Original WWI U.S. Army III Corps Marked M1917 Doughboy Helmet with Liner & Chinstrap - Size 7 1/8
Original Item: Only One Available. This is an very nice example of a U.S. M1917 "Doughboy" helmet, which features original period OD Green paint and an original liner. The front is features the painted Unit Insignia of the U.S. Army III Corps emblem in the center. The Division Insignia maintains most of the original paint and remains bold and easy to see. It has a central white triangle, with three long dark blue or black triangles connected to it.
The shell is maker marked with a stamping on the underside of the rim that reads ZA 197. The solid rivets and heat lot number indicate that this helmet shell was produced in the United States. The paint is in very good condition both inside and outside the helmet, with the expected wear from service. There is also a bit of ripping in the shell, indicating early U.S. production.
The liner is also in quite nice shape, with a very good oil cloth liner, and the top felt pad is still present, though worn. It is marked size 7 1/8 on the support strap in the middle, and still has remnants of the original top label. The chin strap is intact and does not have any major cracks or tears. The leather is however somewhat stained and delicate, so definitely handle with care.
A great example of an authentic WWI "Doughboy" helmet from the U.S. Army III Corps, ready to display!
History of the U.S. Army III Corps in WWI
III Corps was first organized on 16 May 1917 in France. It was designed as three of the four newly activated corps of the American Expeditionary Force, which at that time numbered over one million men in 23 divisions. The corps took command of US forces training with the French Seventh Army at the same time that IV Corps took command of US forces training with the French Eighth Army.
In July, the corps was rushed to the Villers-Cotterêts area in preparation for the Third Battle of the Aisne, the first major Allied counteroffensive of the year. There, it was put under the French Tenth Army and given administrative command of the 1st Division and the 2nd Division which were previously under command of the French XX Corps. However, the command group arrived in the area too late to exercise tactical command, and it was instead attached to the French XX Corps. On 18 July, the attack was launched, with the force spearheading the French Tenth Army's assault on the high ground south of Soissons. During this attack, the Corps also cut rail lines supplying the German Army.
The first day of the attack was a success, but on the second day, the Germans were reinforced with heavier weapons and were able to blunt the attack, inflicting high casualties. The force was successful despite heavy casualties, and German forces were forced to retreat. On 1 August, the corps arrived in the Vesle area near the Marne River, where it assumed command of the 3rd Division, 28th Division, and 32nd Division from the French XXXVIII Corps, placing side by side with the U.S. I Corps for a few days. Troops continued to advance until September when they withdrew to form the new First United States Army.
First Army formed up in preparation to advance in the Meuse-Argonne campaign. It consisted of over 600,000 men in I Corps, III Corps, and V Corps. III Corps took the Army's east flank, protecting it as the Army advanced to Montfaucon, then Cunel and Romagne-sous-Montfaucon. The offensive was slow and hampered by inexperience of many of the divisions under the Army's command, though III Corps was effective in protecting its sector. They advanced through September and October, taking a few weeks for rest after the formation of Second United States Army. On 1 November, the First Army went on a general offensive, pushing north to the Meuse River and the Barricourt Ridge. It was successful, pushing German forces back and advancing to the river until the end of the war. Around that time, III Corps received its shoulder sleeve insignia, approved it by telegram, though the insignia would not be officially authorized until 1922.
The corps was demobilized in Neuwied, Germany at the close of hostilities. Following the end of World War I, III Corps remained in Europe for several months before it returned to the United States. It was demobilized at Camp Sherman, Ohio.
More on the M1917 "Doughboy" Helmet
The M1917 was the US Army's first modern combat helmet, used from 1917 and during the 1920s, before being replaced by the M1917A1. The M1917A1 helmet was an updated version of the M1917 and initially used refurbished WW1 shells.
The M1917 is a near identical version of the British Mk.I steel helmet, and it is important to note that when the US joined the Great War in 1917 they were initially issued with a supply of around 400,000 British made Mk.Is, before production began state side. The M1917 differed slightly in its lining detail, and exhibited US manufacture markings.
M1917 helmet liners typically show a paper label at the crown and the dome rivet head. The liner is set up as on the British versions, with an oilcloth band and net configuration, attached to a leather strap, riveted to the shell. The chinstrap is leather with steel buckle.
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