WW II Armored Forces: Tanker Helmet

The World War II Tanker Helmet was very popular and armored crewmen wore them as a matter of pride in being "in the Tanks". Goggles were commonly worn with the helmet, even if just kept on top, as in the photos on this page.

Tanker, 1942
Tanker, 1942.

Today in WW II: 16 Sep 1940 Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 signed by Pres. Roosevelt, beginning the military draft of US men aged 21-36.  More 
16 Sep 1941 German encirclement of Soviet forces in Kiev completed, to be followed by ruthless German attacks to annihilate the trapped Red Army troops.
16 Sep 1943 Malaya Zemlya enclave of Novorossiysk port on the Black Sea, after holding out against Wehrmacht for 225 days, liberated by the Red Army.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

World War II Armored Forces: Tanker Helmet

Tanker, 1942, Ft. Knox -- atop M4 Tank
Tanker, 1942, Ft. Knox -- atop M4 Tank

The U.S. tanks of World War II were very small inside, too small for the crew to wear the standard M-1 helmet. A special purpose Tanker Helmet was developed with these specifications: 1) fits inside an M-1 helmet when shrapnel protection is needed, 2) equipped with microphone and earphones, with connecting jacks, 3) protected the crewman's head from hits on the steel interior.

The Tanker Helmet (or Helmet, Tank) developed in 1938 met all these criteria and more. It was made of rubberized fibre/leather with a thicker band of leather stitched around the rim. An inner suspension was made of a cross of soft leather straps. Ten 3/4 inch ventilation holes helped keep heat down while the back of the head was protected by a neck flap of the same material as the cap.

Side ear pieces (again, same material as the cap) were loosely attached, each with an R-14 earphone built into a center hole. The ear flaps could be worn flipped up, but inside a tank the noise level was so high that you could hear nothing unless the earphones were right against your ears. Side spring-loaded tabs held the earflaps tightly to the ears when that was desired. A throat microphone was usually used with this helmet.

Tankers, Ft. Knox, KY, June 1942.
Tankers, Ft. Knox, KY, June 1942.

The whole shell was painted olive drab as issued but some were also painted other colors to indicate rank or special roles. The leather was natural tan color, not dyed. Rawlings was the manufacturer of the Tanker Helmet. Typical markings were stamped on the leather suspension with the Rawlings logo, a size, and patent numbers.

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

For good results, try entering this: army tanker helmet. Then click the Search button.

Military Theme
T-Shirts & Stuff
Visit Olive-Drab.com's sister site for
over 10,000 free military vehicle photos!