Original U.S. WWII USAAF Bomber Crew M3 Steel FLAK Helmet

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. U.S. Army Air Forces WWII issue M3 Flak Helmet! World War Two American bomber crews in the skies over Europe needed something more than their leather flying helmets to provide them with shrapnel injuries, however it took a surprisingly long time for a new helmet to be developed and deployed to meet that need. Not until December of 1943 did the M3 reach the ETO, it was the first of three versions of the American flak helmet.

One of the most notable aspects of the M3 is its M1 profile; it's like the steel pot, but with hinged armored ear cups that were used to accommodate the headsets worn by the aircrews. These were then secured with a canvas chin strap, which also had a snap in it, for quick removal if needed. They were originally issued with standard paint finishes, but later made examples have the same "flocked" paint job carried over to the M5 flak helmet. It is flocked inside and out, under the liner, so we have no reason to believe that it is retrofitted. This type of coating would help prevent fingers from freezing to the helmet.

This example is offered in very good issued condition, complete with the suspension liner and chin strap. It also still retains one of the felt cushions inside the ear cups, which are so often missing or damaged. The glue used to hold these in unfortunately reacts with the paint over time, causing rust, so they usually fall off. The exterior paint is still in good shape, with some of the original flocking retained, and wear as well as rust present. Chinstrap is intact, and exhibits some corrosion to the hardware and some rust stains to the khaki canvas.

Overall, an excellent piece worthy of adding to any WWII, Army Air Force, or general helmet collection.

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