Big Red here with a question from "Lloyd Dobler"...
So, TAKE FIVE!
“Big Red, If bigger electrodes and longer weld cycles “Fixed” the fixed bail problem, why did the Army stop using them?”
Excellent question Lloyd,
Altering the equipment and duration of the welding cycle eliminated the tendency for the helmet body to form a crack between the feet of the loops but did not address any of the other issues that arose from the application of the early chin strap loop design.
The idea of the fixed position loop wasn’t a bad one and, if done correctly, it was entirely possible to form a good weld between the stainless steel loop and the manganese of the helmet body. However, Chin strap loops regularly broke away from the helmet body, often with little resistance, due to poor welding technique.
The main problem stemmed from the relatively small area of the contact surfaces between the metals that fused together combined with poor technique in the application of the welds.
Today with all the automated technology we have it is easy to forget that during the time the M-1 helmet was fabricated, labor was cheap while automation, if it existed, was extremely expensive. Period photographs from McCord Radiator indicate that the wire loop was placed in a small jig over which a helmet body, immediately after receipt of it’s edging, was secured by small clips. The operator then applied the two necessary welds without the benefit of being able to see the feet of the loops in relation to the helmet body.
The feet of the wire loops provided to fabricators were not always perfect or uniform and the operator having to rely on the jigs ability to hold the loop in position, without visual confirmation, meant that many spot welds actually did not line up with the feet of the loop.
A quick visual review of the feet of the earliest McCord applied loops as compared to the larger feet of latter McCord helmets or even the larger feet of the wire loops applied by Schlueter, clearly show an attempt to address this issue.
Adding to the fun is the fact that, just as the helmet body could form a crack due to a “notch effect” so could the weld nugget applied to a loop. Service failure of the weld nugget applied to fixed position loops occurred due to incorrect application of time and temperature during the welding process resulting in cracks within the fusion zone of the weld.
Countless Arsenal reports allude to the difficulty in attaining consistent solid contact between the feet of the loop and the helmet body as well as achieving optimum time and temperature during the welding process. Truthfully, the skill level needed to consistently position and correctly weld the fixed position loops in a manner that would guarantee there would not be a failure in service was not available or economically feasible at the time. Ordnance needed a new loop design that would be easy to install correctly and difficult to damage in service.
Big Red Says!
FIVE'S OVER - MOVE OUT!
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