M1 Helmet
Overview
 
The M1 helmet is a combat helmet
Combat helmet
A combat helmet or battle helmet is a type of personal armor designed specifically to protect the head during combat. Helmets are among the oldest forms of personal protective equipment and are known to have been worn by the Akkadians/Sumerians in the 23rd century BC, Mycenaean Greeks since 17th...

 that was used by the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 from World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 until it was succeeded by the PASGT helmet beginning in 1985. For over forty years, the M1 was standard issue for the U.S. military and naval forces, and has become an icon of the American military, with its design inspiring other militaries around the world.

The M1 helmet is extremely popular with militaria
Militaria
Militaria are artifacts or replicas of military, police, etc., collected for their historical significance. Such antiques include firearms, swords, knives, and other weapons such as; uniforms, helmets, other military headgear, and armour; military orders and decorations; challenge coins and...

 collectors, and helmets from the World War II period are generally more valuable than later models.
Encyclopedia
The M1 helmet is a combat helmet
Combat helmet
A combat helmet or battle helmet is a type of personal armor designed specifically to protect the head during combat. Helmets are among the oldest forms of personal protective equipment and are known to have been worn by the Akkadians/Sumerians in the 23rd century BC, Mycenaean Greeks since 17th...

 that was used by the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 from World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 until it was succeeded by the PASGT helmet beginning in 1985. For over forty years, the M1 was standard issue for the U.S. military and naval forces, and has become an icon of the American military, with its design inspiring other militaries around the world.

The M1 helmet is extremely popular with militaria
Militaria
Militaria are artifacts or replicas of military, police, etc., collected for their historical significance. Such antiques include firearms, swords, knives, and other weapons such as; uniforms, helmets, other military headgear, and armour; military orders and decorations; challenge coins and...

 collectors, and helmets from the World War II period are generally more valuable than later models. Both World War II and Vietnam era helmets are becoming harder to find. Those with (original) rare or unusual markings or some kind of documented history tend to be more expensive. This is particularly true of paratroopers'
Paratrooper
Paratroopers are soldiers trained in parachuting and generally operate as part of an airborne force.Paratroopers are used for tactical advantage as they can be inserted into the battlefield from the air, thereby allowing them to be positioned in areas not accessible by land...

 helmets, which are variants known as the M1C Helmet
M1C Helmet
The M1C helmet was a variant of the U.S. Army's popular and iconic M1 helmet. Developed in World War II to replace the M2 helmet, it was issued to paratroopers. It was different from the M2 in various ways, most importantly its bails . The M2 had fixed, spot welded "D" bales so named for their...

 and M2 Helmet.

History

The M1 Helmet was adopted in 1941 to replace the M1917 helmet
Brodie helmet
The Brodie helmet, called Helmet, steel, Mark I helmet in Britain and the M1917 Helmet in the U.S., was a steel combat helmet designed and patented in 1915 by the Briton John Leopold Brodie...

. Over 22 million US M-1 steel helmets were manufactured by September 1945 at the end of World War II. A second US production run of approximately one million helmets was made in 1966-1967. These Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

-era helmets were different from the World War II/Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 version by having a lowered, less pronounced dome shape at the top forward section, and were painted a light olive green. The M1 was phased out during the 1980s in favor of the PASGT helmet
Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops
Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops, sometimes abbreviated to PASGT, was a combat helmet and ballistic vest used by the American military from the mid 1980s until 2005, when the system was succeeded by the Lightweight Helmet, Modular Integrated Communications Helmet, and Interceptor body...

  which offered increased ergonomics
Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the study of designing equipment and devices that fit the human body, its movements, and its cognitive abilities.The International Ergonomics Association defines ergonomics as follows:...

 and ballistic protection. It should be noted that no distinction in nomenclature existed between wartime front seams and post war shells in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 supply system, hence World War II shells remained in use until the M1 was retired from service.

While obsolete in the United States, the M1 Helmet and international variants are still in use by other nations around the world. The M1 helmet liner still occupies a symbolic niche in the United States military. For example, liners are currently worn in training by United States Navy SEALs
United States Navy SEALs
The United States Navy's Sea, Air and Land Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs, are the U.S. Navy's principal special operations force and a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command as well as the maritime component of the United States Special Operations Command.The acronym is derived from their...

 BUD/S candidates, where in it is painted with the trainees' class number, name, and rank insignia, and painted and chromed versions models are still used in ceremonial units. In Israeli
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 service, reserve soldiers have used the M1 helmet in combat as late as 2006.

Design

The M1 is two "one-size-fits-all" helmets: An outer shell, sometimes referred to as the "steel pot", made of metal and a hard hat
Hard hat
A hard hat is a type of helmet predominantly used in workplace environments, such as construction sites, to protect the head from injury by falling objects, impact with other objects, debris, bad weather and electric shock. Inside the helmet is a suspension that spreads the helmet's weight over the...

-type liner that is nestled inside the shell and contains the suspension system that would be adjusted to fit the wearer's head. Helmet covers and netting would be applied by covering the steel shell with the extra material tucked inside the shell and secured by inserting the liner.

The outer shell cannot be worn by itself. The liner can be worn by itself providing protection similar to a hard hat, and was often worn in such fashion by military policemen, Assistant Drill Instructors (known as AI's), and rifle/machine gun/pistol range staff, although they were supposed to wear steel at the range. The liner is sometimes worn in U.S. military ceremonies and parades, painted white or chromed. The depth of the helmet is 7 inches, the width is 9.5 inches and length is 11 inches. The weight of a World War II era M1 is approximately 2.85 pounds including the liner and chinstrap.

Shell

The shell of the M1 was changed mainly in silhouette, as seen from the side, from its World War II beginnings. The second, and last, U.S. production run of about 1 million M1s during the mid 1960s, lowered (streamlined) the top forehead portion. The bulk of the helmet is constructed from a single piece of pressed non-magnetic steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

. The rim edge of the shell has a crimped metal band running around it, which provides a clean edge. This is usually known as the "rim". The metal band of the rim material has a seam where the ends of the strip meet. On the earliest shells the seam met at the front. This was moved to the back of the rim in 1944,when the rim went from being made of stainless steel to manganese steel.

On each side of the helmet there are stainless steel loops for the chinstrap. The shape of these fixtures is one of the most recognizable distinguishing factors between shells produced at different times. Early World War II production helmets had fixed, rectangular loops, and late-war and 1960s helmets feature movable rectangular loops which swiveled inward and outward. This swivel feature was adopted in 1943 to address the problem that when earlier helmets were dropped, the loops were more susceptible to breaking off. Early paratrooper shells feature fixed, D-shaped loops. World War II production helmets feature Olive Drab shade 3 chinstraps, replaced starting in 1944-45 with Olive Drab shade 7, cotton web chinstraps that are sewn on. 1960s and 70s chinstraps are made of olive drab webbing attached to the shell with blackened metal clips. Nylon, clip-on, chinstraps were introduced in the U.S. military in the 1980s
and issued to be fitted by the individual serviceman to his own helmet. These straps featured a two-piece web chin cup and were fastened by a metal snap rather than buckle.

Many soldiers wore the webbing
Webbing
Webbing is a strong fabric woven as a flat strip or tube of varying width and fibres often used in place of rope. The name webbing comes from the meshed material frequently used in its construction, which resembles a web...

 chinstraps unfastened or looped around the back of the helmet and clipped together. This practice arose for two reasons: First, because hand-to-hand combat was anticipated, and an enemy could be expected to attack from behind, reach over the helmet, grab its visor, and pull. If the chinstrap were worn, the head would be snapped back, causing the victim to lose balance, and leave the throat and stomach exposed to a knife thrust. Secondly, many men incorrectly believed that a nearby exploding bomb or artillery shell could cause the chinstrap to snap their neck when the helmet was caught in its concussive force, although a replacement buckle, the T-1 pressure-release buckle, was manufactured that allowed the chinstrap to release automatically should this occur. In place of the chinstrap, the nape strap inside the liner was counted on to provide sufficient contact to keep the helmet from easily falling off the wearer's head.

Alternative use of steel shell

The design of exterior metal led to some novel uses: When separated from the liner, the shell could be used as an entrenching tool
Entrenching tool
An entrenching tool or E-tool is a collapsible spade used by military forces for a variety of military purposes. Survivalists, freedivers, campers, hikers and other outdoors groups have found it to be indispensable in field use...

, washbasin, bucket, seat, and, in desperate times, latrine
Latrine
A latrine is a communal facility containing one or more commonly many toilets which may be simple pit toilets or in the case of the United States Armed Forces any toilet including modern flush toilets...

. The shell was also used as a cooking pot but the practice was discouraged, as it would make the metal alloy brittle.

Liner

The liner is made from many parts. The outer part is shaped to fit snugly into the steel shell. The various elements of the suspension system are rivet
Rivet
A rivet is a permanent mechanical fastener. Before being installed a rivet consists of a smooth cylindrical shaft with a head on one end. The end opposite the head is called the buck-tail. On installation the rivet is placed in a punched or pre-drilled hole, and the tail is upset, or bucked A rivet...

ed, later clipped, inside it. The suspension is made from strips of webbing material stretching around and across the inside of the liner. A sweatband is mounted onto these, which is adjusted to fit around the head of the wearer. World War II and Korean War era liners also have their own chinstrap made from brown leather
Leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

. The liner chinstrap is snapped or riveted directly to the inside of the liner and does not have bails like the shell chinstrap, but it still swivels inside the helmet. The liner chinstrap is usually seen looped over the brim of the shell and helps to keep the shell in place when its own chinstraps aren't in use.

The first liners were made from compressed paper fibers impregnated with phenolic resin, but were quickly eliminated, because they degraded quickly in high humidity environments and were replaced by constantly evolving plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

 liners. During the same period, the original silver Rayon
Rayon
Rayon is a manufactured regenerated cellulose fiber. Because it is produced from naturally occurring polymers, it is neither a truly synthetic fiber nor a natural fiber; it is a semi-synthetic or artificial fiber. Rayon is known by the names viscose rayon and art silk in the textile industry...

 suspension material was phased out in favor of khaki
Khaki
This article is about the fabric. For the color, see Khaki . Kaki, another name for the persimmon, is often misspelled "Khaki".Khaki is a type of fabric or the color of such fabric...

 cotton. There were many companies making liners during the war — Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company
Westinghouse Electric (1886)
Westinghouse Electric was an American manufacturing company. It was founded in 1886 as Westinghouse Electric Company and later renamed Westinghouse Electric Corporation by George Westinghouse. The company purchased CBS in 1995 and became CBS Corporation in 1997...

 made most of them, while other companies included, The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company is an American tire company founded by Harvey Firestone in 1900 to supply pneumatic tires for wagons, buggies, and other forms of wheeled transportation common in the era. Firestone soon saw the huge potential for marketing tires for automobiles. The company...

, CAPAC Manufacturing, Inland Division of General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

, Mine Safety Appliances
Mine Safety Appliances
Mine Safety Appliances, or MSA, is a maker of sophisticated safety products that help protect workers who may be exposed to a variety of hazardous conditions...

, Seaman Paper Company, and International Molded Plastics.

Liners nearly identical in construction to World War II examples were produced between 1951 and 1953 during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 by the Micarta Division of Westinghouse and CAPAC Manufacturing. These liners differ in that color of the HBT webbing was changed from khaki or Olive Drab #3 to a darker green color known as Olive Drab #7. Much later, liners switched to using stronger synthetic webbing
Nylon
Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station...

 and had improved neck support.

In the 1960s the M1 helmet liner was redesigned, eliminating the leather chin strap, nape strap and a change in the suspension webbing to a pattern resembling an asterisk in a coarse cotton web material in lieu of the earlier herringbone twill. In the early 1970s materials changed to a thicker, more flexible nylon with a rougher unbeveled rim. Later changes included a move to a yellow and green material for liner construction.

Cover

Around late 1942 or early 1943, the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 used a cloth camouflage-patterned cover for its helmets. The cover was made from herringbone twill
Twill
Twill is a type of textile weave with a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs . This is done by passing the weft thread over one or more warp threads and then under two or more warp threads and so on, with a "step" or offset between rows to create the characteristic diagonal pattern. Because of this...

 fabric. It had a "forest green" pattern on one side and a "brown coral island" pattern on the other.

The United States Army often utilized nets to reduce the helmets shine when wet and to allow burlap scrim or vegetation to be added for camouflage purposes. Most nets were acquired from British
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 or Canadian Army
Canadian Forces Land Force Command
The Canadian Army , previously called Land Force Command, is responsible for army operations within the Canadian Forces. The current size of the Army is 19,500 regular soldiers and 16,000 reserve soldiers, for a total of around 35,500 soldiers...

 stocks or cut from larger camouflage nets, The Army did not adopt an official issue net until the M-1944 mesh net that included a neoprene foliage band, which would have been retained on latter Mitchell and woodland camouflage covers.

After World War II, various styles of camouflage cover were used at different times. In the 1960s through 1970s, the type commonly seen in the United States Army and Marine Corps was a reversible fabric cover called the Mitchell Pattern. This type was nearly omnipresent in Vietnam
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, and where, for the first time, the army wore the cloth camouflage as general issue; whereas in World War II and the Korean War, the army traditionally wore their helmets only with nets, or just plain, without anything on it. By contrast, United States Marines have consistently worn a cloth camouflage cover over their M-1 helmets in all three major wars — World War II, Korea
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, and Vietnam. The Korean War (1950–1953) was largely fought using World War II weapons and equipment, and the Marine Corps helmets and camouflage covers were basically the same as those used during World War II. In Vietnam, the green portion of the reversible fabric camouflage was normally worn outermost. Helmet covers in the (European) woodland camouflage, were designed for fighting in the European Theater of Operations (NATO), and became the post-Vietnam (jungle pattern) camouflage cover used by the U.S. military from the late 1970s onward. The (European) Woodland pattern was not reversible; they were only printed on one side. These covers were all constructed from two semi-circular pieces of cloth stitched together to form a dome-like shape conforming to the helmet's shape. They were secured to the helmet by folding their open ends into the steel pot, and then placing the liner inside, trapping the cloth between the pot and the liner. An olive green elastic band, intended to hold additional camouflage materials, was often worn around the helmet to further hold the cover in place.

Other armies used these or similar covers printed with different camouflage patterns, or employed entirely different methods. In the Dutch Army
Royal Netherlands Army
The Royal Netherlands Army is the land forces element of the military of the Netherlands.-Short history:The Royal Netherlands Army was raised on 9 January 1814, but its origins date back to 1572, when the so-called Staatse Leger was raised...

, for example, it was common practice to use a square piece of burlap
Burlap
Hessian , or burlap in the US, is a woven fabric usually made from skin of the jute plant or sisal fibres, or may be combined with other vegetable fibres to make rope, nets, and similar products...

 as a helmet cover on M1 helmets, usually secured by a net (see above) and a wide rubber band.

During the Battle of the Bulge
Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge was a major German offensive , launched toward the end of World War II through the densely forested Ardennes mountain region of Wallonia in Belgium, hence its French name , and France and...

 and Korean War, soldiers made white helmet covers as camouflage in snowy areas. They were not issued to soldiers, so many soldiers simply made them from a white cloth from a shirt.

Air force use

With the use of the USAAF for massed daylight bombing raids over occupied Europe during World War II, flak protection against German anti-aircraft fire was developed. The first derivation of the M1 was to provide cut-outs so that it would fit over the earphones of the flying helmet. When extra metal plates were added to cover the earphones, the result was the M3. Larger ear plates and no flared lip to the helmet gave the M5.

US Navy Use

The US Navy adopted the M1 helmet as protection for its gunners, particularly those engaged in anti-aircraft weapons operation due to the expectation that gunners would be exposed to hostile machine gun fire from attacking aircraft, ordinance, as well as falling shrapnel from their own anti-aircraft fire. Such helmets were typically painted the same shade of blue, grey, or red (denoting damage control) on naval vessels.

International adoption

Several nations adopted the M1 helmet after World War II. The Dutch and Austrians, in particular, were very prolific in creating these clone helmets. Many speculate that adoption of the M1 style of helmet was due to the negative aura that surrounded the Stahlhelm
Stahlhelm
Stahlhelm is German for "steel helmet". The Imperial German Army began to replace the traditional boiled-leather Pickelhaube with the Stahlhelm during World War I in 1916...

, in addition to other more practical reasons. For reenactors with a budget and movie sets, these clone helmets are a very viable alternative to original front-seam helmets. Because of this, they are a resource that has yet to be tapped into by World War II enthusiasts. However, the shape of these helmets is slightly different than the World War II and Korean War vintage M1, and a trained eye can tell the difference. For example, the slight "S" shaped curve on the rim is more pronounced on the World War II and Korean War helmets. The visor in the front is also larger and the rim flares out more.

During the First Indochina War
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

, the U.S. Army supplied the French Union
French Union
The French Union was a political entity created by the French Fourth Republic to replace the old French colonial system, the "French Empire" and to abolish its "indigenous" status.-History:...

 and State of Vietnam
State of Vietnam
The State of Vietnam was a state that claimed authority over all of Vietnam during the First Indochina War, and replaced the Provisional Central Government of Vietnam . The provisional government was a brief transitional administration between colonial Cochinchina and an independent state...

 troops with M1 helmets, which became more common than the French Modèle 1951 helmet
Modèle 1951 helmet
The Modèle 1951 helmet was a military helmet used by the French military , iconic of the Algerian War. It replaced a variety of helmets used during the Second World War, notably the Modèle 1945 helmet and the M1 Helmet....

.

The M1 was used by the Canadian Army from 1960 to 1997, although M1 Helmets had been used in limited numbers by Canadian Forces as early as 1943. Canadian troops participating of the invasion of Kiska in the Aleutian Islands in 1943 wore US M1 helmets to avoid friendly fire incidents with US troops also participating in the operation.

Israel made extensive use of the M1 in its original form as well as updating the design with a 3-point chinstrap from the 1970s onward.

The M1 helmet was the basis for the Type 66 helmet used by the Japan Self-Defense Forces
Japan Self-Defense Forces
The , or JSDF, occasionally referred to as JSF or SDF, are the unified military forces of Japan that were established after the end of the post–World War II Allied occupation of Japan. For most of the post-war period the JSDF was confined to the islands of Japan and not permitted to be deployed...

 and despite the adoption of the newer Type 88 helmet, it still remains in use as late as 2011 with JSDF soldiers undertaking search & rescue efforts following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
The 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku, also known as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, or the Great East Japan Earthquake, was a magnitude 9.0 undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 14:46 JST on Friday, 11 March 2011, with the epicenter approximately east...

 being seen wearing Type 66 helmets.

See also

  • List of hats and headgear
  • List of uniforms and clothing of WWII
  • Type 66 Helmet (on the Japanese wikipedia)
  • Iraqi M80 Helmet
    Iraqi M80 Helmet
    The Iraqi M80 Helmet is a military helmet made of compressed canvas used by the Iraqi Armed Forces from the early 1980s onwards. They were used in the Iran-Iraq War, The Gulf War/Operation Desert Storm and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq/Operation Iraqi Freedom...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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