 7th Brigade was moved to the line in the trenches around Hill 304. The division plan called for one brigade to fight until exhausted and then send the other brigade forward to press the attack. The attack of 26 September was made through a narrow valley. The 7th Brigade moved through the valley and, while taking large numbers of German prisoners, reached the second line of defenses by 09:00 near the town of Cuisy. The Germans provided a formidable opposition, but the 39th Infantry overcame them and moved through Septsarges. During this first day, the 7th Brigade had captured 1700 prisoners, and more than 40 guns. Division headquarters was moved forward to Cuisy.
On 27 September the attack resumed with an artillery barrage. The 39th Infantry followed the barrage until they encountered withering machine gun fire from the Bois des Ogons where they were held up. The 8th Brigade was brought forward on 29 September to take the place of the 39th on the line. The 8th Brigade moved through the Bois de Brieulles but met increasing machine gun fire from the Bois des Ogons. Very little progress was made over the next four days as the terrible condition of the roads at the rear hampered re-supply and reinforcement efforts. By 3 October, Phase I of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive was over.
Meuse-Argonne OffensivePhase II
Through the strenuous efforts of the supply and ammunition trains, enough materiel had been acquired to resume the attack by 3 October. The division plan was to fight its way through the many forests surrounding the city of Brieulles and capture the city. On the morning of 4 October, the 8th Brigade moved out of the foxholes and moved across open ground under the cover of heavy fog. As the fog lifted the Germans opened fired from the front, the left and the right. The 58th fought forward wearing gas masks since many of the projectiles contained gas, finally managing to gain a foothold in the Bois des Fays. The line was able to advance no further for the next 4 days enduring constant shelling and German night patrols attempting to infiltrate their lines. Forward movement was again ordered on 9 October with the 7th Brigade attacking. The 8th Brigade was withdrawn for rest. The 39th Infantry was designated as the assaulting unit. The order to attack came just at sundown. With difficulty, the men stumbled forward in darkness wearing gas masks and under fire. Little progress could be made. The 39th withdrew to resume the attack at 07:00 on 10 October. 2/39th led the way and incurred heavy losses. Many of the officers in the 39th were killed or wounded, including all of the majors.
Another attack was ordered and by 17:30 2/39th had fought through the Bois de Peut de Faux. The men dug in for the night. Early on the morning of the 11th, the entire regimental staff of the 39th was gassed and LTC Troy Middleton, 47th Infantry was ordered to take command of the 39th. Attacking on the morning of 11 October, the 7th Brigade pushed through the Bois de Foret. The orders for 12 October were to clean out the last pockets of German resistance in the Bois de Foret. Patrols were sent out to the north side of Hill 299. On 13 October, 4th Division units were relieved by the 4th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Division.
On 10 October MG John L. Hines was selected to command III Corps. MG George H. Cameron was returned to the 4th Division as its commander. The 4th was withdrawn from the front on 19 October. During their 24 days of combat they had paid a heavy price with 244 officers and 7,168 men killed or wounded. They had fought their way over 13 kilometers and captured 2,731 enemy prisoners. The division relocated to Lucey as part of Second Army. MG Cameron received a new assignment to return to the United States to train new divisions on 22 October. Command passed temporarily to BG Benjamin, Commander, 7th Brigade before MG Mark L. Hersey arrived to assume command on 31 October.
The Armistice ending the war was signed on 11 November 1918. The last casualties in the division were suffered by 13th Field Artillery at 14:00 11 November 1918.
World War I casualties
2,611 killed in action
9,895 wounded in action
Under the terms of the Armistice, Germany was to evacuate all territory west of the Rhine. American troops were to relocate to the center section of this previously German occupied area all the way to the Koblenz bridgehead on the Rhine. The 4th marched into Germany, covering 330 miles in 15 days where it was widely dispersed over an area with Bad Bertrich as Division headquarters. The division established training for the men as well as sports and educational activities. In April 1919 the division moved to a new occupation area further north on the Rhine.
The division went north to Ahrweiler Germany in the Rheinland-Phalz area. In July the division returned to France and the last detachment sailed for the United States on 31 July 1919. On 21 September 1921, the 4th Division was inactivated at Camp Lewis, Washington as part of the Army Reorganization Act of 1920.
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 M1917 is a near identical version of the British Mk.I 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.
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