Leather Liner Chin Strap I - "Permanent Assembly"

Big Red here with a question from "Bindi Sue"...

    So, TAKE FIVE!

    Bindi asks,

    “Big Red, if the 13 different head bands were the number one problem, what was the second biggest issue?”

    Good question Bindi, I see you’ve been paying attention...

    The second major complaint the Army had with the initial liner assembly design was the leather chin strap.

    Leather Liner Chin Strap Assembly 1941 - 1942

    The first chin strap assembly used with the M-1 helmet liner was a direct copy of the chin strap design used by Hawley in the manufacture of their pressed fiber sun helmets.

    The assembly consisted of a 3 ½ oz strip of leather cut 3/8-inch wide and 21-inches in length. This strap was laced through two metal attaching loops and a small bar buckle.

    The strap was attached to a loop at one end and to the bar buckle at the other with brown painted, shoelace type, metal eyelets. The attaching loops were permanently secured to the sides of the liner body by semi-tubular rivets with length adjustment being made by sliding the strap through the buckle.

    The Army considered the design of the chin strap unsatisfactory from the outset for several reasons. One issue was the difficulty experienced in its adjustment and the tendency for the leather to tear in two under conditions of normal use.

    Another was the ease with which the strap could be torn in two or stretched and distorted leaving the buckle loose and unable to secure the strap properly.

    The inability to remove or replace the strap became more prominent with the development of the plastic liner body, which unlike its pressed paper predecessor could be cleaned or sanitized. 

    The transition to plastic now made the liner body robust enough to withstand cleaning or delousing, which the Army took advantage of by developing processes to reclaim and reissue used liners. Exposing a liner to water and soap or delousing which, in 1942, required exposing the liner to 253° F steam for 30 minutes were conditions that were less than ideal for a thin leather strap.

    This exposure at worse baked a leather chin strap clean off its loops and at best, into the resemblance of charred bacon.

    The major issue not being the failure of the strap to hold up under these conditions but because, of the virtue of its attachment, it could not be replaced.


    Collector's Note:

    Although many collectors often feel a compulsion to place the early chin strap over the brim of the helmet when displayed, photographic evidence indicates that the way soldiers dealt with the fragile nature of the strap was to leave it factory adjusted to the liner.

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


    Big Red Says!


    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published