Original WWII U.S.N. U.D.T. Marked Early 1942 M1 McCord Fixed Bale Helmet with Decorated Hawley Paper Liner

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a great service worn genuine WWII Front-Seam Fixed Bale M1 Helmet made by McCord Radiator, with an extremely rare Hawley pressed paper line. These liners are quite delicate, and often were replaced during the war, making them very hard to find. The front of the helmet also bears the U.S.N Anchor insignia over U.D.T., indicating use by the WWII Underwater Demolition Teams, one of the forerunners of the U.S. Navy Seals.

The liner, while in rough shape, is marked 13TH BN on one side, and has some great personalization on the right side, listing many locations, where we assume that the owner had been to during their service. From what we can see the markings read:

NEW ORleans, LA

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 130A, a very number which indicates the approximate manufacture date of April 1942, right after the U.S. entered into WWII.

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 early M-1 helmet shells had a set of fixed 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).

This helmet is a fine example and still retains all of its original WWII parts and the shell has all original "corked" grain paint with front seam and fixed bails. It does however show a lot of wear, with a lot of the "cork" missing, and bare steel showing in places. As is usual the paint has worn off the edge of the stainless steel rim. The chin strap is the correct OD Green #3 with all brass hardware, including the cast brass buckle, and it shows staining and wear, but is still solid. At some point, someone purposely bent the chinstrap bales inwards slightly, probably to keep the liner from falling out.

The liner is unfortunately very worn, and and the entire suspension is missing except for the neck support. The liner shows much wear, and has been repaired around the entire bottom rim and much of the front side with black fabric tape.

A great U.S.N. Underwater Demolition Team marked helmet with a great decorated Hawley Liner. A real piece of history, ready to research and display!

WWII History of the U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Teams:

The history of the U.S. Navy Demolition Teams began in 1942, when it became apparent that the Navy needed that capability to destroy submerged obstacles, natural or man-made, for amphibious landings. In late 1942, a group of Navy salvage personnel received a one-week concentrated course on demolitions, explosive cable cutting and commando raiding techniques. The Navy Scouts and Raiders unit was first employed in Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa in November 1942. During Torch, this unit cut the cable and net barrier across a river in North Africa, allowing Rangers to land upstream and capture an airfield.

In early May 1943, a two-phase "Naval Demolition Project" was ordered by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) "to meet a present and urgent requirement". The first phase began at Amphibious Training Base (ATB) Solomons, Maryland with the establishment of Operational Naval Demolition Unit No. 1. Six Officers and eighteen enlisted men reported from the Seabees dynamiting and demolition school at Camp Peary for a four-week course. Those Seabees were immediately sent to participate in the invasion of Sicily where they were divided in three groups that landed on the beaches near Licata, Gela and Scoglitti.

Also in May the Navy decided to create a group tasked with eliminating amphibious obstructions called Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDU). Each NCDU had one junior Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) officer and five enlisted. A NCDU was to clear beach obstacles for an invasion force with the team going ashore in an LCRS inflatable boat. Once the amphibious invasion of Europe had succeeded, the NCDU members were re-deployed to the Pacific Theater to become part of the UDTS.

The first units that were designated as Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) were formed in the Pacific Theater. Rear Admiral Turner, the Navy's top amphibious expert, ordered the formation of nine Underwater Demolition Teams. The personnel for these teams were mostly Seabees that had started out in the UCDUs. UDT training was at Waimānalo, Hawaii, under V Amphibious Corps operational and administrative control. Most of the instructors and trainees were graduates of the Fort Pierce NCDU or Scouts and Raiders schools, Seabees, Marines, and Army soldiers.

Under the direction of Marine Corps Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion, UDTs 1 and 2 were hastily trained for their Kwajalein mission in January 1944. The training made use of inflatable boats and included some swimming. The teams were expected to paddle in, and work in shallow water, leaving the deep-water demolitions to the Army. Marine Reconnaissance units would conduct the hydrography from shallow water to inland while the accompanying UDT would conduct the demolition and hydrography from near-deep water to the shallows. At that time the men in the teams wore fatigues, boots and helmets. They were lifelined to their boats and stayed out of the water as much as possible.

A UDT was organized with approximately sixteen officers and eighty enlisted. One Marine and one Army officer were liaisons within each team They were deployed in every major amphibious landing after Tarawa with 34 teams eventually being commissioned. The later teams were spared deployment by the atomic bombing of Japan. Teams 1-21 were the teams that had deployed operationally, with slightly over half of the Officers and enlisted coming from the Seabees in those teams.

Prior to Operation Galvanic and Tarawa, V Amphibious Corps had identified coral as an issue for future amphibious operations. Rear Admiral Turner, Commander, V Amphibious Corps, had ordered a review to address the problem. VAC found that the only people having any applicable experience with the material were men in the Naval Construction Battalions. The Admiral tasked Lt. Thomas C. Crist (CEC) to develop a method for blasting coral under combat conditions and putting together a team for that purpose. Lt. Crist started by recruiting others he had blasted coral with in CB 10 and by the end November 1943 he had assembled close to 30 officers and 150 enlisted men from the 7th Naval Construction Regiment, at Waipio Amphibious Operating Base on Maui.

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