Original U.S. WWI M1917 Camouflage AEF 522nd Motor Transport Corps Helmet

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a fantastic genuine Great War hand painted camouflage helmet complete with its original liner. Helmet features original period colored camouflage paint with various colors in angular black bordered shapes. It also has a hand painted insignia of the Motor Transport Corps on the front the helmet along with AEF for American Expeditionary Force, 522 M.T.C. and 1918-1919.

The paint shows minor wear, but has a great look with vibrant colors. The texture of the original finish can be seen and felt through the camouflage. The interior of the helmet has all original paint. It also has a nearly complete liner with felt top pad and the chin strap is broken but connected with a small section of wire. The liner does show age, and the leather is somewhat degraded, but the oil cloth is quite solid, as is the underlying netting.

The underside of the rim is stamped ZD 52, indicating that the shell is a U.S. manufactured shell, and not British. The solid rivets attaching the chin-strap bales further confirm this.

The best feature of this helmet by far is definitely the original hand painted MTC winged helmet insignia painted on the front of the helmet along with the vibrant camo.

The Motor Transport Corps (M.T.C.) was formed out of the Quartermaster Corps on 15 August 1918, by General Order No. 75. Men needed to staff this new corps were recruited from the skilled tradesmen working for automotive manufacturers in the US.

The first director of the M.T.C. was Brigadier General Meriwether Lewis Walker of Lynchburg, Virginia. Walker was chief engineer of the Pancho Villa Expedition in 1916–17. He was later governor of the Panama Canal Zone. The deputy director was Col. Francis Horton Pope of Kansas. The M.T.C. was headquartered in Tours during the duration of World War I.

General Order No. 75 spelled out the functions of the Motor Transport Corps as:
- The technical supervision of all motor vehicles.
- The design, production, procurement, reception, storage, maintenance and replacement of all motor vehicles, and accounting for same.
- The design, production, procurement, storage and supply of Transport Corps garages, parks, depots and repair shops.
- The procurement, organization and technical training of Motor Transport Corps personnel.
- The salvage and evacuation of damaged motor vehicles.
- The homogeneous grouping of motor vehicles.
- The operation, in accordance with instruction from the proper commanding officer as to their employment, of groups of motor vehicles of "First Class".
- The preparation of plans for hauling cargo and personnel over military roads, or roads under military control will be under the control of the Motor Transport Corps.
- The procurement, supply, replacement and preliminary training before assignment to combatant organizations, of personnel for operation of motor vehicles of the "Second Class", will be made by the Motor Transport Corps.

Types of motor vehicles
General Order No. 75 also defined a "motor vehicle" as:
- Bicycles
- Motorcycles
- Automobiles
- Trailers and Trucks

Excluded from this definition were:

- Tractors of the caterpillar type, designed primarily for traction purposes
- Tanks

These were to be under the control of the Ordnance Department.
Wartime operation: 1918–1919


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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