Thursday, December 1, 2011

M1 Helmet Liner Video


Last week I posted a Youtube on my M1 helmet collection.

Yesterday I did a companion video on the M1 helmet liner, showcasing 14 liners that are marked, including  military police, and divisional markings.

You can link to it here.

I hope you enjoy it.


1 comment:

Bill Befort said...

So far I haven't found a website that adequately addresses the distinction between the US WW2 helmet liner and the replacement that came along in about 1965. I wore both types as an infantry soldier in Korea in 1965 and in Vietnam in 1967. The major difference was in the suspension system.

The two liners were interchangeable in terms of how they fitted the M1 helmet. The Wikipedia entry on M1 helmets says (or used to say) that the Vietnam-era helmet was differently shaped than the WW2 helmet, but as far as my experience goes there was no difference, and there was never any problem of matching liners to helmets.

Aside from the minor differences in fittings so important to collectors, the real distinction between the two was in the orientation of the suspension (and therefore the helmet) to the wearer's head. The WW2 liner was intended to carry the helmet low on the head with the rear rim down near the nape of the neck -- hence the permanently fitted nape strap. If the suspension was adjusted as designed, so the sweatband encircled the brows just above the ears and kept the helmet securely attached to the head, the fit of the helmet was much deeper than most GIs would put up with. (For one thing, it interfered with hearing.) But if the wearer tightened the crown of the suspension to move the helmet higher on the head, the sweatband rode well above the ears and failed to keep the helmet firmly on the head. Alternatively, the wearer could lower the rear portion of the sweatband by clipping it to the nape strap, but in this position the sweatband could not be tightened sufficiently, so the same problem resulted. (Of course we could have fastened our chinstraps, but that was out of the question.)

Anyhow, the big deal with the 1965 liner (besides the shell being actual fiberglass and not the WW2 composite stuff) was that the plane of the sweatband in the liner was altered to correspond to the way GIs actually wore the helmet. The helmet could now be positioned higher on the head and the sweatband would still encircle your head low enough to keep it in position, plus the new occipital strap in back made it even more secure. This is why you don't see Vietnam GIs always having to hold their helmets on when they're dashing from position to position, the way they had to with the WW2 style liner.

It was a genuine improvement in function, but I never see any credit given for it.