Original WWI AEF 33rd Division Captured Austro-Hungarian M17 Helmet by Berndorfer

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Genuine WWI Austro-Hungarian Model 1917 helmet with original paint after being captured U.S Soldiers of the AEF. The front is painted in yellow A.E.F. 33RD DIV. and the reverse reads R.R.N Co. F- 129 INFT. The top is painted black with a yellow cross.

This fine Austro-Hungarian M17 Helmet  was manufactured by Berndorfer Metal-Warenfabrik Berndorf of Austria and is marked with a classic "Bear" logo over 64 on the interior of the rim at the nape of the neck. It also beara a crown stamp with the letter B. This represents the rolling mill of Bleckmann.

The liner band and pins are present all well as all three of the liner leather pad flaps, one of which is quite damaged. Only a small portion of the unique canvas Austro-Hungarian M17 chinstrap remains. Overall condition is very goo.

The Central Powers of Austria-Hungary used, manufactured and commissioned, variations of the World War One German Stahlhelm M16 design. The Austrian Hungarian M1917 helmet was similar to the German M1916, but had a few variations including the chinstrap, chinstrap rivets located higher up and further back on the steel shell and variations in locations of markings among others.

Early Austrian helmets were supplied by Germany, the first shells supplied as the chinstrap rivets were mounted in a lower position. The Austrians fitted their own chinstrap bales, chinstraps and liner and painted them in Austrian Isonzo braun. These modifications were carried out with German machinery at the"Adolf Westen di Cilli factory, which is now Celije, in Slovenia.

The The 33rd infantry division served in World War I and beyond. The 33rd division was trained at Camp Logan in Houston, Texas as part of the National state guard in Illinois. The first unit went to France in 1918. The first unit to go into France was the 108th Engineers, under Colonel Henry A. Allen. On 20 and 21 June the division went to the Amiens sector, where there was expected to be a major German attack. The division was trained by British Empire forces – in particular the Australian Corps – and was part of some of their operations.

The first major battle in which elements of the 33rd Division took part was the Battle of Hamel on 4 July. Individual platoons from four companies from the 131st Infantry and 132nd Infantry were distributed among Australian battalions, to gain combat experience. This, however, occurred without official approval as there was controversy regarding the battlefield command of US troops by junior officers from other countries. Thus, while Hamel was a relatively minor battle by the standards of World War I, it was historically significant as the first occasion on which US Army personnel had fought alongside British Empire forces, and demonstrated that the previously inexperienced American troops could play an effective role in the war. The battle was also historically significant for the use of innovative assault tactics, devised by the Australian general John Monash, were demonstrated.

The 33rd Division was in reserve behind the British 4th Army at the opening of the August offensive for emergencies only. With the British III Corps attack stalling on the Chipilly Spur feature the 131st Regiment of the 33rd Division was sent to assist on 9 August, which it did with distinction.[6] The following day the Regiment was attached to the 4th Australian Division and remained there until 12 August. From 12 August until 20 August it was combined with the 13th Australian Brigade in what was called the Liaison Force commanded by Brigadier General E A Wisdom. This was designed to hold the front from the Somme to the Bray-Sur-Somme-Corbie road to relieve the 4th Australian Division from the operation. After this it returned to the 33rd US Division.

On 23 August, the division was moved to the Toul sector. The 33rd Division fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive from 26 September 1918 to the end of the battle 10 November 1918. The last mission in which the 33rd division took part was on 27 December 1918.

In total, from the 33rd arriving in France to the German armistice on 11 November 1918, the division captured 13 units of heavy artillery and 87 pieces of light artillery. Also, they captured 460 machine guns and 430 light guns. In total, the entire division gained 40,300 meters of land in WW1. The 33rd division was the only unit in the war to have machine gun barrage enemy nests while infantry turned the position. In total, the 33rd infantry division received 215 American decorations, 56 British decorations, and various others.

As result of its World War I service, the division remains the only US Army division that has fought as part of British Empire and French corps.
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