Original U.S. WWII & Korean War 1st Cavalry Division M1 McCord Rear Seam Helmet with Westinghouse Liner
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a genuine late WWII Issue U.S. Army M1 Helmet, which like many was then reissued for use during later conflicts. It still has an original WWII issue liner by Westinghouse, and was repainted with the lighter color OD Green used during the Korean War. The right side of the helmet has a blue shield, while the left has the yellow shield insignia of the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division.
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 1171A, which indicates the approximate manufacture date of February - March 1945, shortly before V-E day. It is possible that this helmet never saw WWII service before being put into storage, and then was only finally issued for the Korean War.
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 the main contractor McCord Radiator and Manufacturing Company of Detroit.
The early M-1 helmet shells had a set of fixed (static) chinstrap loops called "bales" and a stainless steel rim. 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" that this helmet has. In 1944, to deal with paint wearing off the very shiny stainless steel rim, the material was changed to manganese steel in October, and then the seam moved to the rear in November.
This helmet is a fine example and still retains many of its original WWII parts. It has been repainted, which removed the original "corked" grain paint, but it still has the correct rear seam and swivel bails. The chin strap is the correct WWII OD Green with blacked brass stamped hardware, now worn. Both the shell and chin strap show service wear. The interior of the helmet has a multitude of markings, most of which look to be names, so this helmet has seen quite a bit of service.
The liner is correct "high pressure" WWII issue and embossed with a W under mold number 28, 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 OD Green #3 cotton herringbone twill (HBT) cloth suspension liner, with the webbing in 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 still present, though it is cracked and shows wear from service. The HBT rigging shows overall wear, and the liner itself was painted black on the exterior at one point. The liner chin strap is present, but looks to be a Korean War issue replacement.
A very nice genuine late WWII issue helmet shell, reissued for use during the Korean war with the 1st Cavalry Division. Ready to add to your collection and display!
The U.S. Army First Cavalry Division in Korea:
In the summer of 1950, North Korea attacked South Korea, and the 1st Cavalry Division was rushed to Korea to help shore up the Pusan Perimeter. After the X Corps attack at Incheon, a breakout operation was launched at the Pusan Perimeter. The division then joined the UN counteroffensive that recaptured most of South Korea by the end of September. The UN offensive was continued northwards, past Seoul, and across the 38th Parallel into North Korea on 1 October. The momentum of the attack was maintained, and the race to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, ended on 19 October when elements of the division and the Republic of Korea Army (ROK) 1st Infantry Division captured the city. The advance continued, but against unexpectedly stiffening resistance. The Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA) entered the war on the side of North Korea, making their first attacks in late October.
On 28 October 1950, Eighth Army commander General Walton Walker relieved the 1st Cavalry Division of its security mission in Pyongyang. The division's new orders were to pass through the ROK 1st Division's lines at Unsan and attack toward the Yalu River. Leading the way on the twenty-ninth, the 8th Cavalry regiment departed Pyongyang and reached Yongsan-dong that evening. The 5th Cavalry Regiment arrived the next morning, with the mission to protect the 8th Cavalry regiment's rear. With the arrival of the 8th Cavalry Regiment at Unsan on the 31st, the ROK 1st Division redeployed to positions northeast, east, and southeast of Unsan; the 8th Cavalry took up positions north, west, and south of the town. Meanwhile, the ROK 15th Regiment was desperately trying to hold its position east of the 8th Cavalry, across the Samt'an River.
During the afternoon of 1 November, the PVA attack north of Unsan gained strength against the ROK 15th Regiment and gradually extended to the right flank of the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry. At nightfall, the 1st Battalion controlled the northern approaches to the Samt'an River, except for portions of the ROK 15th Regiment's zone on the east side. The battalion's position on the left was weak; there were not enough soldiers to extend the defensive line to the main ridge leading into Unsan. This left a gap between the 1st and 2nd Battalions. East of the Samt'an the ROK 15th Regiment was under heavy attack, and shortly after midnight it no longer existed as a combat force. At 19:30 on 1 November, the PVA 116th Division attacked the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, all along its line. At 21:00 PVA troops found the weak link in the ridgeline and began moving through it and down the ridge behind the 2nd Battalion, penetrating its right flank and encircling its left. Now both the 1st and 2nd Battalions were engaged by the enemy on several sides. Around midnight, the 8th Cavalry received orders to withdraw southward to Ipsok.
At 01:30 on 2 November, no PVA activity was reported in the 3rd Battalion's sector south of Unsan. But as the 8th Cavalry withdrew, all three battalions became trapped by roadblocks made by the PVA 347th Regiment, 116th Division south of Unsan during the early morning hours. Members of the 1st Battalion who were able to escape reached the Ipsok area. A head count showed the battalion had lost about 15 officers and 250 enlisted men. Members of the 2nd Battalion, for the most part, scattered into the hills. Many of them reached the ROK lines near Ipsok. Others met up with the 3rd Battalion, the hardest hit. Around 03:00 the PVA launched a surprise attack on the battalion command post. Hand-to-hand fighting ensued for about half an hour before the PVA were driven from the area. The disorganized members of the 3rd Battalion formed a core of resistance around three tanks on the valley floor and held off the PVA until daylight. By that time, only six officers and 200 enlisted men were still able to function. More than 170 were wounded, and the number dead or missing were uncounted. Attempts by the 5th Cavalry to relieve the beleaguered battalion were unsuccessful, and the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, soon ceased to exist as an organized force.
Following the battle, there were disparaging rumors about the 1st Cavalry Division's fighting abilities, including a folk song of the time called "The Bug-Out Ballad". The series of engagements were rumored to have given rise to the song were due (at least partly) to the myth that the division lost its unit colors. Other Army and Marine units disparagingly described the division shoulder insignia as representing 'The horse they never rode, the river they never crossed, and the yellow speaks for itself'. Another version goes: "The shield they never carried, the horse they never rode, the bridge they never crossed, the line they never held, and the yellow is the reason why."
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