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M1 Helmet 101
Old 01-31-2010, 02:50 PM   #1
MattS
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Default M1 Helmet 101

It seems by the number of questions about dating M1 helmets, we should have a basic thread on dating and identifying M1 helmets. Basically (without going into Hawley liners, variants, etc.) the basic WW2 liner used khaki webbing, a leather liner strap, and an integral nape strap at the rear. These were used post-war (attention German collectors) until the early 1950s. Something like this:
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Old 01-31-2010, 02:52 PM   #2
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The M-1952 liner was introduced during the Korean war and was used until the 1960s. It had dark olive webbing, but retained the leather liner strap and the nape strap. Something like this:
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Old 01-31-2010, 02:53 PM   #3
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In the 1960s, an improved liner was introduced that changed the webbing pattern, eliminated the leather strap and the rear nape strap (it was now a 3-point harness). Most commonly known as the "Vietnam" pattern liner.
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Old 01-31-2010, 02:54 PM   #4
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The last pattern (this one is dated 1983) is shown here:
I hope this is helpful, please feel free to correct and add to this thread!
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Last edited by MattS; 01-31-2010 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 01-31-2010, 05:46 PM   #5
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Matt
Great Info! Thanks for posting.Jay
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:44 PM   #6
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It is important to note that almost all M1 helmet shells are technically "WW2" shells, the dating of a complete helmet comes from the liner and the bale and chinstrap configuration. Only two companies made all the approximately 22 million M1 shells from 1941-1945, McCord Radiator Company of Detroit, MI (~20 Million) and Schluter of St. Louis, MO (~2 Million). These shells were refurbished and repainted numerous times until finally being replaced in the early 1990s. I know this site is geared toward German collectors and this is a different concept than the mindset that anything produced or used after May of 1945 is fake or reproduction.
Case in point, this M1 was worn by a soldier of the Massachusetts National Guard (26th Inf Div) in the late 1970s. Removing the liner and peeling off the cover reveals it is a front seam helmet originally made in 1941-43.
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Old 02-04-2010, 05:01 PM   #7
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Good basic information for newcomers to M-1 helmet collecting! However, I will add a little to this below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattS View Post
Basically (without going into Hawley liners, variants, etc.) the basic WW2 liner used khaki webbing...
Actually at the beginning of WWII all the liners, not just Hawleys or variants but, also all Low Pressure and High Pressure liners had the "gray" rayon suspension. The khaki cotton suspension was introduced later.
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Old 02-04-2010, 05:21 PM   #8
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True, thanks for helping out with this thread Scott!
The early rayon liners had a series of 6 sets of double snaps (12 total) around the webbing which the sweatband snapped in to. These early snap-in sweatbands only had leather on the front 1/3 or so. This continued on the earliest khaki webbed liners until the futility of stocking 13 different sized sweatbands prompted someone to make an adjustable sweatband for that "one-size-fits-all" solution. These bands feature leather almost all the way around (except in the rear). This is the earliest liner I have with the snaps on khaki webbing, but a replacement (tattered) sweatband.
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:06 PM   #9
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Another feature of M1 liners that should be pointed out is the change to removable suspension systems. From the beginning to about 1972, the webbing was held in by washers. These were initially rectangular, then changed to an A shape early in WW2. The washers held the webbing firmly in place, but made it impossible to repair torn straps easily. This 1973 dated liner has an early removable suspension system, notice the round button in place of a washer in the upper left:
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:08 PM   #10
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Very good information...and some nice helmets you have!

I would also like to add that WW2 helmet shells are different than post-war Vietnam era shells. Vietnam era helmet shells have a lower profile than WW2 production shells.
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Old 03-28-2010, 10:14 AM   #11
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I would recommend Chris Armold's books (the Steel Pots series) and his DVD "Steel Pots" that covers helmets from WW1 to the MICH to anyone who wants to learn more about the history of American combat helmets. If you can't find the DVD online, PM me.
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stell pot dvd
Old 03-28-2010, 10:44 AM   #12
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Default stell pot dvd

Hi Matt
I"m interested in US helmets and have the 2nd volume of steel pots but would like a cpoy of it in dvd ,so can you let me know where i can find a copy.Thanks Jay
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Old 03-28-2010, 06:34 PM   #13
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Here is an example of the rayon liner with snap in sweatband.

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Old 03-29-2010, 02:52 PM   #14
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Thanks for that pic too! It seems to have the early riveted in leather liner strap which should also have a square silver buckle on it. Dating liner straps is another subsection of M1 helmets that I am not qualified to get in to, but that is a nice early example!
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Rayonne US M1 liner
Old 04-04-2010, 07:35 AM   #15
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Default Rayonne US M1 liner

Here is the one with A washers.
Second one is a A washers Hawley (second type)
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