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Gildwiller1918

WW2 US Field Gear

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Starting a thread to showcase US WW2 era field gear. Feel free to add on as needed, the goal is to educate others on what to look for. There is still quite a good amount of original gear left over, especially in Europe. 

Up first is the M1943 folding shovel and M1910 entrenching tool, these shovels replaced the "T" handle M1910 shovels that were first used in WW1 (left side of photo). The M1910 was used in the first few years of the war until production of the new shovel could could be made in sufficient numbers. The M1910 looked identical to the WW1 version, the only difference is they are marked and dated on the handle. This one is dated 1942 made by Ames. WW1 versions do not have this mark on the handle. The M1910 was carried in a khaki colored canvas case that could be attached to the haversack or pistol belt. These were also identical to the WW1 versions, except for the dates. 

The M1943 pictured below was made by Ames and is dated 1945. The model proved so successful it was in service for many decades after WW2. These were made from 1943-45, the earlier the date, the rarer they are. The carrying case was a cotton web material that initially was OD green with a dark green border, however later in the war it was a darker OD shade completely. These also attached to the belt or pack as needed. The carrying case below is the early type, dated 1943. 

All of these shovels/E-tools and their cases are being reproduced. 1945 dated items are still very common, however 1943 ones are the hardest to find. 

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Here is the M1938 Wire Cutter and pouch. The M1938 WW2 version looks slightly different than later versions and will always have a WW2 date on it. The carrying case is also early with the dark green border. The cutters were used from many decades after the war as well. Most commonly you will find 1970s era types, these have a hex nut and bolt (also pictured below). Note the difference in the shape of the cutting head of the WW2 version, vs later ones. 

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Here is the M1924 first aid pouch, which had a brass pistol belt attachment to fix to the belt or gear as needed. Inside it held one carlisle bandage. These were similar to the WW1 versions, however the WW2 types did not have a pull ring and were not dated. The M1924 also used the lift the dot closure to seal the pouch shut. Interestingly enough this pouch was updated to the M1942 version which looked almost identical except in color, pre-war and ones before 1942 were of a khaki color, 1942-43 was a shade called OD#3 (Olive Drab number 3) and late war models are colored dark with the shade OD#7. 

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During the war a lot of items were made overseas to support US troops, this example of the first aid pouch is British made. 

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Here is a M1910 first aid pouch made during WW2, as far as I can tell this was the last production run for this model. Not much is known about this item, it has been theorized they were made immediately after Pearl Harbor, as the companies that made them still had the specifications and they were quick to make. 

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Here is the M1938 map case. It was made on cotton web duct material, and ranged in color from khaki to a olive green color. Gear in the last year of war had a darker green appearance as well. Typically this case was used by Officers and NCOs and was secured by use of a carrying strap that could be adjusted and removed if need be. Under the main flap is a pouch that is sewn on that holds pencils, pens and other tools. In the main section inside was space for the plastic map graph (shown below) and other important documents. These have been getting hard to find in good condition lately and the prices have gone up. There are very exact replicas on the market today. 

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The WW2 US canteen was very much the same types used in WW1, in many cases troops did use WW1 canteens in the early phase, especially in the Pacific. The WW1 M1910 canteen covers had a seam at the rear of the cover, and were all Khaki in color, and had WW1 dates and makers info inside the securing flaps. The WW2 model, starting in 1942 had the covers seamed on the sides versus the in the rear. In April of 1944 the color of the covers changed to OD 7 which was a dark green color. The canteens themselves were similar in appearance as well to the WW1 counterparts, but there were differences. During WW2 the US had three different materials used to make canteens, the first was porcelain which had a black enamel paint (made in 1942 only), second was made from a plastic material (made from 42-44) followed by non-corrosive steel (42-45)

In late 1942 aluminum was released by the War Production Board for the manufacture of canteens. The first aluminum canteens produced were manufactured by companies that had been involved with manufacture of the 1942 corrosive resistant steel canteen and were therefore produced with a horizontal seam. The more traditional welded canteen with the side seam went into production beginning in 1943. The canteens also had a black plastic/bakelite cup with a chain added. Aluminum types are the most common encountered along with the steel types. The plastic type and porcelain models are rare and expensive. 

Some of the known manufacturers of canteens during World War II include: Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Co. (AGM Co); Buckeye Aluminum Co. (BA Co.); Fletcher Enameling Co. (F.E.Co.); Landers, Frary & Clark (L F & C).; REP Co.; Republic Stamping and Enameling Co. (R.S.E. Co.); Southeastern Metals Co. (S.M.Co.); United States Steel Corp. (U.S.S. Corp.); Vollrath; and Vogt. 

Below is an example of the common type canteen with the cover and cup, note the rim around the canteen, which aligned with the top of the canteen cup. The WW1 models do not have this rim. All WW2 canteens are marked and dated as well. 

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Here is an example of the WW2 US plastic canteens. The plastic makeup was Ethyl Cellulose Polymer, these canteens were generally disliked by the troops, mainly because you could not heat them up like the metal ones and they gave the water a bad taste. They are rare, but still can be found, most found today are marked IC" ("Inspected and Condemned."). The canteens are all marked on the bottom. 

Known makers of these canteens are: AI Co., AMUS, Dow chemical corp., G.I., I.C., Mack molding, and P.I.

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Here is a late war example of the 3 pocket grenade pouch. The USMC had a two pocket version. Typically you could carry 1 grenade in each pocket, and these pouches hung from the pistol belts, it also had legs ties to help secure the load and not have it move about. As with all US equipment, early models are more khaki in appearance and turn dark green in the late stages of the war. However most soldiers used a musette bag or a general purpose bag that could be supported over the shoulder than this version. 

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Here is the US M1928 Haversack, which was virtually identical to the WW1 version, the M1910. Early models were khaki in color and later transitioned to a greenish color. These packs were, however not popular, they were not easy or quick to assemble, required a lot of lacing of straps and did not hold all that much. Mainly the pack would contain the soldiers rations and under clothing, spare boots, and the bedroll were tied on the outside. On the exterior was the meat can pouch, or mess kit pouch, behind that was place to attach the "T" handle shovel. Some of the known makers include:  A. Beif & Co.; Atlas Mfg. Co.; Baker-Lockwood, Mfg. Co., Inc.; B.B.S. Co.; Boyt; Crawford-Austin Mfg. Co.; G & R Co.; Hamilton Scheu & Walsh Shoe Co.; Indianapolis Tent & Awning Co.; Laird Schuber Co.; Langdon Tent & Awning
Co.; and Ruberto. 

These packs were gradually phased out in 1944 with the introduction of the Model 1944 pack, which was a failure, but this lead to the M 1945 pack system which was used into the 1960's. Last picture shows the attachable lower pack carrier which was used for the bed roll which had the shelter quarter, the blanket, tent poles and ropes, this typically added a lot of weight towards the bottom of the wearers back, another reason it was not popular. 

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This is the M-1936 Musette bag, which was designed for mounted personnel. It was more or less a copy of the WW1 British Officer Musette bag. This bag had metal loops that allowed for the attachment of a shoulder strap or 2 general purpose straps could be used as well. This pack was designed to carry the soldiers immediate needs, like rations, personal hygiene items, etc. More bulkier and items not needed right away would be in the baggage train/vehicles. This pack is often confused with the M1941 USMC pack as they are similar in appearance, at least externally. These packs were replaced in 1944 with packs based upon the USMC design, this version had a waterproof interior, and dividers for items, the M1936 does not have these. Second picture shows the removable shoulder strap. 

Some of the known manufactures include: Atlantic Products Corp.; B.B.S. Co.; Bearse Mfg. Co.; Bradford; Byer Mfg. Co.; Copley Shoe Co.; Crawford Mfg. Co., Inc.; Fox Mfg. Co.; The Langford Tent & Awning Co.; Kadin-Luce Mfg. Co.; Scholnick Shoe Co. Corp.; Standard Garment Co.; Powers & Co.; Protection Products Co.; and the V.C. Co. 

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There is a lot of original US WW2 field gear still available, just have to hunt for it, and it's usually very reasonable in price. However just about every item used is now being reproduced. Most reproductions will have fictitious maker stamps on them to differentiate them from the originals. Just remember, if it's too good to be true, it probably is not a good deal. 

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Here is the Coleman field stove, also called the G.I. pocket stove. Coleman designated their Model 520 Coleman Military Burner, and referred to by the Army Quartermaster Corps as the M1941 Stove, the stove first saw service in November 1942 when 5,000 of the stoves accompanied U.S. forces during the invasion of North Africa. The stove was easy to use and came with a metal storage canister, over 1 million of the stoves were produced for war use. These are still readily available on the market today. 

 

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Here are some web ammo pouches for the Thompson Sub-Machine guns. First 2 images are for the 5-cell 20 round stick magazines. These are most often found in the khaki colored material. The second model of this pouch (also used for the M3 Grease Gun magazines) was released in a olive drab color and had 3-cells holding 3 thirty round stick magazines. Additionally a shoulder sling pouch was used for the 50-round drum magazine (4th image). Late in the war the M1 general purpose bag was used to carry magazines, grenades, etc. (last image).

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Here is the M16 .45 ACP holster, which was made from leather and very much unchanged from its WW1 version, although the WW2 version had different makers and dates. These holsters had a brass hook on the reverse to allow attachment to the M-1936 pistol belts or the M-1923 rifle ammunition belts. They also had a slit to allow a trouser belt to be used as well. The holster was secured by a small brass stud, and had a leg tie to help secure the holster when in movement. 

Here are the known makers of the WW2 holsters

A.L.P. CO. (Atchison Leather Products Co., Atchison, Kansas)
BRAUER (Brauer Brothers Mfg. Co., St. Louis, Missouri)
BOYT (Boyt Harness Company, Des Moines, Iowa)
CRAIGHEAD (John R. Craighead Co., Inc., Denver, Colorado)
CRUMP (Benjamin T. Crump & Co., Richmond, Virginia)
ENGER-KRESS (Enger-Kress Company, West Bend, Wisconsin)
FINK (Fink Leather Shops, Kansas City, Missouri)
G.P.& S. (Australian manufacturer)
GRATON & KNIGHT CO. (Graton & Knight Manufacturing Co., Worcester, Mass.)
HARPHAM BROS. (Harpham Brothers Co., Lincoln, Nebraska)
MILWAUKEE SADDLERY CO. (Milwaukee Saddlery Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
JOSEPH H. MOSSER (Joseph H. Mosser Co.)
S-B CO
SEARS (Sears Saddlery Co., Davenport, Iowa)
TEXTAN (Texas Tanning & Manufacturing Co., Yoakum, Texas)
WALSH (Walsh Harness Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
WARREN LEATHER GOODS CO. (Warren Leather Goods Co., Worcester, Mass.)
 

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