Photo in 2003 by Jim MacClay of Web Staff,
taken at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, NYC
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Gen. Rose's Helmet
- Erasing a Myth about His Death -
See story below.

For Side View

NEW: Added in January, 2007:  View of Helmet Interior

New information about the bullet holes
and why the bullets mysteriously exited at the front of the helmet.


Prior to 2003, virtually everyone interested in the history of the U.S. 3rd Armored Division knew basically the same story, which perpetuated the helmet's unfortunate fame. It was a simplified version repeated over the decades by newspaper, magazine, and book accounts, and by the Division's own Public Affairs Office. That version described Div. Commander Maurice Rose's death on March 30, 1945, as solely the result of his being shot twice through his helmet by a German tank crewman using a hand-held gun. That tragic event occurred moments after Rose had been captured during the U.S. advance on Paderborn, Germany.

But in 2003, dramatic new information came to light with the publication of the biography, "Major General Maurice Rose - World War II's Greatest Forgotten Commander," co-authored by Steven L. Ossad and Don R. Marsh. Their research for the book had uncovered the startling fact that the bullets that struck Rose's helmet did NOT cause his death. Ossad and Marsh had located Army documents that had literally been unseen and ignored in a file cabinet in Washington, DC, for over fifty years. Those documents included an Inspector General's investigation of Rose's death, as well as the autopsy report (with body diagram) and memo's from the Army War Crimes Branch. Conclusions drawn from those documents are described in great detail in the biography and include the following concerning the shooting:

  • Gen. Rose was struck by a total of 14 bullets at numerous points over his body from four separate bursts from a 9mm Schmeisser automatic "machine pistol," which had a 32-round clip.

  • Four rounds from the third burst, which struck him on the left side of the head (with no helmet on), were the fatal wounds. He would have died instantly.

  • The force of an impact on his right cheek from the first burst had knocked the general's helmet back off his head and into the air.

  • And, to quote from the biography, "Two more rounds from the first burst struck the airborne helmet, passing through the rear, and exiting the front of the helmet near the two general's stars ..." [A ragged split on the helmet's front rim remains unexplained, but was possibly caused by a third errant round.]

  • The helmet was later found in a ditch about ten feet from Rose's body.

  • The bullet holes in the helmet clearly did not occur while the helmet was on his head.

The Rose helmet was on temporary display at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City (WWII exhibit area) during 2003-2006, on loan from the Patton Museum at Ft. Knox, KY, its permanent home. Immediately after World War II, the helmet had been given to the Rose family in Denver, Colorado, and subsequently donated to the Rose Memorial Hospital in Denver, where it was on display for a number of years, but eventually ended up in basement storage. At some point (and we hope to research this further), the helmet was reportedly rescued by a 3AD WWII veteran, who turned it over to the Patton Museum with the Hospital's approval.

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