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"US Armoured Infantry Helmet Insignia?" Topic

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907 hits since 4 Sep 2017
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JoJo the Idiot Circus Boy04 Sep 2017 10:30 a.m. PST

I'm working on painting a new OpFor for my Chain of Command German units and have decided to build a US Armoured Infantry platoon, specific based upon my own old unit the 2nd Armoured Division. I've done some test paints for both the traditional OD/khaki look and the camouflage uniforms some 2nd AD infantry wore in the Normandy campaign. Although I have not decided upon which uniform to paint, I'm fairly happy with how they turned out. But I'm torn on one point: the helmet insignia…or lack of the same.

We all known that US troops in WW2 often painted representations of their unit patches on their helmets (either on the front or side), and also that, given period photos, it was far from universal. But I'm having a problem determining if this was a practice amongst Mech Infantry units such as those attached to the 2nd AD. I did a bunch of digging through both my personal reference collection and page after page of a Google Images search, and still have not made up my mind.

I did find this photo of a 3rd Ad Sergeant with the unit insignia painted on his helmet side being presented am award.


As interesting as this is, it's not evidence of this practice being done in the field. Likewise, I have found a number of photos of original period helmets with such painted insignia. But again, these might very well have been applied post-war rather than reflecting wartime practice.

So what do you think? Did US Mech Infantry occasionally wear painted insignia on their helmets in combat? (or at least often enough to justify he effort of adding it to 28mm figures…) Does anyone know of any photographic evidence of the practice?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2017 11:44 a.m. PST

Direct information, no. Too late to ask my uncle who was both tanks and TDs 44-45. Worth remembering that contemporary photos probably lowball usage, since it's exactly the sort of thing a censor will get rid of.

My guess would be pretty widespread. I've seen divisional insignia on the WWI helmet of a man I know was combat infantry, and we know the 101st had an elaborate system of helmet markings just to sort people out. I'd say do it if you want to: there's at least enough evidence to make it defensible.

RudyNelson05 Sep 2017 7:19 a.m. PST

Why do you think this guy is infantry? Mech or otherwise.
The 45 caliber sidearm implies a tanker not infantryman. As a tanker, his parade helmet would not have been worn much and often stayed in battalion supply.

In the Korean War , the national guard had them in the supply room and issued them for the event. These were different than the everyday helmet. Thos had the Dixie Division symbols such as the cotton ball and the DD.

JoJo the Idiot Circus Boy05 Sep 2017 9:14 a.m. PST

Why do you think this guy is infantry? Mech or otherwise

I don't.
Sorry, I did not make that clear. In all likelihood, he's a vehicle crewman of some flavor. As you observe above, the 1911 in a tanker holster is a dead give away. But he's the only example I have found of a man from an armoured unit that has the divisional insignia painted on his helmet.

For what it's worth, I don't think that is a parade helmet. The paint on the rim is completely worn away and the shiny metal is showing through. Contrast that with the helmet worn by the general in the photo. He's got a bit of wear on the side near the chin strap. But most of the paint on the rim is intact. The Staff Sergeant in the photo has been wearing that helmet for a while.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2017 10:43 a.m. PST

Ask Mannie Gentile, he knows everything about helmets.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek

RudyNelson06 Sep 2017 11:42 a.m. PST

They were two types of parade helmets. One worn back in the States were often just helmet liners. I have actually seen some painted in white or silver for the honor guard and other flag bearers. I was given one to play with at home in 1958 and always had one or two liners around until about 1966. Then I started wearing a green beret. LOL.

Your point about rim wear is a good one. I could guess pro or con comments but I would not know if they would apply to this case. These are clearly metal "steel pots" . I would be curious how the decals were applied; panted by hand stencil, or glued on. The difficult was the rough part of the shell. It made application of any type difficult and uneven.

RudyNelson06 Sep 2017 11:45 a.m. PST

Thanks for sharing the photo. I am going to check out my uncles unit books to see what I can see.

Andy ONeill06 Sep 2017 11:56 a.m. PST

I dunno about this.
I thought the feeling amongst infantry was that any markings rear of the helmet were fine but elsewhere, not.
I seem to recall reading that somewhere along the way.
Not at all sure how representative that was though.

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