M1 Helmet

US Army M1 Helmet

Iconic combat helmet of the US military

The M1 Helmet is an iconic combat helmet that was used by the US military from World War II until 1985, when it was succeeded by the PASGT helmet. The M1 Helmet has become an icon of the US military, with its design inspiring other military helmets around the world.

When the United States entered in to World War I, the US military did not have a combat helmet, with US troops initially being issued with British Mk I Brodie helmets when arriving in Europe. Those attached to French units were issued French M15 Adrian helmets. The United States quickly commenced manufacture of a version of the Mk I, designated the M1917, producing some 2.7 million by the end of hostilities.

The weaknesses of the M1917 had been discovered – lack of balance and protection of the head from lateral fire – brought about the production of an improved helmet which had a more American style. The M1917 shell was used as the starting point of the new prototype, with a trimmed off the brim and additional visor and skirt-like extensions to protect the back and sides of the soldier’s head. A Riddell type liner and suspension system, based on American football helmets at the time, incorporating an adjustable strap for the nape of the neck to prevent it rocking.

The M1 is a combination of two “one-size-fits-all” helmets – an outer metal shell, sometimes called the “steel pot”, and a hard hat–type liner nestled inside it featuring an adjustable suspension system. Helmet covers and netting would be applied by covering the steel shell with the extra material tucked inside the shell and secured by inserting the liner.

Famous M1 Helmet wearers

  • General Patton
  • GI Joe