Original U.S. WWII M1 Schlueter Front Seam Swivel Bale Helmet Reissued for Vietnam Paratroopers
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of WWII M1 Helmet Shell produced by Schlueter, in very nice condition. The M1 Helmet was the standard helmet of the U.S. Military from WWII up through the Vietnam war, until replaced by the PASGT helmet in 1985. The helmet shell design did not change, and refitting was relatively easy, so helmets from WWII and the Korea War were often reissued for the Vietnam war, as this one has been. It was fitted with a new Paratrooper Liner and Chin strap, as well as a USMC Reversible Camouflage cover. A great example of a WWII helmet that saw service decades after the war!
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 above 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 mid war production helmet is a fine example and still retains all of its original WWII parts and paint, with some light wear from service. The steel shell is heat lot stamped 242A over S, dating manufacture to mid 1944 (199A was December 1943), after the swivel bales were introduced, but before the rear seam. It has the correct small circular welds that a Schlueter helmet should have, and the large "S" is definitive.
This M-1 helmet shell has an stainless steel rim with seam in the front. Stainless steel 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 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 features the correct front seam rim and mid war production swivel bales.
From what we can see, the shell still retains its correct color textured paint, and was not repainted when a new liner was fitted. With the camouflage cover, repainting also would have been somewhat redundant. The paint is retained well, with some flaking on the stainless steel rim, as well as light oxidation in areas.
The liner is correct high pressure Vietnam War issue liner, marked simply with the stylized F logo for Firestone Tire & Rubber Company manufacture. The liner is a correct paratrooper liner, and looks to have been set up like that from the factory. It features a simplified rigging without any lacing in the center. This allowed for a much sturdier design, though it was not as adjustable. The sweatband is in good condition, with light wear wear, just the usual color change from age. It has correct paratrooper chin strap mounting straps and rear support, though the buckle has broken off the left side, so the chin support is only attached on one side. The shell has the correct standard chin strap, with additional extensions to snap onto the liner.
The included USMC reversible camouflage cover is in excellent condition, complete with the elastic securing band, and overall this helmet does not seem to have been used much when it was reissued for the Vietnam War. There is minimal wear, with just light rust staining from the inside of the helmet. One of the tabs on the bottom of the cover is marked:
COVER, HELMET, CAMOUFLAGE
CONTRACT No. OSA100 70 C 0822
Schlueter helmets have become extremely difficult to find in recent years, especially genuine front seam example. This is a Paratrooper helmet with loads of history, ready to add to your U.S. Militaria collection!
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