Airborne Field Modified M-1 Helmets

Big Red Says:

Listen up Buttercup! Here's the rest of the story


A little while back I had a question from Dale D. about the helmets used by the 517th PIR. That question got me to thinking about other airborne field modifications to the M-1 helmet and why different solutions were used.

Airborne modifications performed, by units in the field, to the M-1 helmet varied depending on the need to address one, the other or both of two issues,

  1. Preventing the helmet from separating from the liner during a jump.
  2. Preventing the helmet from separating from the wearer's head during a jump.

Units that had access to factory modified airborne liners used with the standard infantry helmets only needed to ensure that the helmet body did not become separated from the airborne liner during a jump. In this case the airborne chin cup assembly secured the liner to the wearer’s head and various types of tape were then used to make sure the helmet did not separate from the liner during the drop.

For units that did not have access to factory modified airborne liners “Riggers” needed to alter complete infantry helmets to prevent not only the separation of the helmet from the liner but also figure out how to secure the helmet assembly to the wearer's head during a jump. Photographs depicting solutions to this scenario show differing alterations to the helmet bodies chin straps.

Since we already discussed the 517th AB modification, we know the “Riggers” achieved this by making a rather sophisticated alteration to the helmet straps and fabricated a custom chin cup. So what did others do....

In the case of these members of the 11th AB you see a standard unaltered M-1 helmet chin straps buckled under the chin with the addition of a fabric strap sewn directly to the helmet’s straps to form a “chin cup”.

Other creative solutions show improvised fabric used in place of or in addition to the existing helmet's straps.


Ultimately, surviving period photographs seem to illustrate that the type of field modifications performed to make M-1 helmets airborne ready was only limited to the creativity of the GI making the modification.

if your friends want to know how you gained your intel, tell em
Big Red Says!

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