Item:
ONSV3405

Original U.S. WWII USAAF Bomber Crew M3 Steel FLAK Helmet with Flocked Paint - Rare Variant

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is something we have not seen before! It is a very good condition hard to find USAAF WWII issue M3 Flak Helmet, however it has a "flocked" paint job! This basically means it is "fuzzy", however this is a development that was part of the changes that made the M5 version of the Flak helmet, and we have not seen an M3 with this paint job before. It is flocked inside and out, under the liner, so we have no reason to believe that it is retrofitted. We can only imagine that it is some time of experimental version made during development.

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.

This example is offered in almost unissued condition, with just a bit of storage wear. The interior rigging is complete with the interior band, and there is no evidence of wear whatsoever.  The chin strap is complete and functional, also with no signs of wear. The green "flocking" attached to the paint is in very good shape, with just storage wear and some small scratches and chips. The front of the helmet is marked M D C in paint, a great research opportunity.

There is a bit of rusting on the exterior, and as with many of the M3 and M5 Flak helmets we have seen, the felt pads under the ear covers have turned orange from rust, and the finish on the inside is degraded. We believe that this is a reaction to the adhesive used, and the ability of felt to absorb moisture from the air. Over time, this has led to corrosion, in almost all of these helmets, so this condition is typical.

This is an excellent opportunity to own a great example of a rare helmet that we have not seen before. Ready to display!

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