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What is considered a correct period shelter half (pup tent)?
Here are some things to consider: 1. If the halves fasten together with buttons (NOT snaps), then it is appropriate for late WWII - 50s. The double-ended shelter half (the one with triangular extensions at each end) appeared in khaki by sometime in '43, I think. By late 44-45, the same item was being made in dark OD. 2. Poles for a WWII shelter half were three-section, either hinged or held together with pins and metal sleeves. By sometime in 1945, poles were being produced in single sections, with each soldier being issued three sections for his half of the shelter. I have no idea if the single section poles were painted or not. I've never seen a WWII three-section pole that was painted. Also by sometime in 1945, metal tent pins were being produced, although I don't yet know what they looked like. I've only seen a reference to FM 21-15, April 1945, referring to both pins and poles. 3. If you can see one patch on a tent section, you might want to open the package and look at the whole thing, if the dealer will let you do so. Never hurts to know what you're buying if you get the chance. 4. As a substitute, you might check Sportsman's Guide. They have some button-together Dutch shelter halves from the 1950s-60s that are reasonably close to a late WWII - Korea US model. I got one a couple months ago - came with painted aluminum single-section poles, two tarps, and metal pins - all for about $12 and in very decent shape. However, before going with the Dutch tent, better check with the 1st SGT or others about acceptability, since it's not USGI. I have paid around $15 each for my postwar (snaps instead of buttons like WWII) shelter halves. If it's serviceable (and a spray or two of Scotchguard never hurts) this is a good price. Be sure even if the rope loops around the edges aren't present that the loops are not torn through so you can add them. Be sure and get (or make) 12 WWII wooden tent pegs though. The modern steel/aluminum ones really don't fit a period look.
What kind of boots/shoes do glider troops wear?
Since glider troops were not allowed to wear 'bloused' boots, should we wear brown low-quarters instead? Brown low quarters for your Class A and B are the standard.
What types of handguns would a trooper cary?
The most common issue handguns in the US military in WW2 besides the M-1911 were the S&W Victory, the M-1917s (both Colt and S&W), the Colt model 1903 .32ACP (issued to General Officers), and a few Colt .38 Detective Specials issued to cloak and dagger types. Very early in the war, many different civilian weapons were bought by Uncle Sam straight off the shelves; this included handguns. Most of these civilian weapons were declared "Limited Standard" and were used to equip guards at installations stateside (both military and civilian) and even to equip State Guard units after the National Guard was activated. There were many privately acquired handguns carried by US troops in WW2. Any pre-1941 civilian handgun could be considered as an unauthorized weapon. Also, since the 501st was stationed in England before Normandy, it is conceivable that an enterprising trooper may have traded for an Webley or Enfield revolver or maybe even a Browning Hi-Power (Inglis made). Remember that few Paratroops (except for officers and crew-served weapons men) were issued sidearms. Most were obtained by midnight requesitioning or by private purchase.
What are the different types of wool shirts?
Wool shirts were ussally designated as the M37 Wool Shirt. There are two versions, one with a "gas flap" and a later version without. Officer shirts had the eppilates while the EM did not. The Wool shirt was the basic shirt of the US Army. It was worn as a combat uniform under the m41 Jacket, M42 Jacket and M43 Jacket. It was also the shirt that was used under the Class A jacket along with the tie. Most are a more shade of chocolate or brown while Korean War versions are more of the greenish look.
Does anyone know the dimesions for the wooden blocks that can be put in the cartridge belt to better accomodate blanks?
.75" x .75" x 1.5" Verify on hardscrabblefarm.com
What type of stencil goes on the helmet?
The airborne/glider assault units had what amounted to a deck of cards as the symbols for the regiments. The 501st does have the diamond while the 327th glider had clubs on the side of their helmets. Each regiment in the 101 and most other supporting units assigned to the 101 had helmet stencils. Artillery had a circle (ala canonball), the 326th Engineers had an E, and 101 HQ had a square. In addition to the stencil, they also had a tick mark at 12, 3, 6, or 9 o'clock around the stencil signifying which Battalion they belonged to. 12 is HQ, 3 is 1st Bat, 6 is second Bat (like Easy company), an 9 is third Bat. Since we portray I (or Item) company, we would be 3rd Bat and you need a tick mark at 9 o'clock on both of the diamonds on the sides of your hemet. Note: this means one is towards the front of the helmet and one is towards the rear. Check out Mark Bando's webstie at www.101airborneww2. com for more info on the 101st.
What are the different types of hat piping for the overseas cap?
The Orange and white piping confused me bacause it was not a solid color. The reason it is striped according to the Militaria expert is that your combat support elements during the war had striped piping and the Combat arms branches (ie, armor, infantry, and artillery) had solid colors. The black piping was for the chaplin corps. One of my sources claims an orange and black piping as Tank Destoryer, but there is a red and blue that is Adjutant General's Department. In which case an old origanal could be faded and discoloured to look orange. This same source says that orange and white is Signal Corps and the orange and white piping was... the signal corps. My uncle was a bazooka guy with HQ/506 and every picture I have ever seen of him in uniform shows him wearing an infantry piped garrison cap. There were airborne artillery units that had red piping and a red glider or parachute patch though. The "Tank Destroyer" units were not bazooka teams. They were armored units that used a tank destroyer instead of tanks. A tank destroyer is an armored vehicle with light armor and a larger than average main gun and was meant to be used to screen the main force of tanks. The reason the armor was light was to give them speed so that they could hit and run. The bazooka men wore regular infantry uniforms and insignia as the bazook was considered a crew-served infantry weapon just like a machinegun or a mortar. I have seen a bazookaman sleeve patch meant to be worn on the lower left sleeve but I'm not entirely convinced that this was an issue item.
What do I need to convert my helmet to a paratrooper helmet?
Airborne chinstrap (with extensions and snaps to attach inside the liner) Airborne chin cup (2) webbing A-frames to attach the chin cup to Liner leather strap (and some way to attach it) Helmet net 1/2 to 3/4" pattern (not the tight 1/4" infantry style OR the wider 2" style for later war)
Are the jump trousers worn higher or lower on the waist?
The 40's style (and later) was wearing trousers at the waist. These combat and dress uniforms are NOT worn like todays jeans, on the hips. I personally think that's why the IKE version (shortened jacket) looks so good and makes us all look taller. I also think that's why so many guys rip the crotches out of their M42 jump pants, they are wearing them too low, and usually without suspenders so the first time they crouch - RIIIIPPPP!!!!!
What is an adapted ETO Class A Uniforms
Standard tan/khaki shirt/trousers/tie with wool IKE jacket PLUS wool garrison cap DO NOT CONFUSE THIS SET WITH THE COMMONLY WORN OFFICER'S "PINKS" & GREENS set! Remember as well that officers had many more options with the Pinks & Greens and Chocolate sets which allowed many mixed combinations. Photo documentation shows a regimental size photo of 505th paras post Normandy and they are all wearing their tan/khaki shirts with the standard wool IKE jackets. I think David Mann came up with this one.