Original U.S. WWI M1917 Army I Corps Doughboy Helmet with Panel Camouflage Paint
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a fantastic genuine Great War hand painted camouflage helmet shell, with remnants of the original liner. The helmet features textured original period colored panel camouflage paint in various colors, including red, green, blue, gray, and brown. There is also an insignia on the front, with a dark blue or black square and white ring inside it. This would appear to be from the U.S. Army I Corps, one of the top level formation that made up the U.S. 1st Army.
The paint is a bit worn, and definitely shows use, but it has a great look and the colors are still easily discernible, with a lovely patina. The interior of the helmet has original paint, however there is corrosion near the felt top pad, which can draw moisture to the shell. The pad itself has moth damage, and is somewhat discolored. Aside from that only part of the top leather securing strap is still present from the liner and chinstrap.
The underside of the rim is stamped ZC 34, indicating that the shell is a U.S. manufactured shell, and not British. The solid rivet attaching the chin-strap bale further confirm this.
A wonderful totally original helmet with genuine original paint and a unit insignia! Ready to display!
History of the U.S. Army I Corps in WWI
Following the American declaration of war on Germany, on 6 April 1917, I Corps was organized and activated on 15–20 January 1918, in the National Army in Neufchâteau, France, the first of several corps-sized formations intended to command divisions of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War I. Assisted by the French XXXII Corps, the headquarters was organized and trained; on 20 January, Major General Hunter Liggett took command.
In February, the corps consisted of the 1st, 2nd, 26th, 32nd, 41st, and 42nd Infantry Divisions. From February to July, 1918, the German Army launched four major offensives, attempting to secure victory before the full American forces could be mobilized. The final offensive, started in July 1918, was an attempt to cross the Marne, in the area of Château-Thierry, but I Corps and other formations on the American lines held, and the attack was rebuffed.
With the defeat of these German drives, I Corps conducted its first offensive mission, participating in the Second Battle of the Marne from 18 July until 6 August, which resulted in the reduction of the more important salients driven into Allied lines by the German offensives. After a brief period in the defensive sectors of Champagne and Lorraine between 7 August and 11 September, the corps took part in the St. Mihiel attack on 12 September, which reduced the German salient there during the next four days. Then followed another period on the defense in Lorraine as preparations advanced for what was to be the final Allied offensive of the war. On 26 September, I Corps troops began the attack northward that opened the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. From that day until 11 November 1918 when the war ended, I Corps was constantly moving forward.
The I Corps shoulder sleeve insignia was first worn by members of I Corps after approval from the AEF on 3 December 1918, but it was not officially approved until 1922. I Corps continued to train in France, until it was demobilized on 25 March 1919.
During its time in World War I, I Corps commanded the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 26th, 28th, 32nd, 35th, 36th, 41st, 43rd, 77th, 78th, 80th, 82nd, 90th, 91st, 92nd Infantry Divisions at one point or another. Also assigned to the corps were the French 62nd, 167th and 5th Cavalry Divisions.
More on the M1917 "Doughboy" 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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