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Original U.S. WWI M1917 Refurbished Doughboy Helmet of the 78th "Lightning" Division

Regular price $265.00

Item Description

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 fine example has been restored with new paint by a master helmet restoration expert. It is a fantastic camouflage design featuring the insignia of the 78th Division, the lightning bolt across a red semicircle, for the "Lightning Division".

Helmet is missing almost all of the liner, with just the wool top pad and underlying rubber ring intact. The chinstrap is completely missing, and one of the bales is missing as well. The bases for the bales are held on by split pin rivets, like all British WWI Helmets. The shell is maker marked with the stamping on the underside of the rim F / S, which signifies maker Thomas Firth & Sons Ltd of Sheffield, who produced helmet shells from1916 to 1918. This helmet is a a British manufactured shell, as the first 400,000 helmets issued to GIs were supplied by the UK. 

This is a very nice example of a genuine USGI Great War helmet from a legendary Division of the US army.

History of the 78th "Lightning" Division

The 78th Infantry Division of the United States Army was activated on 23 August 1917 at Camp Dix, New Jersey. It consisted of four infantry regiments : the 309th, 310th, 311th and 312th and three artillery Regiments : the 307th, 308th and 309th.

The division was originally allocated to New York and northern Pennsylvania in the National Army plan. Whilst the HQ of the 78th Division was activated in August, with the first draftees arriving in September, it was not fully active until early 1918. It was transported to France in May and June 1918.

In France, during the summer and fall of 1918, it was the "point of the wedge" of the final offensive which knocked out Germany. The 78th was in three major campaigns during World War I - Meuse-Argonne, St. Mihiel, and Lorraine. Demobilization at the end of the war took place in June 1919.

HQ, 78th Division was returned to the Organized Reserve List, and reallocated to the Second US Corps in Spring of 1921, with its area of allocation changed to New Jersey and Delaware.

Activated: 27 August 1917.

Overseas: May 1918.

Major Operations: Meuse-Argonne, St. Mihiel.

Roll of Honor: two Medal of Honor recipients

Casualties: Total-7,144 (KIA-1,169; WIA-5,975).

Commanders: Maj. Gen. C. W. Kennedy (23 August 1917), Brig. Gen. J. S. Mallory (28 November 1917), Brig. Gen. James T. Dean (28 December 1917), Maj. Gen. Hugh L. Scott (2 January 1918), Brig. Gen. James T. Dean (16 March 1918), Maj. Gen. J. H. McRae (20 April 1918).

Inactivated: June 1919.

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