The Anzio helmet cover – 6615th Ranger Force

 

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I have always noticed a very interesting and unique helmet cover during the Anzio invasion, also known as Operation Shingle. These helmet covers are nearly exclusive to the Rangers in the 6615th Ranger Force as well as the First Special Service Force.

For the invasion, Darby’s Rangers came up with a day / night recognition system with letter markings on the back of packs, and helmets. These markings were to aid in night patrols, and identifying units for command and control. Unfortunately there is little in the way of how the units were coded. A trip to the National Archives is in order to find out more about letter designations. 

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These helmet covers eluded me for a long time, especially how they are worn – all bunched up at the top. Finally I discovered through a mutual friend about the early pattern mosquito net.

This net has a circular solid piece of fabric as the crown with tightly woven net. At the bottom are loop holes and drawstrings to tighten it around the wearers throat. However it would seem the nets were actually mostly worn with the circular top portion inside the helmet shell stuff between the liner with the net wrapping up around the helmet becoming bunched and tied off near the top.

However a few different styles are actually shown being worn. 

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Here is generally the standard way to wear the net (Ranger below wears his “inside out with seams on the outside, mine is the normal way)

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Now move forward! 

 

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