Here’s a good cover to have if you collect M-1 Steel Pots from the Cold War. We finally scored a decent 1959 USMC Mitchell Pattern M-1 Helmet Cover. These are not rare, but they are a little harder to find than a standard wartime cover. These early examples are made of a durable cotton duck material that has a smooth almost denim like finish with leaf print in green and tan camo on the reverse side. They have short flaps and a contractor label sewn in. This example is dated 12-10-59 and you may also find another contract date of 4-2-59 if you run across an example.
This cover came with a nicer than expected label. It’s still fairly crisp and the stamping is still legible. This cover is a solid example for a collection. Once in a while you still find mint / nos examples. They are rare, but pop up from time to time.
Here are a few photos of the stitching and edge work used to finish off the flaps. The 1959 covers are the first contracted examples of Mitchell Pattern helmet covers and the starting point for the US Army to eventually take the same design and have their covers contracted and issued to troops during the entire Vietnam War. Leaf pattern covers started being developed and produced in 1959 and ended production in 1977.
This pattern is one of the most iconic camouflage patterns associated with the Vietnam War. No matter the photo, color or black and white, you can always spot a Mitchell M-1 helmet cover. It should be noted this same camouflage leave pattern first appeared in 1953 shelter halves that were produced for the USMC. You will see those rolled and on top of USMC canvas pack systems.
Here’s a final photo of the green side out. Notice the cuts made for the M-1 steel pot bales and chinstraps to run through. This was a common practice throughout the war when a “short flap” cover was used on a steel pot. This example was on a helmet at one time, but saw very little use.
Thanks for stopping by and taking a look. Next time we’ll explore the difference between “short” flap and “long” flap Mitchell Pattern covers and we’ll show you how to date a cover by contract stamp.