Original U.S. WWII 5th Ranger Battatlion Marked M1 Helmet Liner by Westinghouse with Rayon Suspension

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a genuine WWII "High Pressure" helmet liner by Westinghouse, which has a rare early issue 2nd pattern Rayon Suspension. Even better, the rear exterior of the liner bears the painted insignia of the U.S. Army 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion, a legendary unit that saw service in the European Theater of WWII. The 5th Rangers participated in the D-Day invasion of France on June 6th, 1944. We have examined the paint on the liner and the logo very closely, and we believe it to be genuine WWII paint. The unit ceased to exist at the outset of WWII, so there is no other unit that used the logo.

The liner is correct "high pressure" WWII issue and stamped with a W for the Westinghouse Electric Co Manufactured in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this "high pressure" manufactured M-1 helmet liner is 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 early issue Rayon cloth suspension liner, with the webbing in very good shape. This suspension is held tightly within the M-1 helmet liner by rivets and a series of triangular "A" washers, different from the earliest rectangular washers used with the first rayon suspensions. The three upper suspension bands are joined together with the correct string. This way the wearer could adjust the fit. The sweatband is present, showing light wear and age. It has an OD Green #3 cotton backing, and is marked with correct WWII Quartermaster stamps on the back. The original leather liner chin strap is missing, as they almost always are. The sweatband is marked with number 9056, which is also on the rayon suspension.

The 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion was a Ranger battalion activated during World War II on 1 September 1943 at Camp Forrest, Tennessee. By this time, while in maneuvers on the United States, they were commanded by the Major Owen Carter. Later, when they moved to England, they were commanded by Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Max Schneider, former executive officer of the 4th Ranger Battalion, who led the 5th Rangers as part of the provisional Ranger Assault Force commanded by Colonel James Earl Rudder.

The 5th Ranger Battalion was activated on 1 September 1943 at Camp Forrest, Tennessee. During the Battle of Normandy, the battalion landed on Omaha Beach along with companies A, B and C of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, where elements of the 116th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division were pinned down by murderous machine gun fire and mortars from the heights above. It was there that the situation was so critical that General Omar Bradley was seriously considering abandoning the beachhead, instead of sending more men to die. And it was then and there that General Norman Cota, Assistant Division Commander of the 29th Infantry Division, gave the now famous order that has become the motto of the 75th Ranger Regiment: "Rangers, Lead The Way!"

The 5th Battalion Rangers broke across the seawall and barbed wire entanglements, and up the pillbox-rimmed heights under intense enemy machine gun and mortar fire and with A and B Companies of the 2nd Battalion and some elements of the 116th Infantry Regiment, advanced four miles (6 km) to the key town of Vierville-sur-Mer, thus opening the breach for supporting troops to follow up and expand the beachhead. Meanwhile, C Company of the 2nd Battalion, due to rough seas, landed west of the Vierville draw and suffered 50 percent casualties during the landing, but still scaled a 90-foot (27 m) cliff using ropes and bayonets to knock out a formidable enemy position that was sweeping the beach with deadly fire.

The 5th Battalion with elements of the 116th Regiment finally linked up with the beleaguered 2nd Battalion on D+3, although Lieutenant Charles Parker of A Company, 5th Battalion, had penetrated deep behind enemy lines on D-Day and reached the 2nd Battalion with 20 prisoners. Later, with the 2nd Battalion the unit distinguished itself in the hard-fought Battle for Brest. Under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Richard Sullivan, the 5th Ranger Battalion took part in the Battle of the Bulge, Battle of Huertgen Forest and other tough battles throughout central Europe, earning two Distinguished Unit Citations and the French Croix de Guerre.

The outfit was deactivated 22 October 1945 at Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts.

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