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USMC WWII "Frogskin" Covers - Rethinking The Norm


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#1 pump 150

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 12:31 PM

I have been collecting covers for quite a while now like a lot of you, and always believed what I had read about these WWII USMC covers. However looking hard at photo evidence over the years one thing always comes up. While I understand that the 1st, 2nd, 3rd patterns generally go by the number or lack of foliage slits in the cover, many believe that it is also the way in which production occurred over time.

Myself and a few others I have talked to have a somewhat different opinion on this. That the no foliage slit "First Model" is actually a very late war produced version that may have been little or never used in WWII going by photo evidence found so far.

I would like to show my theory in pictures, but it could very easily be found not true by a good photo of one before I waste everyone's time. So I'm asking all of you who collect these as well as period photos to end my theory by showing a good close up, clear, well defined, without a doubt picture of a U.S. Marine wearing a no foliage slit "First Model" Frogskin cover in action during World War II.

I would have sworn for years that Tarawa was all no slits until I recently ran across good close ups. I have yet to see one close up confirmed in action. Have noticed that the slits fade into the cover very well in distant, newly issued, and not worn tightly covers.

Just a theory, and looking for comments as to why they are so seldom seen during World War II

Will let this stand for a couple of days in hope someone can post some.

Thanks, Bill

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#2 Theorywolf

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 11:09 PM

Well, I would think that it is not as obscure a question as say the debate over SB helmets used on D-Day or the ongoing debate over hand-painted 29th division helmet insignias vs. decals during the war.  If they were a first production, there should be both photos and videos that can be located.  I have a helmet that is ID'ed to an Iwo JIma vet and the camo cover is the so-called first pattern.  I, for one, will be searching for evidence!

 

Cheers,

 

Mike


Edited by Theorywolf, 03 June 2013 - 11:10 PM.


#3 1940Desoto

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 02:05 AM

Bill,

 

I tend to agree with your theory. I have yet to see an image of the so called 1st pattern cover in use early WW2. My original USMC rig is a swivel bail helmet with no foliage slits in the cover and it is of correct WW2 pattern without EGA. It makes sense to me that to simplify the production process, the slits were deleted late war. I look forward to your findings and like Mike, I am searching for evidence.

 

Cheers

 

Sean



#4 Terry K.

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 04:53 AM

I  never really thought about that. I have a second issue cover in mint condition w/ no EGA from a grouping that came from a Marine that joined the reserves in 1929-30. When the war started he ended up being sent to train marines in Hawaii and I would assume he was issued it then. I also have a first model that has the EGA on one side. Who knows?

Terry



#5 pump 150

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 07:11 AM

Thanks guys for the comments so far, and if any are found feel free to post, it's just a theory.  With so little production documentation of these these, photos are currently the best way I have been able to find so far in order to track how these may have been produced over time.

 

I can't give you guys confirmed stats, just how the photos unfold over time, will post them up tommorrow if no confirmed early WWII are found.

 

Terry, is yours the type with the slits in the crown but not in the flaps, if so can you post some images of it, those seem to be very less seen than either of the other two types.  Would like to see some good ones - stitching, edging, etc,

 

Thanks,  Bill 



#6 sgtdorango

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 01:01 PM

I firmly believe in this theory too!......mike

#7 Bugme

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 01:06 PM

I'll throw my hat into this and say that I lean toward agreeing with your theory. 



#8 Terry K.

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 01:15 PM

 

 

Terry, is yours the type with the slits in the crown but not in the flaps, if so can you post some images of it, those seem to be very less seen than either of the other two types.  Would like to see some good ones - stitching, edging, etc,

 

Thanks,  Bill 

Hi Bill,

 

I am baby sitting right now but will try to dig it out and take pics tomorrow.

Terry



#9 Justin

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 01:29 PM

Great post Bill. I've always looked at the type without slits as a later pattern, too. The type with slits in the body and flaps first dates to September 42. Finding covers without slits with EGA's added to them also seems to be more common then the type with the slits.

#10 GIJive

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 04:15 PM

I, too, agree with your thinking on this.  The earliest 1942 drawings show the cover to be designed with the slits.  I also agree that finding the slit type covers in minty condition is more difficult than the type without slits,  I believe Flage Guy may also support this theory as he has mentioned it a couple of times in posts on WWII camouflage.  Another take is that the covers without slits were merely a manufacturing variation (or mistake) and they used what they had.  I personally have seen more covers with the later EGA stamp that were of the plain variety than the ones with the slits.  I am not referring to the Blue Anchor Overall marked 1953 dated covers which can commonly be found with the EGA.



#11 pump 150

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 04:51 PM

Thanks again, away from my photos today otherwise I would post them.  Will do it in the morning if nothing shows up.

 

Most books state that both types were produced (which I believe), however I think the collecting community has labeled them 1st, 2nd, 3rd (by the number of foliage slits) and over the years many collectors have come to believe that was the way in which they were produced over time from many reactions I get.  

 

Most think "1st" means the first made with improvements over time "2nd" etc., and it would seem to make sense judging by the later Mitchell's, ERDL, and Woodland covers, but the photos I have don't appear to show it that way.

 

 

Bill 


Edited by pump 150, 04 June 2013 - 04:54 PM.


#12 etienne

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 09:19 PM

Hello Bill,

 

this topic has already been discussed and I follow you, the pattern's order is likely to be a collector's point of view, nothing more.

 

Problem is we don't have much informations to establish the proper chronology, other than photos but it's probably worth a try to clarify things by studying those photos.

 

Etienne



#13 Corpsmancollector

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 01:51 AM

Count me in too. I think Etienne's assessment is spot on, the labeling of 'first pattern'/'second pattern' is likely a collector-ism. Other members have raised some very good points with regards the original spec drawings for the covers as well as the covers with no slits being commonly seen with EGAs on them. 

 

Will



#14 pump 150

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 10:23 AM

O.K. gonna give this a go to see what you guys think.

First off I am no expert, and have more questions than answers, looking for all opinions as there is no true documentation, we can only go by what the pictures show.

I am also not saying that USMC covers without foliage slits were never produced and used during WWII, just that it is very hard to find large scale use with concrete evidence of them at this time, and it would appear no one else has any either.

Most of these come from the Google/Life archive as it's the best quality, and dated photos I've been able to find. Some you guys have seen many times, others I have not seen here before. Very photo heavy!

In 1942 Gen MacArthur ordered 150,000 camouflage uniforms for his forces operating in the Southwest Pacific Command. Here is the data sheet mentioned by Justin dated Sept. 1942, as well as some of the earliest photos of these I've found in use. The first one is a little iffy if they have foliage slits but the following leave little doubt that they were included in the first production run.

Bougainville November 1943

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  • boug.jpg


#15 pump 150

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 10:25 AM

Bougainville November 1943

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  • boug 3.jpg


#16 pump 150

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 10:32 AM

Bougainville November 1943.

Also in November 1943 - Tarawa. As stated above I would have sworn in the past that these were all no slit covers until looking deeper. Many could be, but it's hard to tell for sure due to the slits fading into the covers so easily. But it is also true that covers with slits were present. What's your opinions?

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  • tarawa 4.jpg


#17 pump 150

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 10:34 AM

Tarawa November 1943

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  • tarawa land2.jpg


#18 pump 150

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 10:38 AM

Roi Namur Jan 1944 - This one's tough. Could be no slit covers, but this is about the best quality photo I have. Opinions?

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Edited by pump 150, 05 June 2013 - 10:39 AM.


#19 pump 150

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 10:44 AM

Eniwetok - April 1944

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#20 NickD

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 10:45 AM

interesting thread

 

why would they first make them with foliage slits then stop producing that version to the type without would have been a cases of speeding up production or did they think they weren't really needed ?



#21 pump 150

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 10:53 AM

By the time of Saipan in June 1944 it seems that nearly all close up photos for the rest of World War II are of foliage slit covers, not saying the no slit covers were not produced, but if used there seems to be no definite evidence as could be seen even possible in the earlier photos. I'm always looking for it, if anyone finds some please post

Here is the best photo I've been able to find of a marine with the rear flaps out for shade. Is there a slit in the flap?

Saipan

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  • marine saipan - Copy.jpg


#22 pump 150

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 11:07 AM

O.K. Theory time -

If no foliage slit covers were produced early in World War II it would seem they would be seen in action more, and would fade out as time and improvements (slits) were included one would think.

If they were made on a small scale or a misplaced contract they could easily not be seen much at all. But there are still many had by collectors.

Opinions?


So where is the hard evidence of the USMC no foliage slit helmet covers in use to be found. I searched Korea, and Bingo!

Easily documented proof of these is all over the place during the Korean War. A few mixed with slit covers during 1950 and maybe hard to tell for sure but as the war progressed they seem to be become the most "standard" cover used.

1950

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#23 pump 150

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 11:09 AM

March 1951 - looks like one on left

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#24 pump 150

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 11:10 AM

1951

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#25 pump 150

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 11:12 AM

1952

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