Original U.S. WWII 5th Infantry Division 1944 McCord Front Seam Swivel Bale M1 Helmet with Westinghouse Liner
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a genuine WWII Front-Seam Swivel Bale M1 Helmet made by McCord Radiator, with a correct WWII Westinghouse liner. The front of the liner bears the painted insignia of the 5th Infantry Division, called the "Red Diamond Division", or "Red Devils". There is also a white marking on top of this, which could be the single chevron marking of a Private.
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, however it is somewhat unclear, and could be 866 or 1066, both of which would were during 1944 before the move to manganese steel rims. Wartime production was in full swing when this helmet was produced.
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.
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 most of its original WWII parts. The original "corked grain" can still be seen on the exterior, however the shell definitely looks to have been repainted while in service. It has the correct swivel bails and a front seam stainless steel rim, which is missing paint, as is typical, even after it was repainted. The chin strap is the correct mid war OD Green #3, however it is broken off on one side, and looks to have been modified slightly.
The liner is correct "high pressure" WWII issue and embossed with a W under mold number 20 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.
This true US WWII M-1 helmet liner be identified through the frontal eyelet hole. Other correct WWII features include cotton OD Green #3 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 completely missing on this liner, however the original leather liner chinstrap is present, a real rarity.
An very nice genuine WWII issue helmet, marked to a famous infantry regiment, perfect for any collection! Ready to display!
The 5th Infantry Division during WWII:
On 16 October 1939 the 5th Division was reactivated as part of the United States mobilization in response to the outbreak of World War II in Europe in September 1939, being formed at Fort McClellan, Alabama, under the command of Brigadier General Campbell Hodges.
The following spring, in 1940, the division was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, and then temporarily to Louisiana for training exercises, before being transferred to Fort Benjamin Harrison at the end of May 1940. That December the division relocated to Fort Custer, Michigan, from where it participated in the Tennessee maneuvers. The division went next to Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Arkansas, in August 1941 for staging into both the Arkansas and Louisiana maneuvers before returning to Fort Custer that October. The division, under the command of Major General Cortlandt Parker from August, was stationed there when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and Germany declared war on the United States in December 1941, thus bringing the United States into the conflict. As the winter passed the division was brought up to strength and fully equipped for forward deployment into a war zone. During April 1942, the 5th Division received its overseas orders and departed the New York Port of Embarkation (NYPOE) at the end of the month for Iceland. The 5th Division debarked there in May 1942, where it replaced the British garrison on the island outpost along the Atlantic convoy routes, and a year later was reorganized and re-designated as the 5th Infantry Division on 24 May 1943.
The 5th Infantry Division, now commanded by Major General Stafford LeRoy Irwin, left Iceland in early August 1943 and was sent to England to prepare and train for the eventual invasion of Northwest Europe, then scheduled for the spring of 1944. Upon arrival in England the 5th Division was stationed at Tidworth Barracks, Wiltshire in South West England, before moving to Northern Ireland.
After two years of training the 5th ID landed in Normandy on Utah Beach, 9 July 1944, over a month after the initial D-Day landings, and four days later took up defensive positions in the vicinity of Caumont. Launching a successful attack at Vidouville 26 July, the division drove on southeast of Saint-Lô, attacked and captured Angers, 9–10 August, captured Chartres, (assisted by the 7th Armored Division), 18 August, pushed to Fontainebleau, crossed the Seine at Montereau, 24 August, crossed the Marne and seized Reims, 30 August, and positions east of Verdun. The division then prepared for the assault on Metz, 7 September. In mid-September a bridgehead was secured across the Moselle, south of Metz, at Dornot and Arnaville after two attempts. The first attempt at Dornot by the 11th Infantry Regiment failed. German-held Fort Driant played a role in repulsing this crossing. A second crossing by the 10th Infantry Regiment at Arnaville was successful. The division continued operations against Metz, 16 September to 16 October 1944, withdrew, then returned to the assault on 9 November. Metz finally fell 22 November. The division crossed the German border, 4 December, captured Lauterbach (a suburb of Völklingen) on the 5th, and elements reached the west bank of the river Saar, 6 December, before the division moved to assembly areas.
On 16 December the Germans launched their winter offensive in the Ardennes forest, the Battle of the Bulge, and on the 18th the 5th ID was thrown in against the southern flank of the Bulge, helping to reduce it by the end of January 1945. In February and March, the division drove across and northeast of the Sauer, where it smashed through the Siegfried Line and later took part in the Allied invasion of Germany.
Across the Rhine
The 5th ID crossed the river Rhine on the night of 22 March 1945. After capturing some 19,000 German soldiers, the division continued to Frankfurt-am-Main, clearing and policing the town and its environs, 27–29 March. In April the 5th ID, now commanded by Major General Albert E. Brown, after Major General Irwin's promotion to command of XII Corps, took part in clearing the Ruhr Pocket and then drove across the Czechoslovak border, 1 May, reaching Volary and Vimperk as the war in Europe ended.
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