Original U.S. WWII Normandy D-Day Invasion Paratrooper Luminous Disc Helmet Marker
Original Item: Only One Available. In advance of the Normandy Invasion on June 6th, 1944, luminous discs where issued to American paratroopers so they could be identified easily by friendly troops. Typically fixed to the back of the M1 helmet by fastening to the helmet net, tied onto webbing or stitched onto the inside of the M42 jump jacket collar at the back so the wearer could pull his collar up to reveal the luminous disc. Designed to be used when moving at night so the soldier could keep an eye on the man in front.
Comprised of radium, it has long since “burned out” the Zinc Sulfide, however as the half-life of Radium is 1600 years, these disks remain essentially as active as when they were made in the 1943. They glow brightly under UV light. Incredibly, when viewed in total darkness, these can disks still emit a very faint eery bluish glow - even without exposure to UV. We were not however able to observe this with this example.
Overall condition is very good. Reverse side is marked POISON INSIDE and comes complete with attachment tab. There is a bit of rust on the back, but it is overall solid.
Note on safe handling of these disks: There is a small amount of Radium 226 in each disk. While these disks are literally built like a tank for war, they should not be tampered with or opened as this would create a hazardous situation in which the Ra-226 could be ingested, absorbed through minor skin abrasions or inhaled. When handling, gloves should be worn. Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
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