Original U.S. WWII 1943 M1 McCord Swivel Bale Helmet with Manhattan Project Connection & 22 Victory Letters

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a genuine late WWII Issue U.S. Army M1 Helmet, with a very nice late 1940s issue liner. The helmet comes with some great provenance, as well as TWENTY TWO letters received through "Victory Mail". The letter we received with this helmet from a past seller reads as follows:

I got this M1 from a local woman in 2018. I was told it belonged to her brother, James D. McKenzie. She said he served from mid-WWII (I think around 1943) to the late 40's. She said he helped with the Manhattan project and later returned to the Tularosa Basin after the ware and did some some sort of work with the Atomic program here in New Mexico. Unfortunately I have no more information other than what she told me. Included are 22 "Victory Letters". It's assorted correspondence with friends and family. 

The various letters have postmarks ranging from 1943 to 1945, and most seem to be addressed to members of the Wilcox family. We have not tried to read through the letters, and leave this as a very nice research opportunity. The letter we have from 1945 indicates that James D. McKenzie still held the rank of Private at the time.

The U.S. WWII M-1 helmet was only produced from 1941 to 1945. The first production batch resulted with over 323,510 M-1 helmets before the start of the American involvement in the war. This helmet is heat-lot stamped 708A, which indicates the approximate manufacture date of November 1943. This was right after the switch from the fixed bales to the swivel bales.

The Ordnance Department selected McCord Radiator and Manufacturing Company of Detroit Michigan to produce the steel M1 helmet bodies. These bodies were made from a single piece of Hadfield Manganese steel that was produced by the Carnegie-Illinois & Sharon Steel Corporations. Each completed raw M-1 helmet shell weighed 2.25 lbs each. The total production of M-1 helmet shells during the war reached 22,000,000. Of these about 20,000,000 were produced by the main contractor McCord Radiator and Manufacturing Company of Detroit.

The early M-1 helmet shells had a set of fixed (static) chinstrap loops called "bales" and a stainless steel rim. These rims were both rust resistant and had "non-magnetic qualities" that reduced the chance of error readings when placed around certain sensitive equipment (such as a compass). In October 1943, issues with the fixed bales breaking off resulted in a change to the "swivel bales" that this helmet has.

This helmet is a fine example and still retains all of its original WWII parts and the shell has all original "corked" grain paint, though it was overpainted a darker on the exterior, probably due to wear, during the post war years. It features a correct front seam and swivel bails. The chin strap is the correct later war OD Green #7 with stamped steel hardware.

The helmet comes complete with high pressure WWII issue and stamped with the CAPAC Manufacturing Company logo with frontal eyelet. Manufactured in Capac, Michigan this high pressure manufactured M-1 helmet liner is identified by an embossed cross with the words Capac in the crown. Capac Manufacturing Company started M-1 helmet liner delivery to the US Army in September 1942. They produced approximately between 2,000,000 - 4,000,000 M-1 helmet liners and discontinued production around August 17 1945 when the war ended. They then started up production again in the late 1940s, and in this case used cotton "duck" canvas supplied by the Micarta Division of Westinghouse, which is why the W logo appears above the CAPAC logo. The numbers 5 and 1 are on either side of the Capac logo, indicating manufacture year of 1951.

This Korean War ear liner can also be identified by the frontal rank insignia eyelet hole, only used during the WWII and immediate post ware years. Other correct features include cotton OD Green #7 herringbone twill (HBT) cloth suspension liner, with the webbing in very good shape. This HBT suspension is held tightly within the M-1 helmet liner by rivets and a series of triangular "A" washers. The three upper suspension bands are joined together with the correct OD green string. This way the wearer could adjust the fit.  The sweatband is complete and in good condition, with wear and age-related deterioration. The liner chin strap is unfortunately missing

An excellent genuine WWII issue helmet, which saw use into the post war era, with a replaced liner and some excellent provenance. A great chance to pick up a typical U.S. helmet, with loads of research potential!

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