Original U.S. WWII USAAF Bomber Crew M3 Steel FLAK Helmet with 8th Air Force Insignia

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Good condition hard to find USAAF 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.

This example is offered in good condition, complete with the suspension liner, which is in very good condition. The chin strap mounts are present, but the removable chin strap is unfortunately missing. There is oxidation and minor surface rust, expected on a helmet of this age, and some wear to the canvas chin strap ends. Also the felt pads inside the ear covers have caused some rusting.

The front of the helmet bears a decal of the 8th Air Force / 8th Bombing Command, a unit that was based in the UK, and made great contributions to the war.

Overall this is a excellent opportunity to own a great example of a hard to find helmet.

History of the 8th Air Force

The history of Eighth Air Force begins on 2 January 1942 with its activation at Savannah Army Air Base, Georgia. In quick order, on 5 January, Major General Carl Spaatz assumed command of HQ Eighth Air Force at Bolling Field, Washington, DC. On 8 January the order activating the "U.S. Air Forces in the British Isles" (USAFBI) was announced. On 12 May, the first contingent of USAAF personnel arrived in England to join the Eighth Air Force. On 15 June, Spaatz arrived in England to establish the Headquarters of Eighth Air Force at Bushy Park, 15 miles (24 km) WSW of London.

Eighth Air Force was the command and control organization over its operational components:

-VIII Bomber Command (Established 19 January 1942)
Strategic bombardment using heavy, 4-engined bombers.
-VIII Fighter Command (Established 19 January 1942)
Provide fighter escort of heavy bombers
-VIII Air Support Command (Established 24 April 1942)
Provide reconnaissance, troop transport, and tactical bombardment using twin-engine medium bombers.
-VIII Air Service Command (Established 1942, name adjusted to VIII Air Force Service Command by 1943)
Service and logistical support.

The VIII Bomber Command was activated at Langley Field, Virginia, and was reassigned to Savannah Air Base, Georgia on 10 February 1942. An advanced detachment of VIII Bomber Command was established at RAF Bomber Command Headquarters at RAF Daws Hill England on 23 February in preparation for its units to arrive in the United Kingdom from the United States. The first combat group of VIII Bomber Command to arrive in the United Kingdom was the ground echelon of the 97th Bombardment Group, which arrived at RAF Polebrook on 9 June 1942.

Later in 1944, the United States underwent a massive reorganization of American Airpower. The VIII Bomber Command was redesignated as the 8th Air Force, and the other components were made subordinate units, as they supported the Bombing operations, which were the major strategic use of air power at the time.

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