WWII Paratrooper M2 "D-Bail" Airborne Helmet Shell
For the reasons described below, original M2 "D-bail" paratrooper helmets are rare in their own right, but an M2 with painted markings of the 36th Infantry Divsion? Perhaps one of a kind. A resident of the town of Bischwiller in Alsace, France, southeast of Hagenau recovered this helmet in 1945. The 101st Airborne Division was deployed in this area from February 5, 1945 until February 23, 1945 when they were relieved by noneother than the 36th Infantry Division. Its heat stamp of 190A dates the helmet's production to June 1942. During WWII, McCord Radiator Co. produced around 20 million steel helmet shells. Of those 20 million, American Paratrooper Helmets posits 392,000 were made as the M2 version, with The M1 Helmet of the World War II GI estimating the production total at a much lower 118,000. These helmets had a significant design flaw; the pressure put on the loops, would often cause them to snap at the welds, as evident on this example. Authenticity can still be confirmed by examining the remaining “feet” of the loops. Original M2 welds have a distance of 36 millimeters, whereas standard Infantry M1 welds are only 31 millimeters apart. M2 feet have a distinctive shape that the M1 lacks. The M1’s loops are also made out of stainless steel, whereas the M2’s loops are not. Due to limited production numbers, the design flaw, as well as having to endure a war, original M2 helmets are incredibly scarce. This is an excellent opportunity to acquire a helmet with a connection to two famous divisions.