WWII US Army M-1 Leadership Stripe Helmet -
The M-1 steel pot helmet is one of the most utilitarian designs produced for a U.S. helmet and one of the
longest lasting. Many news reels and pictures show the GI's using their helmet to cook, dig, carry water
and many other functions.
The helmet is composed of a metal shell and a separate liner with a fiberglass shell. Both shells are
illustrated on the pictures below. Notice that the fiberglass shell has a metal grommet in the
front-center, this feature is known as the eyelet. This opening is where a rank insignia could be placed.
This helmet might be one of the most recognizable icons of WWII. Approximatelly 8 million helmets were produced
during WWII by a large number of companies.
The M-1 helmet was introduced in 1941. the early versions of the helmet had a fixed bail. later on
the armed forces figrued out that the failure rate in such design was greater because the force
exerted on the bail was too much. A switch was made to the swivel bail. The flexibility of this last
feature coped much better with any forces applied to the weld spot.
The back of this helmet has a white stripe painted in a vertical fashion. This means the helmet was
issued to an individual that was in a position of leadership. The idea was that during an assault,
such as an amphibious invasion, the leader would jump out and head towards the objective. The soldiers
behind him would be able to recognize who he was by the stripe and would follow him.
This is why the stripe is known as a "leadership stripe". The helmet is often referred to as an
This page is a recognition and identification guide for US hats and helmets. Multiple
detailed photos of a specific sample are provided. Descriptions point out clearly defined
points that should be noted.
One of the most commonly asked questions is "How much is my US headgear worth?".
A price guide is included here to address this question. The value of the hats and helmets
is reviewed over a period of several years. A trend can be observed. The present worth
of US militaria in the collector's market is illustrated.
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The edge of the helmet has a fold that runs the entire perimeter. This feature covers any sharp edges left
after the manufacturing process, protecting the soldier from getting cut. The placed where the start and end
of the fold meet forms a seam. The WWII helmets had the seam in the front. Later war helmets and post war
examples had the seam in the back.
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