American experimental helmets from WWI

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American experimental helmets from WWI

Berichtdoor Tandorini » 05 jan 2012, 21:17

When the United States entered the First World War on the side of the Allies in 1917, the major powers of Europe had been fighting for nearly three years. In that time, the front lines on the Western Front had become nearly static, with trenches that stretched from Switzerland in the south to the English Channel in the north. This environment had caused the combatant armies to adapt their weapons and equipment. One such piece, the steel helmet, was born out of this necessity.

When the first American units arrived “over there,” they did so with steel helmets! But, as with much of the equipment that the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) used, the doughboys’ “tin hats” were of either French or British manufacture. Even though some units, notably ambulance drivers and the all-black 93rd Division, wore French-produced Model 1915 “Adrian” helmets (or modified M1917 helmets that took on the shape of the Adrian), the Americans ultimately adopted the British MkI steel helmet. Dubbed the “Model 1917,” domestic production began to supply each doughboy with his own, “American-made” helmet. Despite the adoption of the British design and limited use of the French helmets, American military planners were already working on an original American helmet. The results that followed have been christened as “experimental” helmets by collectors today.

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