Original U.S. WWII Named M1917A1 Complete Kelly Helmet with Textured Paint - Pvt. William Dokulil, Wounded During Operation Husky, Sicily August 1943
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a genuine, very nice WWII U.S. Army M1917A1 "Kelly" Helmet. The helmet is complete with the original liner, chin strap and the small leather skull pad that is often missing from these helmets is present. The shell has the original OD green paint mostly intact, including the textured "corked" exterior. This example was quite heavily coated with cork, which has now worn through in areas, giving it an attractive speckled appearance. The shell is stamped 22B in the steel under the brim and is still very visible. The brim of the helmet does not show the usual “waves” and warping.
The original leather liner is completely intact, with light wear from age and service. There is some dry rot and tearing around the edge as shown, though the liner does not show much sign of use, just age. The felt padding under the liner is still present, but has fallen out of place slightly, as it should be around the liner band. Both of the ties for the top pad are intact, but not the original top tie. The canvas chin strap is worn somewhat, but still solid.
There is a bit of staining, but no tears and the brass buckle and clip are correct and intact. A great original early WWII helmet with lots of history.
The helmet itself is named on both the liner and the underside of the skirt. It reads as WM DOKULIL 1008 for Private William Dokulil ASN: 36211008. Dokulil enlisted on May 27, 1941 out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We have not been able to determine what unit he served with during the war, but pre-war era he served with the 127th Infantry Regiment. He is seen serving in Italy with a possible Army Air Forces unit, which is when he was wounded. During Operation Husky in August of 1944 in Sicily, he was wounded by a boobytrap and sustained injuries to both his hand and thigh. He returned to duty after he was rehabilitated but was again hospitalized in April 1944 for a Hematoma, which more than likely was caused by his previous injuries.
Ready for further research and display!
The M1917A1 helmet was a transitional helmet used during the early years of WWII prior to the introduction of the more common M1 Helmet. It was basically a M1917 helmet shell, as used during WWI, with an improved liner and chin strap assembly. These helmets were widely used by the US Army Troops that occupied the Pacific Islands before and the Pearl Harbor Attack. They were also used by the USMC in the early Island Campaigns of 1942 & 1943.
Allied Invasion of Sicily
The Allied invasion of Sicily, also known as the Battle of Sicily and Operation Husky, was a major campaign of World War II in which the Allied forces invaded the island of Sicily in July 1943 and took it from the Axis powers (Fascist Italy and NSDAP Germany). It began with a large amphibious and airborne operation, followed by a six-week land campaign, and initiated the Italian campaign.
To divert some of the Axis forces to other areas, the Allies engaged in several deception operations, the most famous and successful of which was Operation Mincemeat. Husky began on the night of 9–10 July 1943 and ended on 17 August. Strategically, Husky achieved the goals set out for it by Allied planners; the Allies drove Axis air, land and naval forces from the island and the Mediterranean sea lanes were opened for Allied merchant ships for the first time since 1941. These events led to the Italian leader, Benito Mussolini, being toppled from power in Italy on 25 July, and to the Allied invasion of Italy on 3 September.
The German leader, Adolf, "canceled a major offensive at Kursk after only a week, in part to divert forces to Italy," resulting in a reduction of German strength on the Eastern Front. The collapse of Italy necessitated German troops replacing the Italians in Italy and to a lesser extent the Balkans, resulting in one-fifth of the entire German army being diverted from the east to southern Europe, a proportion that would remain until near the end of the war.
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