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big-red-says

Do M1 helmets have Bails, Bales or Loops?

Big Red

Big Red here with a question from Quinton McStink,

So, TAKE FIVE!

Quinton asks...

"Big Red, I was wondering are the chin straps on my helmet attached to bails, bales or loops?"

Well Quint, wonder no more.

Documentation that has survived from the Ordnance Department, manufacturing facilities and reports from Army Arsenals varied at times with nomenclature but the most common reference is "loops". The first M1 helmets produced had small half rectangular shaped loops made from wire which were spot welded or "fixed" in place to either side of the helmet body. The first modified M1 helmets for use by Paratroopers had "C" shaped loops attached in the same way. Later all M1 helmets spot welded a rectangular loop held inside a metal hinge to either side so it could swivel which was referred to as a flexible chinstrap loop.

 Collectors often fall into slang descriptions like "Fixed Bale" "D Bail or "Swivel Bail" -- bale and bail being interchanged depending on their computer's auto correct feature.

Regarding bales and bails, a bale is a collection of something held together by straps or bands like a bale of hay whereas a bucket or pail is carried around by its bail. My advice, stick with loops Quint and leave the bales to Old McDonald and his farm as well as the bails to Dear Liza's bucket, which she can't fetch water in because her lazy good for nothing Husband Henry wouldn't patch the hole in its bottom.

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

Big Red Says!

FIVE'S OVER  -  MOVE OUT!


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4 comments

  • Josh,

    Being a Marine I can’t believe I’m posting a blog about the Army. This is about the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment. I was noted due to a shortage of paratrooper helmets, standard infantry M1 helmets were specially modified by the unit riggers, with a new chinstrap being installed. The infantry standard chinstrap was shortened on both sides, and a replacement buckle and makeshift chincup was sewn into place. The modified chinstrap was designed to fit to the wearers chin as tightly as possible, so as to avoid losing the helmet during the jump. They were supposedly camouflaged with spray paint and only 3000 helmets were modified. I am kind of curious as to what they would look like.

    Dale Desjarlais

  • Josh,

    I was a Marine but I am a big reader of history. I came a across an article about the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment. It was noted when they were being formed there was a shortage of paratrooper helmets. To compensate for this standard infantry M1 helmets were specially modified by the unit riggers, with a new chinstrap being installed. The infantry standard chinstrap was shortened on both sides, and a replacement buckle and makeshift chincup was sewn into place. The modified chinstrap was designed to fit to the wearers chin as tightly as possible, so as to avoid losing the helmet during the jump. It was also noted that only 3000 of these were made and spray painted camouflage when the regiment made their first drop during Operation Dragoon. I am curious to see what the would look like.

    Dale Desjarlais

  • This is a carefully restored original front seam swivel bail helmet with paratrooper chinstraps… from your own description Josh and the one that is preferred by most helmet enthusiasts… however you are correct that in the original M-1 Helmet diagrams and quartermaster information the ‘bail’ is referred to as a ‘loop’. Thanks again for the informative blog and for all of the great work that you do on the restorations… there is none better! Francis

    Francis C Reinprecht

  • Josh is the best helmet guy in the world….

    Ward Wolff

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