[REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

View previous topic View next topic Go down

[REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  Guest on Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:13 am

Hi all,

As per Sam's request, here is a thread detailing the two variants of helmets used by the US Paratrooper during WW2. I hope that this will serve as a guide when purchasing, re-texturing or painting your helmets, as I plan to include details such as helmet colour, texture and liner details here. As with all the other topics in this Forum, please feel free to add, correct or comment on its contents!

Cheers,
Ben.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

M2 Helmet Shell

Post  Guest on Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:14 pm

The M2 Helmet was the first variant of Airborne-specific helmet configuration. This particular post will detail the Shell of the M2 only. The M2 shell is a standard McCord Radiator Company produced pot with spot-welded, half-rounded chin strap loops (C-loops) in place of the standard square fixed bales. This enabled the steel shell chin strap to be placed at the rear of the shell for the jump, as the complete helmet would now be held on the head by the improved liner chinstrap.

The chinstrap loops on standard M1 Helmets is produced from stainless steel, and hence does not rust. However, the C-loops on an M2 are made from standard steel wire, thinner than stainless steel square loops, and were spot welded directly to the shell. This particular design proved to be very fragile in the field since the loops extended beyond the rim of the Shell. As such, re-welds, repairs and modifications are often seen in the field.

All other remarks are identical to looking at a standard M1 Shell - for example the Chinstrap should be constructed from 11 rows (identified when counting the indents on the strap material) produced from 3 yarns. Chinstraps on the M2 were Bar Tacked to the loop as was the case with the standard M1 Shell, but this was later changed in the M1C version (see later posts).

The following photograph comparison shows an original C-Loop on an M2 Shell, compared to one of the reproductions of Josh Murray. I'll try and identify the positive and negative points of the reproduction after the illustration (original example at left, reproduction at right):



Positive points of Josh Murray Inc. Reproduction:
- C-Loops are correctly sized and positioned.
- Loops are attached using correct spot-weld.
- Regular steel wire C-Loops.
- 11 bar Chinstrap.
- Original front seam shell.
- Good color (both inside and out).

Negative points of Josh Murray Inc. Reproduction:
- Chinstrap material is slightly too course.
- Texturing on outside of shell is too course for a McCord Shell.

The following photographs are posted for comparison. In all cases, the J. M. Inc. example is shown on the right, and the original on the left:


Photograph showing colour comparison of a J.M. shell and an original with 90% finish and paint.


Close-up illustration showing original finish on the left, and reproduction texturing by Josh Murray on the right. The colour difference can also be seen here.


Detailed photograph comparing and original helmet chinstrap with the Josh Murray reproduction. As can be seen the material is much courser.


It should be noted now, that not all M2 shells featured the iconic C-Loop. These were also produced with the standard "square" bale.

I'll now move on to the liner next.

Cheers,
Ben.


Last edited by BenM on Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:39 pm; edited 2 times in total

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

M2 Liner

Post  Guest on Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:54 pm

In order to withstand the initial prop blast from the C-47 propellers, and to ensure that it did not work loose during the descent, the standard M1 liner also received a number of modifications. Contrary to common belief, the components were not added to new liners; instead they were retrospectively added to existing liners by means of a conversion. Conversions were manufactured by McCord Radiator (a shell manufacturer) from Hawley fiber liners, Saint-Clair low-pressure liners and later from Inland high-pressure liners. No other liner variants were used to produce M2 liners during WW2. That having been said, there is evidence which shows some very early converted Westinghouse liners (featuring the larger cast buckles, covered later) also having been used in some M2s in Normandy.

The modifications that the liners received were the iconic inverted A-Frames, and two female press studs situated between the chinstrap fixing and rim. The following photographs details precisely these modifications, as well as some comparative shots with my Josh Murray liner.


Crown markings of the various Liner Manufacturers that were converted to M2 liners by the McCord Radiator Company.


The A-Frames were constructed from thin OD#3 webbing, approximately 0.6" wide. Each set of straps was fixed inside the liner using one of the rivets of the headband suspension, and one of thiose used on the nape band suspension. This process can clearly be seen on M2-converted Inland produced liners, since the four rivets that McCord replaced are not the same shade OD as the other Inland-fitted rivets. The replacement is, however, more difficult to see on Hawley and Saint-Clair conversions, since all final riveting was performed by McCord.



In the comparative shot above, we can see an original A-Frame and Buckle assembly inside a Hawley converted liner, and on the right the Josh Murray reproduction. In this picture, the female press-studs are also clearly visible, and their position compared. The Murray liner has a good A-Frame assembly, and the press-stud is in the correct position.



The photograph above shows a colour comparison of an original Inland liner (left) and the Josh Murray reproduction. As can be seen the colour of the original is a slightly different shade.

Perhaps one of the most iconic components of the M2 helmet amongst re-enactors is the leather Chincup which was added in order to secure the liner and shell to the Parachutist's head. The photograph below compares an original (top) to one of Josh Murray's reproductions:



As can be seen, the J Murray reproduction is slightly longer, but at least contains the correct number of holes (5). I suspect that the reproduction has been made longer to accommodate for the larger heads of re-enactors, so I don't think it's any bad thing. The molding is brilliant, and the chamois covering is also a good match for that used on the original.

So, in summary, I don't think that one can go far wrong with a J Murray reproduction. The only caveat is that he doesn't use original Inland liners, but rather more common ones for producing his parachutist conversions. I don't think we can moan though, since Inland liners are rare, and most of them are worth more with their original M1 configuration than one which has been converted to a Parachutist's liner!

For reference, I will post up some data about the M1C Helmet, introduced in December 1944.

Cheers,
Ben.


Last edited by BenM on Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:45 pm; edited 1 time in total

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: [REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  Gina_Costina on Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:04 pm

Brilliant-thanks for the time you are taking to do all this. I'm wondering if we could make this a thread open to all, not just members?
avatar
Gina_Costina

Posts : 6845
Points : 7599
Reputation : 90
Join date : 2008-05-12
Age : 53

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: [REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  Guest on Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:16 pm

No problem Paul, the pleasure's all mine. Please feel free to open it up to everyone, it's your choice mate Smile

Cheers,
Ben.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: [REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  samharris45 on Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:51 am

Further to the helmet liner pics that Ben posted up. I thought that this picture may be of interest to show the differant logos as used by helmet manufacturers during WW2.



As Ben has said not every helemt company made the Para Specific liners but this would be a good referance for anyone buying a liner of ebad or else where.

Sam
avatar
samharris45

Posts : 6025
Points : 6025
Reputation : 50
Join date : 2008-05-13
Age : 30
Location : Nottingham

View user profile http://www.wwiireenactor.com

Back to top Go down

Re: [REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  Guest on Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:53 pm

Thanks for posting those Sam - just bear in mind though that they're only the High Pressure Liner manufacturers! It's also worthy of note that towards the end of war, Inland sold all of its molding equipment and tooling to Firestone, and so a few examples of liners can be seen that are supposedly "double stamped" - they bear the ghost of the old Inland crown marking, as well as a more crisp Firestone logo.

I have just corrected a few of the typopraphical errors in the above posts, and added a few tidbits of information. I plan on finalizing this Article tonight, with a write-up about the M2's successor, the M1C.

Thanks,
Ben.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: [REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  samharris45 on Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:40 pm

Yer that it true mate.

If pics can be got of 'bad' repro examples as well then pics would be good to post up so potential buyers can avoid buying them.

I saw a double stamped liner on ebad a year or so back was tempted but went for a bloody lot of money!!!!!!

Ben do you have a top pots helmet to compare to. From what I have heard they are good but I prefer J Murray's.
avatar
samharris45

Posts : 6025
Points : 6025
Reputation : 50
Join date : 2008-05-13
Age : 30
Location : Nottingham

View user profile http://www.wwiireenactor.com

Back to top Go down

M1C Shell

Post  Guest on Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:56 pm

As explained above, the M2 Parachutist Helmet was officially succeed by the M1C in December, 1944. This particular post details the specifics to look out for on M1C shells. As can be expected, these were much later war, and perhaps issued to new replacements in January and February, 1945.

Perhaps the biggest difference in the shells was the fact that the fragile C-Loops were replaced by the more versatile swivel chinstrap loops. These had been introduced on standard M1 shells by this time too, and proved to be a far better design (indeed, still in use in the 1980s). The photograph below shows the flexible chinstrap loop on my M1C shell:



In addition to the swivel bale, the stitching used to secure the chinstrap to the loop itself was improved in this later model of helmet. The following illustration shows an M2 chinstrap (left) compared with an M1C chinstrap (right). Although the size of the image makes it difficult (I'll try and prepare a higher resolution version), you should be able to see that the M2 chinstrap is secured to the loop with a single bartack stitch above the loop, whereas the M1C chinstrap is bartacked both above and beneath the bale, thus creating a loop around the wire.



Since the M1C was a later variant of helmet, it also featured the later metalware. The photograph below shows the development of the standard chinstrap buckle, with earliest on the left and the latest (M1C) on the right:



This concludes my post on the M1C shell, and hopefully tomorrow night I can write a final post on this thread about the later pattern Parachutist liner, the Westinghouse manufactured variant.

Thanks,
Ben.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Westinghouse Parachutist Liners

Post  Guest on Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:18 pm

As promised, here follows the concluding section of the M1C Helmet discussion. This one will deal with the later war Westinghouse manufactured Parachutist's liner. As detailed earlier in this post, Westinghouse Parachutist Liners were the first scratch built jump liners of WW2. They were assembled from raw components on special assembly lines at the Westinghouse factory.

The general suspension and positioning of the female snaps was virtually identical to the earlier manufactured Parachutist Liners, although there are a number of differences which identify a Westinghouse liner from other variants (beside the crown marking, of course). The illustration below shows the crown marking for a Westinghouse Para' liner (see Sam's earlier post detailing the various manufacturers' crown markings):



The major difference between the Westinghouse and earlier Inland liners was the material from which the inverted A-Frames were produced, and the chin cup buckle. Hopefully the following illustration will demonstrate both of these points (explanation to follow):



As can be seen from the above photograph, the material used to produce the A-Frame is OD #7, as opposed to the earlier OD #3 material. It is also clear that the weave is far courser. A supposed method of telling an original Westinghouse A-Frame from the reproductions which are around today is that when the material begins to fray, it should produce an OD #3 (or least lighter than OD #7) material along the fray, as can be seen in the illustration above.

In September 1943, chin cup buckles were cast from an alloy of iron and aluminum, and finished in an eggshell green paint. This particular buckle type is only seen on Westinghouse liners. However, it should be noted that this particular pattern of buckle, but painted black continued to be used post-war until it was replaced with the wire framed buckle once again.

Production of M1C liners continued long in to the 1970s and 1980s, following the natural evolution of the M1 helmet. Shortly after the war, Westinghouse, Firestone and Capac continued to produce high-pressure Parachutist Liners. However, these differ from those manufactured during WW2, since the A Frames were riveted directly to the liner, as opposed to being placed underneath two of the liner's suspension 'A-washers.' Unfortunately, I don't have one of these examples in my collection to photograph for this thread, so I have 'borrowed' the following illustration from a post-war Para' liner for sale at Richard Williams' War Relics website:



I hope that the above will be of some use when putting an impression together. If there's anything that I have missed out, or that you think might be a useful addition, please let me know!

Sam -I'm afraid I don't have additional reproductions to compare these to (beside my very first Belgian re-enactment liner!) I wonder if anyone else could add to this?

Cheers,
Ben.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: [REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  Gina_Costina on Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:52 pm

Brilliant stuff!
avatar
Gina_Costina

Posts : 6845
Points : 7599
Reputation : 90
Join date : 2008-05-12
Age : 53

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: [REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  samharris45 on Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:52 pm

Ben I will see if I can look on ebad or the net and find some 'bad' examples!

Sam
avatar
samharris45

Posts : 6025
Points : 6025
Reputation : 50
Join date : 2008-05-13
Age : 30
Location : Nottingham

View user profile http://www.wwiireenactor.com

Back to top Go down

Re: [REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  murph on Sun Jul 04, 2010 6:28 pm

Ben or anyone else in the know.

I need to source the helmet mesh as favoured by the 101st (had one but I don't know where it is!). Was it the 1/2 inch olive drab type as featured on the J Murray website? Do you know if anyone in the UK is selling the same?

Thanks.


_________________
Murphette

murph

Posts : 5948
Points : 5962
Reputation : 99
Join date : 2008-06-01
Age : 47
Location : Nottingham

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: [REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  Guest on Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:28 pm

Murph, it is indeed the 1/2" net as shown on Josh's site. I think SoF had them in stock, but I don't know of anyone else to be honest. If you need one in a hurry (i.e. for Stavely) and get across to Boston, let me know as you can borrow one of ours. If need be, I could stick it in the post too.

Cheers,
Ben.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: [REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  murph on Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:45 pm

BenM wrote:Murph, it is indeed the 1/2" net as shown on Josh's site. I think SoF had them in stock, but I don't know of anyone else to be honest. If you need one in a hurry (i.e. for Stavely) and get across to Boston, let me know as you can borrow one of ours. If need be, I could stick it in the post too.

Cheers,
Ben.

No I don't need it in a hurry thanks for the offer though. Just checked and SOF are claiming to have them in stock at 6 so just ordered one. BTW their 101st raw edge insignia are up to scratch as well guys if anyone needs one or two or three.

_________________
Murphette

murph

Posts : 5948
Points : 5962
Reputation : 99
Join date : 2008-06-01
Age : 47
Location : Nottingham

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: [REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  Vic on Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:07 pm

Top stuff Ben
avatar
Vic

Posts : 429
Points : 484
Reputation : 1
Join date : 2010-03-04
Age : 53
Location : Birmingham

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: [REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  Bazooka Joe on Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:46 pm

Excellent thread! Would anyone be interested in seeing a fixed bale M2 by Lawdog Steel Helmets?
avatar
Bazooka Joe

Posts : 38
Points : 47
Reputation : 7
Join date : 2010-02-10
Location : Denmark

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: [REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  Guest on Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:08 pm

Yeah, sure. Please share this one with us.

By the way, if it's simply a fixed loop (and not a C-Loop) then it's an M1C. Only the C-loop (or D-Bale) is the M2!

Cheers,
Ben.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: [REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  Bazooka Joe on Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:43 pm

In that case it's an M1C!

Complete helmet (avec net)


Shell and liner


Inside of liner (Capac)







avatar
Bazooka Joe

Posts : 38
Points : 47
Reputation : 7
Join date : 2010-02-10
Location : Denmark

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: [REF] M2 and M1C Parachutist Helmets

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum