American army helmets from WW2 are a hugely interesting subject, especially given the range of variation. The main variations in American helmets come from markings; most infantry, special forces or airforce units had their own. Be that the US Rangers with the diamond on the rear or the airborne with markings on either side, through to most infantry and tank regiments that had the marking high and centre on the front. This makes the subject very interesting to collectors and historians alike. Here we will explore some US Army WW2 M1 helmets for sale, including some interesting variations.
WW2 American Army M1 Helmet with NCO Stripe
We start with the classic ‘Saving Private Ryan’ Non-Commissioned Officer’s (NCO) ‘follow me’ stripe on the rear of the helmet. This mark was used specifically for invasions and amphibious landings. The idea was that soldiers landing in the second and third wave could see the rear of the officers’ helmets ahead of them. This meant they would know which soldier to follow up the beach, hence the name. A horizontal strip on the helmet indicates an NCO and a vertical stripe would be a commissioned officer.
This helmet in particular was found in Carentan, Normandy and is in overall lovely condition with a lot of paint still intact, including the ‘follow me’ bar painted in white. As often happened with American army helmets after WW2, the helmet has had 4 holes drilled in the sides and one in the top. This has likely been for a local family to use it as a hanging plant pot. This just adds to the helmet’s great Normandy history.
This helmet is currently available for sale by VIGO MILITARIA in the UK for £425
Complete American Army 2nd Lieutenant M1 Helmet with Liner
Continuing with the theme of officers, this nearly untouched American army officers helmet is a beautiful example. The helmet is a fixed-bail, front-seam McCord helmet with heat stamp code 213A, meaning it was manufactured in September 1942. Finding markings in this kind of condition is very difficult. The lieutenant bars are stencilled onto the front of both the liner and helmet shell and remain bright even after 80 years, making this a great display item. MSA marked, the liner was manufactured by Mine Safety Appliances, which is a relatively rare maker to find.
Overall, this is a brilliant item. Finding matching sets of helmet and its liner is hard enough, but finding a matching M1 officer’s helmet is even harder. Even the chinstraps are in top condition, so this is the complete package.
Available today for sale from Selles Military Antiques in Normandy, France for €1,275.
WW2 American M1 Fixed-Bail, Front-Seam Army Helmet
This is a lovely complete example of an Army M1. Untouched, with its original paint finish still intact. Its tan chinstraps are originally stitched as well. The helmet is complete with the early 1st pattern liner, which uses the rayon webbing straps that were also used on the Hawley liners. This particular example has a Westinghouse Electric Company liner, denoted by the W in an oval on the inside of the liner. The Westinghouse liners are some of the most popular with collectors these days.
Fixed-bail, front-seam helmets were produced between 1941 and 1943, meaning that helmets like this one would have taken part in most American army combat areas during WW2. If you are after the classic American combat helmet, this is for you!
Available today for sale from Battleflag Militaria in the UK for £595
American Army WW2 M1 Combat Helmet with Rare Hawley Liner
Earlier I discussed the variations of American M1 helmets and here we have one of the rarer ones. Made out of pressed cardboard with a fabric layer for waterproofing, the Hawley liner was born. Originally starting production in late 1941, the contract ran until 1942 when its production ceased. There were issues with the liner getting wet and beginning to deteriorate, plus in the meantime, the more plasticised liner had been designed.
What this means is that the Hawley liner is a rare item to find. Not many were produced, and even fewer survived vigorous use. The example we have below is in good overall condition. Plus interestingly, it is named to a soldier “Blanchard” on the inside. Well worth some research!
Available today for sale from Clements Militaria in The Netherlands for €1,200
American Army Helmet Painted as Display Item
Now this is a different idea. This helmet is a post-WW2 US army helmet for sale as a display item, having been hand painted. So to explain; the model of helmet dates it after WW2 and the chinstrap configuration and the rim’s seam being on the rear support this. However, from the outside it looks very similar to a wartime helmet. Hence, it’s a great item to have been painted up for display.
The paintwork depicts a Sherman tank under an American flag. Ideal as a gift for a young collector or just as an interesting display item. Sometimes it’s just nice to have an unusual item in our posts!
Available for sale by The Militaria Shop in the UK for £120.
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