British Mk. 2 Helmet Net 1942 to August 1945

Big Red here with a question from "Doug Neidermeyer"...


 Doug asks,


"Big Red, you talked about the nets the Army issued to the troops but what about the ones you always see in period photographs and films. You know, like the ones the troops are wearing in all the Normandy D-Day pictures? And why do collectors call it a Type 2 net?"


Good to hear from you Doug!


Since we have been talking about camouflaging the M-1 helmet in WWII, we already know it was applied for two reasons,

  1. To disguise the helmets distinctive outline.
  2. To prevent reflective glare.

Although the Quartermaster Corps (QMC) began addressing this issue as early as 1942, the troops in the field were not in a position to wait so they improvised. Soldiers painted their helmets with whatever paint was available and began acquiring whatever nets they could get their hands on. Two of the most common nets that the American GI acquired were cut down sections of vehicle camouflage netting and nets made for the British Mk. 2 or “Tommy” helmet.

It is interesting that you mention the Normandy Invasion Doug because, the Mk. 2 net was so widely distributed to American troops during the build up that after the images of the landings were released to the American public the British Mk. 2. net stretched over the M-1 helmet became synonymous with the WWII GI.






As mentioned,
the British Mk. 2 net was made for the British Mk. 2 helmet.







These nets were made of cotton woven in a ¾ inch pattern that included an interwoven drawstring intended to secure the net under the helmet’s brim. These nets were dyed a solid color that varied in shade from khaki tan to dark olive green. 

The Mk. 2 performed a decent job of reducing glare on the M-1 helmet however, the net was difficult to fit over the M-1 helmet’s deep pot shape and consequently the net stretched into a distinctive “Diamond” shaped pattern, when forced over the helmet, that prevented the net from being able to break up the silhouette.

 "Why do collectors call it a Type 2 net?"

When those in the Army concerned with a solution for camouflaging the M-1 helmet decided that netting was the best solution, they needed to pick the best net for the job. The Army Ground Forces performed field tests on various types of netting material in order to make this decision. One of the first netting materials submitted for testing was a tight ¼ inch pattern weave suggested by the Engineer Corps as their choice as the best for use with the M-1 helmet. This was referred to during testing as the “Type 1”. The British Mk. 2 was currently the most common net in use so it was added to the test as a control and was referred to as the “Type 2” net. Other materials and patterns were tested but ultimately the decision was made to go with the Type 1 net which would later become the “Net, Helmet, with Band 1944”.

Well Doug, I hope that clears things up a little.

and remember...

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

Big Red Says!


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