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Book Review: M-1 Helmet of the WW2 US GI

by Chris Hughes (01/08/08).

I’ve been visiting Peter Oosterman’s site (www.m-1helmet.com) for a while because, in my opinion, it is the nicest looking militaria-related site on the web. When I heard he was publishing a book on M1 helmets, I was eager to purchase a copy. My expectations were high because the book cost $119.90 (including international postage), but it ended up being money well spent.

M1 Helmets is hard cover with nice binding, excellent quality paper, and top-notch printing. The layout and photography are exceptional. It is written in French and English and easy to follow with 319 pages.

The first half of the book provides details and history about the M1 helmet shell, liner, and components without being text heavy. The second half is called “museum” and features amazing examples of M1 headgear. Most of the helmets are well researched with excellent provenance. I value this book because it is a go to reference that consolidates details that have been discussed and published elsewhere. The museum portion of the book is a wonderful bonus in that you have multiple-view images of helmets most of us will never own in our collections. These are cream of the crop M1 helmets including camos, unit marks, and airborne configurations.

Overall the book is excellent, but I was disappointed the author only discussed fixed bale helmets and left out swivel bales. He also did not weigh in on the ongoing front seam / rear seam debate regarding when the changeover took place, etc. The author did an excellent job verifying contract dates for many other helmet features that I assumed he would have insight to provide for this. Hopefully, his book will be successful enough to merit a follow up that includes these missing subjects and more.

M1 Helmet of the WW2 US GI is available for purchase at www.m-1helmet.com.

Chris Hughes is a WorthPoint Worthologist specializing in 20th century militaria and the owner of Rally Point Militaria and Vietnam Uniform – Military Collectibles sites.

2 Responses to “Book Review: M-1 Helmet of the WW2 US GI”

  1. Chris Hughes says:

    I have attached Pieter Oosterman’s emailed response to my review of his book.

    “Thanks so much for your great review of my M-1 HELMET book. To make the book was a labor of love. I am happy you enjoy it.

    There are several reasons why I didn’t include the swivel bale helmet in the book. The main reason being the fact I don’t care too much about the swivel bale helmet (although I do have a couple of marked swivel bales in my collection). I am very interested in the development of the M-1 helmet, the liners in particular and all the variations. When the M-1 helmet reached its final stage, about mid 1943, besides the introduction of the swivel bales nothing changed really. Plus I think that most ETO used helmets are fixed bales. I just don’t find the discussions about the actual introduction of the swivel bale, magnese rim and rear seam very interesting. Besides all this there simply wasn’t enough room in the book to include the swivel bale. I did not want to sacrifice any parts of the fixed bale helmet because my intention was to put that down good and complete.

    But who knows……”

  2. Russ Cross says:

    Thanks for your review of the “M1 Helmet” book. I have a M1 helmet that my uncle Leo Kanawyer, 1st Calvary Division, brought back from the Phillipines at the end of WW2 and gave to me (I was about 5years old at the time. It has the 1st Cav emblem on the steel helmet and also on the liner. I’ve had the helmet for about 60 years now and it is in great shape. I learned while researching helmets on eBay that there is a number on the inside of the steel pot which can be used to determine the date of manufacture, however I don’t know the code. My helmet is stamped 781B…would you know what that code would tell me about when the helmet was made? Thanks for any help you could provide and thanks for the great review (I think I may have to buy that book!!)

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