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Painted WWII Firestone M1 Helmet Liner

Discussion in 'Military Surplus' started by coolhandluke, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke Sharpshooter

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    I picked up the Firestone liner in the photos below yesterday for $20. I figured that was a fair price since the suspension was in good condition and it was only missing the chin strap and sweatband. The interior of the liner was dirt encrusted to the point that the fiberglass pattern wasn't visible, but it cleaned up well. I have heard others reference blue painted liners as primarily being used by drill sergeants, but the insignia looks like it is Air Corp related. What is really confusing to me is that the shield in the insignia looks similar to a German flag. Anyone have any ideas as to it's origin? I have tried to post over on US Militaria Forum, but the mods must not be very active. I have registered twice, and both times my account has not been activated afterwards.

    Here are a few pics...

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  2. SMS

    SMS Sharpshooter

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    Almost certainly an old air corps or early Air Force emblem, could be a MAJCOM or unit logo...good research project. I guess it could be something foreign, but it has a U.S. 'feel' to it.
     
  3. WTJ

    WTJ Sharpshooter

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    With that color scheme, you might try early USAF Air Police units. The blue liner with white band was common for APs, as their hat covers were white. If you look at the movie Strategic Air Command, I think you will see very similar headgear on the Security Response Force personnel.
     
  4. flatwins

    flatwins Sharpshooter

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    Very nice. This is no intent to threadjack but your post has prompted me to get the helmets out that were given to me by my great-grandmother. These belonged to my great-uncle Clarence Leachman and I'd like to find out more about them. CHL (or anyone else), if you could tell me what to look for in the way of identifying marks I would appreciate it.

    Here's the US shell and liner plus a German helmet he picked off the battlefield.

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    Here's the inside of the German helmet and I have what's left of the original chin strap. The one currently on it is a replacement. As the story goes the helmet still had some remains in it when my uncle picked it up. He was never 100% after the war, understandably so.

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  5. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke Sharpshooter

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    Flatwins...the insignia painted on your liner (golden acorn) belongs to the 87th Infantry Division. I guessing that you may have already known this though since it was probably your Uncle's outfit. The makers marking for the liner will be stamped inside the liner normally in the center crown area. There were several manufacturers...Firestone, Westinghouse, CAPAC, Inland etc. Is the leather chin strap still there? I think that I can spot it laying in the center of the liner. If so, it can attach to the studs on the sides of the inner liner and be rotated up and over the shell brim when installed into the shell.

    Does the shell have fixed or swivel bales? Fixed bales are early variants and much more rare than the mid to late war swivel bale versions. The shell was most likely manufactured by McCord since they made something like 90% of WWII era helmets. If there is an S on underside of the brim, it is Schlueter manufactured.

    Here is a picture of a McCord front seam swivel bale shell that I picked up for $20 from a guy on Craiglist with several M1 shells. The chin straps are missing, but the shell is in pretty good condition with a decent amount of corking still left on the finish. I found a company that makes some very nice quality repro helmet and liner parts so I'm going to at least buy a set of sew on chin straps for the shell and leather chinstrap for the liner.

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    I will defer to everyone else on the German helmet. I know next to nothing about German militaria.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
  6. rhodesbe

    rhodesbe Sharpshooter

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    After spending an entire morning looking at insignia and patch sites, WTJ's guess seems to be plausible.


    The blue shield and upswept wings are 100% USAAC/USAF

    Blue liner/white band was AP

    The 'Germany flag scheme -black,red,yellow-' could place it with 406th?
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  7. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke Sharpshooter

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    Awesome...very nice find. I think that you guys are on to something. I will check out the Air Corp 406th and see what I can turn up.
     
  8. flatwins

    flatwins Sharpshooter

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    CHL, thanks very much for the information! I had honestly never taken the time to look some of this stuff up and my uncle has been gone over 25 years now. I didn't even know his Division so thank you for that. The shell has fixed bales and the liner is made by Firestone. If the leather chin strap is a relatively thin and narrow piece of leather than yes, I have it.

    So restoration parts are available for the liners? I would be interested in knowing more about that. Thank you again!

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  9. WTJ

    WTJ Sharpshooter

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    Tell you what, you may be on to something with the colors. No doubt the patch heraldry points to USAAC/AAF/AF and the colors point to Germany. I would look for early USAF units, based on the overall color scheme, assigned to FGR around 47-50 "Berlin Airlift" time frame. Possibly one of the ABWs assigned to the Constabulary.
     
  10. WTJ

    WTJ Sharpshooter

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