Sunday, April 27, 2008

New Purchase

Yesterday I found an M-3 Flak Helmet to add to my collection of WWII flight gear. These helmets were worn over the flight helmets and had earflaps to cover the earphones. A helmet similar to this one saved the life of my friend Lyle Shafer on a mission in 1944. Flying as co-pilot on the 390th BG B-17 'Gung Ho', he leaned over in his seat to grab his flak helmet just as a shell burst through his side window, killing the pilot.

Here are the specs on the M-3:

"Helmet, steel, T2 (Flyer’s), standardized as Helmet, M3.—This was a direct modification of the M1 steel helmet shell with an associated adjustable head suspension and cutaway on each side of the helmet body to accommodate earphones. A hinged earplate provided protection over the cutaway earphone area. Because of the immediate need for a flyer’s helmet, the T2 received extended service tests and was eventually standardized in December 1943 as Helmet, M3 (fig. 316). This helmet weighed 3 pounds and 3 ounces. Between December 1943 and April 1945, 213,543 helmets of this type were produced. During its development, it was recognized that this type of helmet was unsuitable for a number of confined combat stations where a closely fitting skullcap type of helmet was necessary."

---Source: CHAPTER XI: Personnel Protective Armor
Maj. James C. Beyer, MC, William F. Enos, M.D.,and Col. Robert H. Holmes, MC

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