U.S. Navy Steel Helmet Mk. II

Big Red here with a question from Bosun Benny Suggs...


Benny asks,

"Big Red, why don't you tell us what you know about those cool 'Darth Vader' helmets the Navy used in WWII?"

Great suggestion Benny,

Scuttlebutt has it the Navy had trouble getting the new M-1 helmet to fit over the telephone headsets they used on deck. The Navy's Ordnance Department sketched out their ideas on a napkin and gave it to a sculptor in Detroit by the name of Beaver.

That's right boys and girls....

When it came time to develop a new deck helmet design the Navy chose to "Leave it to Beaver" 

Beaver sculpted a full size helmet that would fit over the Navy's headsets and took the design over to McCord Radiator. McCord's engineers figured out how to press the helmet body out of manganese steel. Between 1942 and 1945 they made 400,000 of what they called "special Navy helmets" which would become known as the U.S. Navy Mk. - 2.

The Mk. - 2 was specifically designed for Naval telephone talkers to use in fixed battle stations.

The outside of the helmet had the same cork texture as the M-1 and was originally painted the same color.

Later the helmet would be painted inside and out in Navy "deck blue" but retained the cork outer finish.

The helmet was intended to be one size fits all with a rubber inside liner. The liner was hour glass shaped to fit over the wearer's headset. It was made from a product called "Foamex" that was supplied by Firestone Tire and Rubber. The pad was covered in fabric or rubberized fabric and glued directly to the inside of the helmet shell.

The chinstrap was made from horsehide to better survive in the salt water environment. It was adjustable and was attached, through two holes punched to either side, to the helmet body by a wire sling. This was done to prevent a sailor from having their neck broken if the helmet was thrown backward by a strong explosion allowing the chinstrap to break away.

The Mk. - 2 had a lot and lift number just like the M-1 but also contained stamped markings in black or white with variations of U.S.N., Mk. 2 and a stylized Firestone "F".

And Benny, if your friends want to know how you gained your intel, tell em

Big Red Says!


1 comment

  • Gavin

    G’day guys from down under. I have 2 of these helmets and both have the rubber liner badly rotted out. Does anybody make an accurate reproduction of theiner? Thanks guys, G

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