Original WWI U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Battalion 6th Infantry Regiment British MkI Helmet with Textured Paint - 2nd Division

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is an extremely rare example of an original U.S. Marine Corps M1917 "Doughboy" helmet, which is marked on the front with a 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division insignia. All U.S.M.C. WWI helmets are rare, but particularly those bearing specific unit insignia.

This very nice example is complete with a liner and complete chinstrap, and still has original period textured paint on the outer shell. More importantly, the front still has a genuine blacked brass WWI USMC EGA Badge over the division insignia!

The shell is maker marked with a stamping on the underside of the rim that reads HS for Hadfield Ltd of Sheffield, England. This and the split pin rivets indicate that this is definitely one of the 400,000 helmets supplied by the British to the U.S. at the start of their involvement in the war.

The outer shell still has 80% or more of the original textured finish, with the interior finish even better, close to 98%. There are some minor dings and scuffs on the exterior of the shell. The liner is complete with felt crown pad. The oil cloth lining is in great shape, as is the netting, though the helmet is over 100 years old, so there is definitely some deterioration and toning.

The best feature of this helmet is the original hand painted 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division - Indianhead Division emblem in the center of the front of the helmet. Marines under this division used specific colors and shapes behind the "Indianhead" to designate which unit they were in, and the "Yellow Diamond" indicates the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. The Unit Insignia maintains some of the original paint and remains easy to see, though it is chipped, scraped and faded due to use, which we have left alone in order to preserve the authenticity.

The U.S. Marine Corps did not field divisional size units during WWI, so they were made part of the divisions of the U.S. Army. In fact, the entire 2nd Division was for a time during WWI commanded by U.S.M.C. Major General John A. Lejeune himself!

This is an wonderful RARE example of a genuine USMC Great War helmet, complete with divisional insignia, all original and ready to display!

The 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines was activated on July 11, 1917, to serve as reinforcements during World War I. On January 19, 1918, the battalion went to League Island, Philadelphia in order to head out to France as part of the 4th Brigade, American Expeditionary Force. The battalion fought at the Battle of Belleau Wood for which they were awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm from the French government. Beginning October 3, 1918, the 6th Regiment led the offensive to take Blanc Mont Ridge, pushing the Germans out of the Champagne Region of France. In November 1918, 2/6 also took part in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive which was the last major offensive of the war. The battalion returned to Marine Corps Base Quantico on June 19, 1919. They were deactivated shortly thereafter on August 20, 1919.


History of the M1917 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 MkI 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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