Original U.S. WWII Vietnam Reissue M1 McCord Front Seam Swivel Bale Helmet with Personalized USMC Camo Cover
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a genuine WWII Issue U.S. Army M1 Helmet, which like many was then reissued for use during later conflicts. This example may have been used in the Korean War, but definitely saw use in the Vietnam war. It has a standard USMC Reversible Camouflage cover, with the correct securing elastic band.
As with many helmet covers used in Vietnam, this one has been personalized with the addition of phrases written on several sides. This helmet reads:
AND A WAKE UP
LAND OF THE BIG
On the front left, and on the rear left:
IA DRANG VALLEY
FIRE BASE FALCON
BRAVO 1/5 8-1-65
On the right side it reads:
HUEY'S & M-60'S
KEPT US ALIVE
SMITTY Ft. WORTH TEXAS
It also has a small crucifix in the front secured under the large rubber band that secures the Camouflage cover. The crucifix is most likely not period, and we have no way of verifying the writing, but the helmet, shell, and liner are all correct for a Vietnam war helmet.
The U.S. WWII M-1 helmet was only produced from 1941 to 1945. The first production batch resulted with over 323,510 M-1 helmets before the start of the American involvement in the war. This example has a partial heat lot code of 74A on the inside, which unfortunately makes us unable to date the helmet.
The Ordnance Department selected McCord Radiator and Manufacturing Company of Detroit Michigan to produce the steel M1 helmet bodies. These bodies were made from a single piece of Hadfield Manganese steel that was produced by the Carnegie-Illinois & Sharon Steel Corporations. Each completed raw M-1 helmet shell weighed 2.25 lbs each. The total production of M-1 helmet shells during the war reached 22,000,000. Of these about 20,000,000 were produced by the main contractor McCord Radiator and Manufacturing Company of Detroit.
The early M-1 helmet shells had a set of fixed (static) chinstrap loops called "bales" and a stainless steel rim. These rims were both rust resistant and had "non-magnetic qualities" that reduced the chance of error readings when placed around certain sensitive equipment (such as a compass). In October 1943, issues with the fixed bales breaking off resulted in a change to the "swivel bales" that this helmet has.
The helmet shell is a fine example and features a correct front seam and swivel bails. It has large oval welds on the front seamed rim, identifying it as a McCord shell. The paint looks to have been entirely redone, possibly during Korea, as it is not the typical color seen for Vietnam, and it still has some texturing. The original chin strap was removed, replaced with an OD Green #7 chin strap, attached to the swivel bales by metal fittings. It also has the modified chin strap buckle, which has a connector that breaks under load to protect the soldier from neck and head injury.
The liner is correct high pressure Vietnam issue liner, marked M4 on the inside of the crown, and dated 1972 on the rigging. It is the standard Vietnam war style, which features a simplified rigging without any lacing in the center. This allowed for a much sturdier design, adjustable via buckles at the ends of the three straps. The sweatband is good worn condition, with the leather now stained but still soft, and the rear is marked with the correct Vietnam Era stock numbers. The liner chin strap is unfortunately missing.
The included USMC reversible camouflage cover is in good service worn condition, complete with the elastic securing band. There is overall light wear, but no tears or major issues that we can see. The color is retained very well, especially on the tan side.
One of the tabs on the bottom of the cover is marked:
COVER HELMET CAMOUFLAGE
CONTRACT NO. 8116
An excellent genuine WWII issue helmet shell, repainted and refit for use by the USMC during the Vietnam War, and personalized to complete the look. Ready to add to your collection and display!
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