Original U.S. WWI M1917 3rd Division Doughboy Helmet - The Rock of the Marne
Original Item: Only One Available. 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 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. This example has dome headed rivets on the chin strap bales, indicating American Manufacture.
This rare example is completely genuine with original paint featuring the blue and white stripe insignia of the 3rd Division, which famously distinguished itself at the Marne River in France, earning it the nick name "The Rock of the Marne."
The top of the shell retains a good portion of the original textured brown paint, with a lovely patina. Helmet is missing most of the liner and chinstrap and features original brown paint on the underside of the shell. It still can be seen that the liner was size 7 1/8 on one of the chin strap remnants. The shell is heat log marked with the stamping on the underside of the rim ZC 183, a known US heat lot marking.
This is a fantastic chance to get an original WWI helmet, from a storied division that fought in The Great War.
History of the 3rd Division during WWI - The Rock of the Marne:
The 3rd Division was activated 21 November 1917, seven months after the American entry into World War I, at Camp Greene, North Carolina. Eight months later, it saw combat for the first time in France on the Western Front.
At midnight on 14 July 1918, the division earned lasting distinction. Engaged in the Aisne-Marne Offensive as a member of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) to Europe, the division was protecting the French capital of Paris with a position on the banks of the Marne River. The 7th Machine Gun Battalion of the 3rd Division rushed to Château-Thierry amid retreating French troops and held the Germans back at the Marne River. While surrounding units retreated, the 3rd Division, including the 4th, 30th and 38th Infantry Regiments, remained steadfast throughout the Second Battle of the Marne, and Colonel Ulysses G. McAlexander's dogged defense earned the 3rd Division its nickname as the "Rock of the Marne". During the massive attack, the 3rd Infantry Division's commanding officer, Major General Joseph T. Dickman, famously cried out "Nous Resterons La" (We Shall Remain Here). Their Blue and White insignia also earned them the nickname The Blue and White Devils." The rest of the division was absorbed under French command until brought back together under the command of Major General Joseph T. Dickman and by 15 July 1918 they took the brunt of what was to be the last German offensive of the war. General John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, Commander-in-chief (C-in-C) of the AEF on the Western Front, called this stand "one of the most brilliant pages in the annals of military history". During the war two members of the division were awarded the Medal of Honor.
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