WWII M2 "D-Bail" Paratrooper Helmet Shell
This is an original early-WWII M2 "D-bail" paratrooper helmet shell. The helmet's heat stamp of 231A dates its production to July 1942. During WWII, McCord Radiator & Manufacturing Co. produced roughly 20 million steel helmet shells. Of those 20 million, just 392,000 were made as the paratrooper M2 version, with some estimating the production total at a much lower 118,000. These helmets had a significant design flaw; any considerable pressure put on the loops, would often cause them to snap at the welds. Riggers sometimes repaired these broken loops in the field with molten brass through a process known as brazing. On this example, both loops have been brazed and a set of OD#7 (green) infantry straps have replaced the factory-applied chinstraps. Unfortunately, one of the chinstraps has torn away from the loop, but is still present. M2s in this configuration are believed to have been collected from the battlefield, refurbished, and then issued to nurses and other rear-echelon types. Due to limited production numbers, the design flaw, as well as having to endure a war, original M2 helmets are incredibly scarce. This helmet would display quite nicely when paired with an original Inland paratrooper liner.