Original U.S. WWII Fifth Army MP Helmet - Schlueter Rear Seam with Westinghouse Liner
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a genuine late war U.S. 5th Army Military Police helmet. It features the 5th Army insignia painted on the front along with MP and the a classic WWII military police stripe. which has faded to yellow. This helmet is an incredible example and still retains all of its original WWII parts including the shell, liner, webbing and both chin straps.
In World War II the production of the M1 helmet began in June 1941 and ceased in September 1945. 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. Although McCord was supposed to be the single source of M-1 helmet shells, by the summer of 1942 a second company was enlisted to help the production effort. This was Schlueter Manufacturing of St. Louis, Missouri.
Schlueter began production of its M-1 helmet shells in January 1943. Schlueter produced only 2,000,000 M-1 helmet shells during the war (both fixed and swivel). They placed an "S" stamp on their helmet shells below their "heat temperature stamp". Aside from the markings, there are some subtle differences between a McCord and Schlueter M-1 helmet shell. This can be found on the rims. A Schlueter helmet shell has a much straighter profile than the classic McCord brim. Also the weld marks for the fixed bales and rim are small and round on a Schlueter, while they are oval and wide for a McCord.
This nice late war production helmet is a fine example and still retains all of its original WWII parts, with wear from service. The steel shell is heat lot stamped 488A / S, indicating Schlueter manufacture and dating production to early 1945 (199A was December 1943), after the rear seam and manganese rim were introduced. The small round welds on the front seam are also definitive for a Schlueter helmet.
In 1944, due to issues with paint flaking off the bright stainless steel, a "rear seam" design was implemented, using non-magnetic manganese steel, which retained the paint and was not shiny. This helmet has the correct late war rear seam manganese rim and swivel bales. The shell chinstrap is present and intact, but shows significant wear from use. It looks to be a mid war leftover installation, with OD Green #3 canvas and stamped steel buckles.
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. Westinghouse did have a contract to produce airborne liners and converted an unknown amount to airborne configuration. Westinghouse discontinued production around August 17, 1945 when the war ended.
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, with a bit of rust staining from the fittings. 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 in good condition, but is a late or post war replacement, with the darker OD Green #4 canvas. There is a bit of oxidation and light rust around many of the snaps and fittings. The leather liner chin strap is present, and in very good condition.
These helmets have become increasingly difficult to find in recent years, especially genuine WWII issue Military Police helmets. Almost certainly to appreciate in value year after year.
The U.S. Fifth Army in WWII
The United States Fifth Army was one of the principal formations of the U.S. Army in the Mediterranean during World War II, and was the first American field army ever to be activated outside of the United States. It was officially activated on 5 January 1943 at Oujda, French Morocco and made responsible for the defense of Algeria and Morocco. It was also given the responsibility for planning the American part of the invasion of mainland Italy, and therefore was not involved in the Allied invasion of Sicily (codenamed Operation Husky), where it was instead assigned the role of training combat troops destined for Sicily. The United States Fifth Army was initially commanded by Lieutenant General Mark Wayne Clark, who would lead the Fifth Army for nearly two years, and was to experience some of the toughest fighting of World War II, where it was engaged on the Italian Front, which was, in many ways, often more reminiscent of the trench warfare of the Western Front in World War I. Writing to Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers (American deputy to Field Marshal Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, Mediterranean Theater commander) in late March 1944, Clark explained the difficulties of the fighting in Italy so far, which could be said of the whole campaign. They were, he claimed, "Terrain, weather, carefully prepared defensive positions in the mountains, determined and well-trained enemy troops, grossly inadequate means at our disposal while on the offensive, with approximately equal forces to the defender."
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