Original U.S. WWI M1917 Doughboy Helmet marked to 72nd Coastal Artillery - Battery B

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a U.S. M1917 "Doughboy" helmet, which features original period textured OD Green paint and a painted unit marking, which covers a good deal of the helmet.

The shell is maker marked with a stamping on the underside of the rim that reads ZE 35. 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 and chin strap are present, and in very good condition, especially considering the age. This is probably one of the best liners we have seen recently. The leather is supple, and the oil cloth is well retained. The chin strap does have some cracking, expected on a 100 year old helmet. It still has the felt top pad, though the original label is mostly worn away.

The best feature of this helmet is definitely the painted markings on the helmet shell itself. The front has U.S. in a shield, and around the rim is 72. CA. C. BTRY - B -. This would indicate service with the United States Army Coast Artillery Corps. There is unfortunately not much information on their organizational structure, but we assume this helmet was issued to the 72nd Coastal Artillery Company, Battery B. The markings are painted on with a blue gray paint, possibly the color they were painting the guns.

A great example of an authentic WWI "Doughboy" helmet from WWI, ready to research and display! 

The U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps (CAC) was an administrative corps responsible for coastal, harbor, and anti-aircraft defense of the United States and its possessions between 1901 and 1950. The CAC also operated heavy and railway artillery during World War I.

As with the rest of the US Armed Forces, the Coast Artillery was undermanned and poorly equipped except for coastal artillery weapons when war broke out in Europe in 1914. The War Department formed a Board of Review that recommended an increase in strength, which resulted in 105 new CA companies in 1916-17, although these were initially undermanned. After the American entry into World War I, the Coast Artillery as a whole was ordered brought up to strength, and 71 new companies were organized by July 1917.

The Coast Artillery was designated to provide all US-manned heavy artillery (155 mm gun and larger), railway artillery, and later anti-aircraft artillery units. As with most US Army World War I equipment, these units were primarily equipped with French- and British-made weapons, with few American-made heavy weapons arriving in France before the Armistice. As with other American World War I units, the CAC units operated alongside French forces for the most part. The CAC units sent to France and Britain with the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) were organized into a total of 11 brigades comprising 33 regiments of 24 guns each, plus a replacement regiment, nine trench mortar battalions and thirteen anti-aircraft battalions (a.k.a. sectors). Many Coast Artillery companies were withdrawn from stateside coast defenses to provide cadre for the new artillery regiments.

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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