ID’D 347th Engineer General Service Regiment Painted “MP” Helmet

Beside there mission of rebuilding bridges and rail lines, Com Z HQ gave the 347th POWs to guard.

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Description

This M-1 fixed bale helmet is identified to:  Joseph C. Pinter, S/Sgt Co. “D” 347th Engineer (General Service) Regiment, Army Service Number: 32281475.  His name is painted in the flat brick red paint (possibly a primer) on the inside of the pot, “J. Pinter / 32281475 /).Co. D.” along with another name ID (last name initial and last 4 of ASN number.

Three layers of paint: original OD, white, and then flat brick red. “MP” visible under the red in two of the last photos.  “CARL” painted in bright glossy red on white and left exposed when helmet was re-painted over.

 

Pinter’s regiment arrived at Normandy June 27, 1944. Main work was repairing rail lines, bridges that had been destroyed by Allies prior to the invasion, now needed for supplying our armies.  On August 7, 1944, the regiment received orders from Advance Sector ComZ HQ that a POW company No. 3 was now attached to the 347th.  An officer from Co. C, Lt. Siegbert Braumann was appointed to procure men and administer the company.  The POW company arrived the next day and confined in a newly constructed stockade near the regimental bivouac, a former stadium was used. Prisoners were mostly German and Austrian, some captured at St. Low.  Number of prisoners rose to 1000 by August 11th.  (this information from unit history).

I can’t find anything directly for Pinter in the unit history, but the “MP” painted on the white has to confirm strongly that he was one of those chosen in the regiment to guard POWs.

This unit moved with Patton’s 3rd Army, restoring bridges and rail for supplying 3rd Army movement east.  At some point I surmise that the engineers at the POW camp rejoined the rest of the regiment, with the duty of guarding prisoners falling to more of the MP units arriving in France, and at that time repainted their helmet with what color paint on hand.  The unit history is excellent in recording the exhaustive amount of rebuilding this and other engineer units performed, trying desperately to keep ahead of rapidly advancing American armies eastward toward Germany.

Joseph C. Pinter entered service from Olean, New York, and must have remained in the NGSNY after the war, having been awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross No. 12999 on 8 November, 1965.

The helmet won’t win any beauty contests, but has a fabulous history.  Leaving his name on the M-1 may be twofold, first and obvious, wanting to leave his name, and second, the horizontal white may have acted as an NCO leadership stripe, typically seen on M-1 helmets in combat situations.

Condition is very good, with chipping on overall surface.  Liner is quite worn, and has flaking white paint, with red paint streaks here and there.  No “MP” painted on liner. Original OD chin strap on pot, none on liner.

Additional information

Weight 3 lbs