Original WWII U.S. Navy Damage Control Officer’s Painted Front Seam Swivel Bale Schlueter M1 Helmet Complete with Liner

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-Kind. This is a unique example of a WWII M1 Helmet with markings to a U.S. Navy Damage Control Officer. This example is in very good condition considering signs of honest wear from use, and decades of storage wear, and appears to have been together since the war!

The Helmet features a shell painted in standard WWII U.S. Navy Blue, which appears to be covering a layer of red paint underneath, which denotes Damage Control Personnel aboard ship. The helmet was painted with the Lieutenant’s Bars on the front, along with “LT. Williams/D.C./Officer”. The “D.C.” obviously stands for “Damage Control”. Interestingly, the markings were painted with the same red paint used to completely paint over Damage Control Helmets.

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. 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). In late 1943, a set of bales which swiveled were introduced, which reduced the risk of breakage like the earlier fixed bales. This particular helmet is of the swivel bale variety, with OD#7 chinstraps fitted with a painted steel buckle. As typical with WWII Navy helmets, the shell has been painted several times, but the original cork finish is still evident on the exterior.

The steel shell is stamped 431A over a large S, indicating Schlueter manufactured this helmet in 1944.

The liner is the correct high pressure WWII issue and stamped with the logo for the Mine Safety Appliance Company (MSA). The liner is complete with its original sweatband, nape strap, and liner chinstrap. 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 liner appears to have been repainted at various time, certainly during the period, as was common within the US Navy as helmets were used for various roles and recycled and reused for other purposes.

Painted WWII US helmets are among the most sought after of all WWII Headgear and have become very difficult to find in recent years. Almost certainly to appreciate in value year after year!

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