Item:
ONSV6049

Original U.S. WWI M1917 77th Infantry Division Camouflage Doughboy Helmet - Statue of Liberty Division

Regular price $495.00

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a U.S. M1917 "Doughboy" helmet with original liner, that also features original period "paneled" camouflage paint on the top side. This was a very popular camouflage pattern on both sides of the conflict, and features red, brown, green, blue. black and other colors.

The shell is maker marked with a stamping on the underside of the rim that reads ZE 59. The solid rivets and heat lot number indicate that this helmet shell was produced in the United States. The paint is in excellent condition both inside and outside the helmet. The liner is present, but the chin strap is missing all the way back to the top rivet, so the liner is loose in the shell. There are still remnants of the original fabric label at the top. The oil cloth of the liner is nice, but the leather supports are also quite worn.

The best feature of this helmet is definitely the original hand painted camouflage paint job, with a 77th Infantry Division - Statue of Liberty Division emblem in the center of the front of the helmet. The design is the classic blue trapezoid with a yellow "Statue of Liberty" painted in the middle. The camouflage paint is a lovely design, and the Division Insignia maintains almost all of the original paint and remains bold and easy to see.

A great example of an authentic WWI "Doughboy" helmet from the 7th Infantry Division, with hand-painted camouflage, ready to display!

The 77th Infantry Division was organized from draftees, drawn mostly from New York City, and trained at Camp Upton in Yaphank, NY in the central part of Suffolk Country, Long Island; the camp is now Brookhaven National Laboratory. The division consisted of the 153rd and 154th Infantry Brigades.

The 77th Infantry Division was the first American division composed of draftees to arrive in France in World War I, landing in April 1918; overall it was the seventh of 42 divisions to reach France. The division fought in the Battle of Château-Thierry on 18 July 1918.

It sustained 10,194 casualties: 1,486 killed and 8,708 wounded. The division returned to the U.S. in April 1919 and was deactivated that month.

The 154th Infantry Brigade was composed of the 307th and 308th Infantry Regiments and the 306th Machine Gun Battalion. While the division had been recruited as a National Army unit from the New York City area, attrition and replacements had complicated the complexion of the unit. For example, Company K, 307th Infantry, had been redesignated from the former Company L, 160th Infantry, California Army National Guard. The company had belonged to the 40th Division, which had been converted into a depot division in August 1918.

The "Lost Battalion" of World War I fame is the name given to nine companies of the United States 77th Infantry Division, roughly 554 men, who were isolated by German forces during World War I after an American attack in the Argonne Forest in October 1918. Roughly 197 were killed in action and approximately 150 missing or taken prisoner before 194 remaining men were rescued. They were led by Major Charles White Whittlesey. On 2 October, the division quickly advanced into the Argonne, under the belief that French forces were supporting the left flank and two American units including the 92nd Division were supporting the right flank. Unknown to Whittlesey's unit, the French advance had been stalled. Without this knowledge, the Americans had moved beyond the rest of the Allied line and found themselves completely cut off and surrounded by German forces. For the next six days, suffering heavy losses, the men of the division were forced to fight off several attacks by the Germans.

The battalion suffered many hardships. Food was short, and water was available only by crawling under fire to a nearby stream. Ammunition ran low. Communications were also a problem, and at times they would be bombarded by shells from their own artillery. As every runner dispatched by Whittlesey either became lost or ran into German patrols, carrier pigeons became the only method of communicating with headquarters. In an infamous incident on 4 October, inaccurate coordinates were delivered by one of the pigeons and the unit was subjected to "friendly fire". The unit was saved by another pigeon, Cher Ami, delivering the following message:

WE ARE ALONG THE ROAD PARALELL [sic] 276.4. OUR ARTILLERY IS DROPPING A BARRAGE DIRECTLY ON US. FOR HEAVENS SAKE STOP IT.

Despite this, they held their ground and caused enough of a distraction for other Allied units to break through the German lines, which forced the Germans to retreat.

 

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 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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