M-1 Helmet Production Breakage II - Identifying Helmet Cracks

Big Red here with another question from "John Connor"...

    So, TAKE FIVE!

    John asks,

    "Big Red, Holy Cow! 35% isn’t a little problem. But, I guess first things being first; I need to better understand exactly what you mean by “production breakage”? "

    No Problemo John,

    The M-1 helmet, during the course of the war, went through between 21 to 27 individual operations as it was processed from a steel disc into a finished helmet body but only the three shaping operations played a significant role in production breakage. The initial 7-inch draw as well as the trimming and the spanking operations.

    Problems from these three operations could result in one of four different types of cracks. The first three were termed “production breakage” as the cracks formed during the manufacturing process whereas the fourth type of crack was considered “post-production breakage” as it happened to helmets after manufacturing was complete.

    Draw breakage is the production term given to steel that broke or cracked immediately when the helmet was pressed into its pot shape.


    Body crack is the production term given to cracks that formed in the body of the helmet but did not crack all the way to the edge.

    Edge crack is the production term given to cracks that formed at the edge of the helmet and worked their way into the helmet body.


    Age Cracking, sometimes referred to as service cracking, is the term given to either a body crack or an edge crack that was not present upon inspection at the manufacturer but happened after the helmet was produced.

    Although Arsenal reports provide some numbers, I do not believe there to be any recorded estimates as to the total number of helmets that suffered from “age cracking”. Helmets that had dramatic failures stateside or from active units in the North African Theater of Operations were returned in some number to the Laboratories of the Watertown Arsenal for root cause investigation however, most defective helmets were used or discarded depending on the severity of the defect.

    It should be noted that based on the numbers that were reported, if actual totals had been available, the phenomenon of age cracking would have significantly increased the helmets production defect rate.

    and remember,

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


    Big Red Says!


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