WWII Paratrooper M2 "D-Bail" Airborne Helmet Shell
This original early-WWII M2 "D-bail" paratrooper helmet shell was purchased fifteen years ago at a military surplus store in Fayetville, North Carolina; prior to that it was recovered at the estate sale of an 82nd Airborne Division veteran. The helmet's heat stamp of 192A dates its production to June 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, the wearer's right side loop had been lost, replaced with a piece of bent wire, and during the brazing process the still intact factory loop was also reenforced. Thankfully, the brass brazing does not completely conceal the original factory welds, which help confirm the helmet's authenticity. 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.