Original WWII U.S. Engineer Special Brigade 1942 M1 McCord Fixed Bale Helmet with Rare Inland Liner
Original Item: Only One Available. This is an incredible find, which we obtained recently from an old private museum. This is a unique Engineer Special Brigade M1 Fixed Bale Helmet which the museum purchased directly from the veteran in the early 1960s. This writer, in fact, recalls seeing this same helmet in the museum display back in the 1980s and 1990s! This McCord helmet is stamped with heat lot 140B, which indicates the approximate manufacture date of May 1942, just after the U.S. entered into WWII. The helmet is interesting in the fact that it is a period depot repainted/refitted helmet (which was not at all uncommon in 1944-1945) which was repainted over a Four-Panel Medic Helmet, and the outlines of the Medic Helmet Markings are still visible!
This helmet likely dates from the closing months of World War Two into the Early Occupation Period, as a few ESB units were stationed overseas in theater into 1946, such as the 1st Engineer Special Brigade which was inactivated in Korea, and the 4th which was inactivated in Japan, both in 1946. Unlike the most common type of ESB helmet, with the ESB insignia centered below the white arch, this helmet features a two-tone, black and white, ESB insignia painted on the right side of the helmet shell only. We have not been able to track down the specific unit that this helmet is from, but with some additional research we feel that is possible. The helmet features a low heat lot number (140), and is of the fixed bale variety. In addition to being repainted, the chinstraps were replaced as well. The chinstrap hook is of the late stamped variety which became standardized in mid-1945.
The Liner, which is one of the rare examples made by INLAND, was also repainted at the same time with the same paint used on the exterior of the shell. The Liner suspension is OD#3 (Khaki) fastened into the liner shell the means of Zinc-Coated “A”-Washers. The liner is complete with original sweatband and nape strap. The suspension is torn in the front, but overall does not detract from the outward appearance or displayability of the helmet itself.
Overall, this is an excellent opportunity to obtain a very scarce WWII U.S. Painted Helmet which is completely “Fresh to the market”.
The History of the Engineer Special Brigades
Engineer Special Brigades were amphibious forces of the United States Army developed during World War II. Initially designated engineer amphibian brigades, they were redesignated engineer special brigades in 1943. The 1st, 5th, and 6th Engineer Special Brigades were assigned to the European Theater of Operations. The 1st Engineer Special Brigade participated in the landings in Sicily and Italy before joining the 5th and 6th Engineer Special Brigades for the invasion of Normandy.
The 2nd, 3rd and 4th Engineer Special Brigades were assigned to the Southwest Pacific Area, and participated in the campaigns in the Bismarck Archipelago, New Guinea, Leyte, Luzon, the Southern Philippines and Borneo campaign. The 1st Engineer Special Brigade fought in both theaters of the war, participating in the Okinawa campaign near the end of the war. The 2nd Engineer Special Brigade remained active after the war, and served in the Korean War before being inactivated in 1955.
At the onset of direct American involvement in World War II, it became apparent that the United States would need a large strategic and tactical amphibious warfare capability. In 1941, the amphibious forces were divided into two corps: one in the Atlantic, and one in the Pacific. Both were combined United States Army and United States Marine Corps commands, administered by the United States Navy. The Amphibious Corps, Atlantic Fleet, consisted of the 1st Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Division, while the Amphibious Corps, Pacific Fleet, consisted of the 3rd Infantry Division and the 2nd Marine Division.
In April 1942, the United States and United Kingdom agreed on plans for an emergency invasion of Northwest Europe in the late northern summer of 1942 (Operation Sledgehammer) that would be conducted in the event of signs that the Soviet Union was on the brink of collapse, or that the Germans were withdrawing from Western Europe, possibly due to an internal coup or collapse. This would be followed by a full-scale crossing of the English Channel in mid-1943 (Operation Roundup). These were envisaged as shore-to-shore operations. The US Navy's policy at this time of only taking volunteers meant that it was short of manpower, and those personnel it had available were mainly allocated warships and the amphibious ships required for ship-to-shore operations. This meant that the landing craft for Sledgehammer would have to be operated by the British and the US Army.
For additional Information, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineer_Special_Brigade
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a genuine WWII Front-Seam Fixed Bale M1 Helmet made by McCord Radiator, with a rare 2nd Pattern St. Clair Low Pressure liner and helmet net. 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 helmet is heat lot stamped 79B which indicates the approximate manufacture date of February 1942.
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.
This M1 shell has correct early war fixed chinstrap loops, called "bales," and a stainless steel rim with a front seam. 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 November 1944 the specification was changed to have the rim seam in the rear of the helmet.
This helmet is a fine example and still retains all of its original WWII parts, and the shell has all original "corked" grain paint, showing only light use, with no evidence of a repaint. The top interior of the shell has heavy oxidation present, almost like liquid pooled and say there for many years. There is also the usual wear on the stainless steel rim with minor deformities. There are the expected stress cracks located on the rear of the helmet, a common sight to see with early manufactured M1 helmets. It has the correct early war OD green #3 Chin strap with a cast brass buckle. The chinstrap is named CARL MEYER but unfortunately to how common the name is, it would be difficult to pinpoint which servicemember this helmet belonged to, but not impossible!
The liner is correct high pressure WWII issue and stamped with a W for the Westinghouse Electric Co Manufactured in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this "high pressure" manufactured M-1 helmet liner is identified by an embossed "W" in the crown (which is still Westinghouse's logo to this day). Westinghouse was the largest M-1 helmet liner producer and had two production divisions; Micarta and Bryant Electric.
The Micarta Division produced about 13,000,000 M-1 helmet liners and the Bryant Electric Division about 10,000,000. Westinghouse Electric Company started M-1 helmet liner delivery in May 1942. Westinghouse did have a contract to produce airborne liners and converted an unknown amount to airborne configuration. Westinghouse discontinued production around August 17, 1945 when the war ended.
This true US WWII M-1 helmet liner can be identified through the frontal eyelet hole. Other correct WW2 features include cotton herringbone twill (HBT) cloth suspension. This HBT suspension is held tightly within the M-1 helmet liner by rivets and a series of triangular "A" washers. The three upper suspension bands are joined together with the correct string. This way the wearer could adjust the fit. The original leather chin strap is present and still solid. The leather sweatband is worn and cracked but still rather solid.
An excellent, genuine early WWII issue helmet that comes complete, ready to be researched and displayed!
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