Big Red here with a question from "Boomer Nelson"...
So, TAKE FIVE!
"Big Red, I found this odd net at a swap meet the other day and my buddy called it a "Kelley's Heroes" net. I have no idea what he means, could you explain?"
Good to hear from you Boomer, and thanks for asking.
What you found there is actually a Commando Helmet Net. This was a British manufactured net designed specifically for use with the M-1 helmet. It was made from cotton woven to form a ¾ x ½ inch rectangular pattern that was dyed a dark olive drab green.
The net had a drawstring that ran the front of the helmet’s shell while drawing the rear of the net in tight at the back of the helmet. When done properly, the way in which the drawstring was interwoven cinched the net up forming it to the helmet from the back moving forward causing the sides to bunch up into a rosette. The gathering of the net, just above the chin strap loops of the helmet body, created a distinctive pinwheel pattern which fanned out in both directions from the rosette.
The net was issued with a two-sided tag.
Once installed, being secured from the rear only, the net could be worn sandwiched both front and back between the steel helmet body and the liner or the front could be left free to form a veil over the face.
The Commando Helmet Net saw limited use with GIs during WWII, the majority of period photographic evidence indicating that it saw most of its service with American soldiers in the Pacific Theater.
Although the Commando Helmet Net was not a common feature for the M-1 during the war, it is relatively common in WWII movies filmed during the 1960s in countries that received a significant amount of Allied surplus to help re-build their post war military. One of these countries, Yugoslavia, was chosen as the location for a popular 1970 film, starring Clint Eastwood, called Kelley’s Heroes.
The success of this film, with its all star cast wearing M-1 helmets that prominently displayed the Commando Helmet Net, is the reason many collectors refer to this net as a “Kelley’s Heroes” net.
A quick collector tip on this net Boomer,
The Commando Helmet Net quickly fades in sunlight from its original olive drab green to a pink salmon color. If you want to display a helmet with this net be careful where you place it in your display room and don’t leave it out where the sun will change its color.