WWII U.S. Army Air Corps/Force M3 Bomber Crew Flak Helmet
This M3 Flak helmet was the first helmet designed expressly for use by American bomber crews. The M3 has large hinged ear covers on its sides to accommodate a communications headset; the covers were originally lined with felt, now missing on this example. Unlike M1 helmets, the M3 features a built-in suspension system, which is in excellent condition, retaining its original headband. The headband is also unlike the M1 helmet's standard headband in that it was never issued with leather padding. The helmet is missing the center portion of its web chinstrap. The exterior had a flocking coating to prevent the airman's skin from sticking to the metal at high altitudes and freezing temperatures. The helmet retains its original factory paint, but has lost some of its texture. From 1942 to 1944 only 210,000 of these helmets were produced by the McCord Radiator & Manufacturing Company; compared to 22 million standard M1 helmets, making this an exceptionally rare piece.