USAAF Flak Helmet. Original M3 Flak Helmet
Here we have a nice USAAF M3 Flak Helmet as worn by aircrew.
As a result of increasing head wounds it became obvious that aircrew had a requirement for better head protection. Some airmen adopted the standard issue M1 steel helmet worn directly over their leather or fabric flying helmets but minus the M1 liner system. Although reasonably effective as a protection against metal fragments, bumps or flying debris, this was not an adequate solution to the problem as the men still experienced discomfort when worn over their earphones. From January 1943, men of the 306th Bombardment Group, based in England, modified helmets to enable them to be worn directly over flying helmets fitted with earphones. This local modification gained acceptance and was formally adopted as standard issue in early 1944, and designated the M3. The M3 Flyer's Helmet permitted the standard flying helmet fitted with earphones, goggles and oxygen mask to be worn with relative comfort and was painted with a coating of flocked paint of olive green colour that had the texture of velvet, enabling the helmet to be touched by bare skin if need be at high altitude without sticking to the fingers.
This particular example has the original liner intact and in good condition. The felt pads are missing from the ear protectors and the original strap has gone. Felt pads and straps can however be replaced. This helmet looks as though it has been repainted at some time and it has a smooth finish.
The helmet is not rusted and would make a great addition to any USAAF collection or it could be used by a living history enthusiast.