Original U.S. WWII 1944 M1 McCord Swivel Bale Helmet with First Pattern USMC HBT Camouflage Cover and Westinghouse Liner

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a genuine WWII helmet Issued to the world's finest fighting force, the U.S. Marine Corps complete with a very rare First Pattern HBT Reversible Camouflage cover. While it is not marked with an EGA, these were only issued to Marines during WWII, and were all made of Herringbone Twill fabric, unlike later versions. It is a "1st Pattern" due to the lack of securing holes for foliage that the later WWII patterns had. This is a beautiful example of a genuine service worn M1 helmet!

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 1048 E, indicating approximate manufacture during August - September 1944, shortly before the move to a rear seam.

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 McCord, the primary contractor.

This M1 shell has correct mid-late war swivel chinstrap loops, called "bales," and a stainless steel rim with a front seam. 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". Then in October 1944, the rims were changed to non magnetic manganese steel, due to issues with the paint wearing off the rim. Shortly after this in November 1944 the specification was changed to have the rim seam in the rear of the helmet.

This helmet is a fine example and still retains all of its original WWII parts. The original "corked grain" can still be seen on the exterior, with no sign of repainting that we can see. It has the correct swivel bails and a front seam stainless steel rim, which is missing paint, as is typical, even when protected by a cover. The chin strap is the correct mid war OD Green #3, and interestingly has an early war cast brass buckle, most likely a leftover used during original manufacture. The shell is covered with a very lovely service-worn reversible USMC camouflage helmet cover, in the standard HBT weave used during WWII.

The USMC camouflage helmet cover was made from the same 8.5 once herringbone twill material as the standard Army and Navy work uniforms. It was fully reversible with a green side for areas with lush vegetation and a brown side that could be used on beaches or other sun-baked areas. The USMC helmet cover was the most widely used and long-lived camouflage uniform item developed during WWII. It was produced into the early 1950's and used by the Marines into the 1960's.

The liner is correct "high pressure" WWII issue and embossed with a W under mold number 12 D, for manufacture by the the Westinghouse Electric Co of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These "high pressure" manufactured M-1 helmet liner are identified by an embossed "W" in the crown (which is still Westinghouse's logo to this day). Westinghouse was the largest M-1 helmet liner producer and had two production divisions; Micarta and Bryant Electric. The Micarta Division produced about 13,000,000 M-1 helmet liners and the Bryant Electric Division about 10,000,000. Westinghouse Electric Company started M-1 helmet liner delivery in May 1942, and discontinued production around August 17, 1945 when the war ended.

This true US WWII M-1 helmet liner can be identified through the frontal eyelet hole. Other correct WW2 features include cotton herringbone twill (HBT) cloth suspension dated 1943. 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 original string. This way the wearer could adjust the fit. The liner still has the original sweatband, which is in great shape, showing only light wear. The rest of the rigging shows light wear as well, though unfortunately the leather liner chin strap has snapped in half.

This is an incredible example of an M1 helmet worn by a United States Marine during WWII. Comes more than ready to display! Semper Fi Marines.

Marines During WW2
In World War II, the Marines performed a central role in the Pacific War, along with the U.S. Army. The battles of Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Tarawa, Guam, Tinian, Cape Gloucester, Saipan, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa saw fierce fighting between Marines and the Imperial Japanese Army. Some 600,000 Americans served in the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II.

The Battle of Iwo Jima, which began on 19 February 1945, was arguably the most famous Marine engagement of the war. The Japanese had learned from their defeats in the Marianas Campaign and prepared many fortified positions on the island including pillboxes and a network of tunnels. The Japanese put up fierce resistance, but American forces reached the summit of Mount Suribachi on 23 February. The mission was accomplished with high losses of 26,000 American casualties and 22,000 Japanese.

The Marines played a comparatively minor role in the European theater. Nonetheless, they did continue to provide security detachments to U.S. embassies and ships, contributed personnel to small special ops teams dropped into NSDAP-occupied Europe as part of Office of Strategic Services (OSS, the precursor to the CIA) missions, and acted as staff planners and trainers for U.S. Army amphibious operations, including the Normandy landings. By the end of the war, the Corps had expanded from two brigades to six divisions, five air wings, and supporting troops, totaling about 485,000 Marines. In addition, 20 defense battalions and a parachute battalion were raised. Nearly 87,000 Marines were casualties during World War II (including nearly 20,000 killed), and 82 were awarded the Medal of Honor.

In 1942, the Navy Seabees were created with the Marine Corps providing their organization and military training. Many Seabee units were issued the USMC standard issue and were re-designated "Marine". Despite the Corps giving them their military organization, military training, issuing them uniforms and redesignating their units, the Seabees remained Navy. USMC historian Gordon L. Rottmann writes that one of the "Navy's biggest contributions to the Marine Corps during WWII was the creation of the Seabees."

Despite Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal's prediction that the Marine flag raising at Iwo Jima meant "a Marine Corps for the next five hundred years", the Corps faced an immediate institutional crisis following the war because of a suddenly shrunken budget. Army generals pushing for a strengthened and reorganized defense establishment attempted to fold the Marine mission and assets into the Navy and Army. Drawing on hastily assembled Congressional support, and with the assistance of the so-called "Revolt of the Admirals", the Marine Corps rebuffed such efforts to dismantle the Corps, resulting in statutory protection of the Marine Corps in the National Security Act of 1947. Shortly afterward, in 1952 the Douglas–Mansfield Act afforded the commandant an equal voice with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on matters relating to the Marines and established the structure of three active divisions and air wings that remain today.

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