Original U.S. WWII 3rd Armored Division Staff Sergeant Tanker Set- Jacket, M38 Helmet, Polaroid Goggles

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Starring Brad Pitt, the movie Fury depicts a WW2 tank crew stationed in Germany during the closing days of the war. The movie is bringing renewed attention to tank warfare and the equipment employed during battle. Pitt plays a Staff Sergeant Don 'Wardaddy' Collier in the 2nd Armored Division.

This set was acquired from a veteran's family and is genuine WWII issue. This solider was a Staff Sargent in famous 3rd Armored Division. The grouping is comprised of the following pieces:

WW2, U.S. Army, Combat Field Jacket or Tanker Jacket. This hard wearing and warm jacket was the perfect replacement for the in service M1938 and M1941 jackets. When worn with it's matching bibbed trousers it became the combat uniform of choice for the Armored Forces and was much in demand by all other Ground Forces, even AAF pilots were seen wearing this jacket!

This jacket is in good condition, the "gold" hued color is still strong while the cuffs, collar and waist band display moth damage but are sturdy and totally wearable. The jacket shell and liner are in very good condition with little wear, damage only only a few small repairs. The pocket openings show no wear and the blanket lining is extremely clean. No tags are present, the size appears to be a 42". Armpit to armpit measures 21 inches, armpit to cuff (not the band) measures 18 inches. All insignia are original to this jacket

Also included is a very nice genuine WW2 example of the classic M38 tanker helmet used by American tank crews in world war two. The helmet is marked as follows:


7 3/8





Also included is a classic set of WW2 Polaroid M-1944 goggles with yellow tint lens.

Development & Design of the WWII Tanker Helmet M-1938-

Two basic tanker helmet designs had been in use through the mid 1930's. One of these had been developed by the Infantry, and the other one by the Cavalry. The basic purpose of both helmets in tank applications was to offer the tanker some protection from frequent bumps against the tank's interior. However, it was becoming increasingly apparent that neither of these helmets offered optimal protection as tanks were becoming faster, more agile, and more compact. In addition, the continued use of two different helmets added unnecessary cost and complexity within the Army supply chain.

In 1938, the Ordnance Board initiated design work that would set a single standard for a new and improved tank helmet. The Board tested the two existing military varieties, along with several commercial models. Based on their tests, the Ordnance Board decided that the Cavalry helmet provided the best design foundation, and successfully encouraged the Rawlings Manufacturing Company to optimize the design. Rawlings was an obvious choice, since they were the premier manufacturer of football helmets at that time.

A three-person design team at Rawlings headed up this project, and on 1 May 1941 they filed a patent for what was simply called a "Tank Helmet." Much later, this style of tank helmet was designated "M-1938" in reference to the year of the initiation of the project. This alpha-numeric designator does not commonly appear in wartime documentation.

As stated in the patent application, the primary design objectives of the Tank Helmet were to provide:

- An efficient, light-weight protective helmet that is comfortable, snug-fitting, and well ventilated.

- A protective helmet that can be removed and installed quickly and without the necessity of manipulating or adjusting a chin strap, or equivalent device.

- A helmet that is equipped with a means of novel construction for holding ear phones in proper position and in comfortable relationship with the user's ears.

Note that ballistic protection was not part of the original design criteria, apparently because it was felt that this would slow the availability of a helmet that at least offered enhanced bump protection.

As expected, the new Rawlings helmet resembled a football helmet in its design and construction. The outer crown and rear neck guard shells were constructed of a durable fiber resin, similar to the earlier tank helmets. The interior of the helmet featured a suspension system consisting of felt pads, leather pad retainers, and waxed cotton cords. This suspension system held the helmet in proper position on the wearer's head and absorbed much of the shock when a bump was encountered.

The most distinctive new feature of the M-1938 tanker helmet relative to the previous versions was the leather ear flap assembly. The ear flap extended well below the wearers ear and contained an ingenious flexible housing for retaining the ear phones in their proper position. The ear phones fit into a slot in the leather flap, and a thin leather fastening piece snapped over the ear phone to hold it in place. This leather fastening piece could be adjusted forward or backward via three metal snap fasteners to position the ear phone directly over the user’s ears. A curved leather-covered metal spring arm extended downward from the helmets fiber shell and exerted tension on the ear phone to hold the ear flap assembly snugly against the user’s ear. The spring arm was mounted on a swivel to allow it to be placed in a variety of positions, depending upon the user’s needs and accessory equipment.

The ear flaps were also secured in place on the lower edges by an elasticized strap that connected through the rear fiber neck guard to fasteners at the bottom of each ear flap. The ear flaps fit snugly but comfortably, and without the use of chin straps, the helmet could be put on or taken off very easily.

M-1938 tank helmets were introduced to the Armored Corps in 1941, even though the patent was not technically accepted until 12 May 1942. Manufacturing rights were granted to Rawlings Manufacturing Corporation, Sears Saddlery Company, Wilson Athletic Goods Manufacturing Company, and A.G. Spaulding & Brothers. Though essentially built to the same specifications, there were slight variations across the four manufacturers in terms of small details.

Tank helmets were issued as part of a tank's onboard equipment, and were not issued to individual tankers. According to the 1942 War Department Technical Manual TM 9-731A, all M4 and M4A1 Sherman tanks came equipped with five helmets -- sizes 7, 7 1/8, 7 1/4, 7 3/8, and 7 1/2. The M5 Stuart Light Tank came equipped with four tank helmets for its four crew members, although the 1943 Technical Manual TM 9-732 does not specify the exact sizes that were supplied with each light tank.

History of the 3AD:

The 3rd Armored Division ("Spearhead") was an armored division of the United States Army. Unofficially nicknamed the "Third Herd", the division was first activated in 1941, and was active in the European Theater of World War II. The 3rd Armored Division was organized as a "heavy" armored division, as was its counterpart, the 2nd Armored Division ("Hell on Wheels"). Later, higher-numbered U.S. armored divisions of World War II were smaller, with a higher ratio of armored infantry to tanks, based on lessons of the fighting in North Africa.

As a "heavy" division, the 3rd Armored possessed two armored regiments totaling four medium tank battalions and two of light tanks (18 companies) instead of three tank battalions containing both (12 companies), 232 medium tanks instead of the 168 allotted a light armored division, and with attached units numbered over 16,000 men, instead of the normal 12,000 found in the light armored divisions. Each division type had an infantry component of three mechanized infantry battalions.

The division's core units were the 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, the 32nd Armored Regiment, the 33rd Armored Regiment, the 23rd Armored Engineer Battalion, the 83rd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, and the 143rd Armored Signal Company. During World War II, these were organized operationally into task forces known as combat commands A, B and R (Reserve), as in the light divisions.

In addition to the core units, a number of other units of various kinds were attached to the division during various operations.

The first elements of the 3rd Armored in France saw combat on 29 June, with the division as a whole beginning combat operations on 9 July 1944. During this time, it was under the command of VII Corps and XVIII Airborne Corps for some time, and assigned to the First Army and the 12th Army Group for the duration of its career.

The division "spearheaded" the US First Army through Normandy, taking part in a number of engagements, notably including the Battle of Saint Lô, where it suffered significant casualties. After facing heavy fighting in the hedgerows, and developing methods to overcome the vast thickets of brush and earth that constrained its mobility, the unit broke out at Marigny, alongside the 1st Infantry Division, and swung south to Mayenne. The engineers and maintenance crews took the large I-Beam Invasion barriers from the beaches at Normandy and used the beams to weld large crossing rams on the front of the Sherman tanks. They would then hit the hedgerows at high speed, bursting through them without exposing the vulnerable underbellies of the tanks. Until this happened, they could not get across the hedgerows.

Ordered to help close the Falaise Gap and Argentan pocket which contained the German Seventh Army, the division finished the job near Putanges by 18 August. Six days later the outfit had sped through Courville and Chartres and was located at the banks of the Seine River. On the night of 25 August 1944 the crossing of the Seine by the division started; once over, the 3rd slugged its way across France, reaching Belgium on 2 September 1944.

Liberated in the path of the division were Meaux, Soissons, Laon, Marle, Mons, Charleroi, Namur and Liege. It was at Mons that the division cut off 40,000 Wehrmacht troops and captured 8,000 prisoners. "Then the division began the first invasion of Germany since the days of Napoleon" is a claim often repeated and derives from 1947 U.S. Army literature that ignored earlier acts such as the 5th Armored Division's reconnaissance into Germany on 11 September 1944, French troops entering the Saarland in September 1939 during the Saar Offensive, and the entry into Germany by imperial Russian troops in 1914.

Hurtgen and the Bulge:

On 10 September 1944 the Spearhead Division fired what it claimed was the first American field artillery shell of the war onto German soil. Two days later it passed the German border and soon breached the Siegfried Line, taking part in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest.

The 3rd Armored Division continued fighting during the Battle of the Bulge, far north of the deepest German penetration. The Division fought south in an attack designed to help wipe out the bulge and bring First Army's line abreast of Patton’s Third Army fighting northward toward Houffalize. It severed a vital highway leading to St. Vith and later reached Lierneux, Belgium, where it halted to refit

Into the German heartland:

After a month of rest the division continued its offensive to the east, and on 26 February, Spearhead rolled back inside Germany as both Combat Commands bolted across the Roer River and seized several towns, crossed the Erft Canal, and at last broke through to the Rhine River to capture Cologne by 7 March. Two weeks later it crossed the Rhine south of Cologne at Honnef.

On 31 March, the commander of the division, Major General Maurice Rose, rounded a corner in his jeep and found himself face to face with a German tank. As he withdrew his pistol either to throw it to the ground or in an attempt to fight back, a young German tank commander, apparently misunderstanding Rose's intentions, shot the general.

Beyond Cologne the division swept up Paderborn in its advance, to shut the back door to the Ruhr Pocket. In April, the division crossed the Saale River, north of Halle, and sped on toward the Elbe River.

On 11 April 1945, the 3rd Armored discovered the Dora-Mittelbau prison camp. The division first arrived on the scene, reporting back to headquarters that it had uncovered a large prison camp near the town of Nordhausen. Requesting help from the 104th Infantry Division, the 3rd immediately began transporting some 250 ill and starving prisoners to nearby hospital facilities.

The last major fighting in the war for the division was the Battle of Dessau, which the division captured on 23 April 1945 after three days of combat. Following the action at Dessau, the division moved into corps reserve at Sangerhausen. Occupational duty near Langen was given the division following V-E Day, a role it filled until inactivation on 10 November 1945.

Combat statistics

The 3rd Armored Division had 231 days of combat in World War II, with a total of 2,540 killed, 7,331 wounded, 95 missing, and 139 captured. Total battle and non-battle casualties came to 16,122.

The 3rd Armored Division lost more tanks in combat than any other U.S. division. Combat Command A lost more tanks than any other unit in the 3rd Armored Division.

  • This product is available for international shipping.
  • Eligible for all payments - Visa, Mastercard, Discover, AMEX, Paypal & Sezzle


Cash For Collectibles