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D-Day Assault Vests


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#1 bfryar44

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 01:46 PM

I've been collecting D-Day Assault items for several years now and have a passion for the assault vest. Here are some photos of original vests in my collection. Any forum members with original vests please post them.

Harian 1944 size medium. Has been field modified or as I like to say "cutdown".

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v110/bfryar44/My%20Assault%20Vests%20Original/MVC-104S.jpg

Tweedie 1944 size medium

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v110/bfryar44/My%20Assault%20Vests%20Original/Tweedie_front.jpg

Harian 1944 size X-Large

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v110/bfryar44/My%20Assault%20Vests%20Original/Harian_dark_o.jpg

JA Shoe 1944 size Large

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v110/bfryar44/My%20Assault%20Vests%20Original/JA_Shoe_Front.jpg

Harian 1944 size Medium

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v110/bfryar44/My%20Assault%20Vests%20Original/Harian_Khaki_front.jpg

#2 2ad82recon

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 01:52 PM

Did the "British Made" or "Trial" version ever actually exist or was it just a figment of a repro manufacturers mind? Did the book by Windrow and Greene get it WRONG?

#3 bfryar44

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 02:01 PM

I'm not 100% sure that they existed in large quantites but they did exist. The vest shown in the Windrow and Greene book is a fake though. Here is an original picture of a British Made test version taken at the Assault Training Center in England prior to D-Day.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v110/bfryar44/My%20Assault%20Vests%20Original/BAR011.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v110/bfryar44/My%20Assault%20Vests%20Original/BAR012.jpg

#4 Johan Willaert

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 02:26 PM

My Size SMALL JA Shoe made vest.

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s234/johanwillaert/Collection/Equipment/AssaultJacket%20JA%20Shoe/AssaultJacketFront.jpg

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s234/johanwillaert/Collection/Equipment/AssaultJacket%20JA%20Shoe/AssaultJacketRear.jpg

Although Jon Gawne wrote in his Spearheading D-Day that he didn't think Size Small jackets were actually produced, this is an original one. He was surprised when I showed him this. Another size Small JA Shoe is shown in the GI Collector's Guide.

Edited by Johan Willaert, 10 October 2010 - 11:21 PM.


#5 bfryar44

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 02:27 PM

I've picked up at least four other vests for fellow collectors. They were duplicates of ones that I already had. The most common one's found are unissued Light OD Harian vests in size medium. The light OD JA Shoe size large are also common. Very hard to find any vests but they are out there from time to time. There are a couple of members on the board that have vests also so hopefully they'll post theirs too.

Here are two vests from a good friend of mine that lives in New Jersey. Both are original and in mint condition. The dark OD one is a Harian 1944 size X-Large and the light OD one is Harian 1944 size Medium.

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c309/qmjones/Assault%20Vests%20original/BAR012.jpg

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c309/qmjones/Assault%20Vests%20original/BAR010.jpg

#6 Dodo

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 11:49 AM

So, the information of Gawne in the book "Spearheading D-Day" is wrong? He says:

.. This prototype vest is known only by two photographs at the ATC (the photographs posted in this topic) in 1943. British fittings can clearly been seen on the quick release straps. These photographs have caused many collectors to think that a British made lend-lease version of the American jacket was produced. This has been fuelled by a number of reproductions, made in British material on American pattern, that have surfaced in recent years. After extensive research into official records there is no evidence that any American assault jackets were meade in England, other than the single prototype.


I have never seen any British made Assault Jackets on other pictures than those from the ATC.

#7 bfryar44

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 12:27 PM

No, actually I agree with Gawne's statements. I too have never seen an original "British Made" assault vest other than these two photos. They may have made more but I've never seen photographic evidence.

I do however think the British Made assault vest featured in the Windrow book is a fake. A few of these were sold in Europe in the early/mid 90's and were sold as "British Made" but were clearly a fantasy item.

#8 Dodo

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 07:06 AM

I didn't notice the picture of the "British Assault Jacket" in Windrow's book. But I found it (page 70, for those who have the book and didn't notice).

#9 camopara

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 07:59 PM

v1.JPG

Here's another Harian in size medium.

#10 2ad82recon

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 10:30 AM

It always amazes me that the design of these assault vests was not thought through a bit more, especially with the useless tool / web gear attaching grommets. I mean surely they would have had sewn tabs like the E Tool tab on the back to carry web gear, not the eyelet arrangement.

#11 HBT

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 09:16 AM

In addition to Rangers, exactly which units wore these vest on D-Day? Does anyone have period photos of other units wearing these that they can post?

#12 bfryar44

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 09:47 AM

Units that wore the Assault Vests were the assigned Infantry assault units for the 1st, 29th, and 4th Infantry Divisions. Non assault units (ie follow up units) and Engineer units were not issued the vests. I'll try to post some photos for you later.

#13 2ad82recon

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 09:56 AM

At Michel De Trezes Greatest Generation Exhibition in St Mere Eglise in 2004, there was a display mannequin of an Airborne Medic who found and carried one of these assault vests thru the remainder of the Normandy conflict. I beleive also documented evidence of a signal corps cameraman that used one.I agree they were not issue items but nonetheless used by non standard assault personnel. I must suggest these uniques were a ONE OFF and strictly not standard.

#14 bfryar44

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 10:13 AM

You are correct that a few vests were picked up and used by some soldiers after the initial assault. In addition to the instances which you referred to I know of one Air Corps enlisted man that used an assault vest while moving from Utah Beach to his assigned airfield location. He said he found it in a ditch by a hedgerow.

Michel and I talked about the picture you are referring to. He told me he had been looking for photographic evidence for years that at least one paratrooper in Normandy wearing one. He said he was happy to finally find this photo.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v110/bfryar44/My%20Assault%20Vests%20Original/Assaultvestwornby82ndTrooper.jpg

#15 Luke

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 10:43 AM

I've got a picture of a "glider-rider" wearing an OD assault vest on D-Day.

#16 Jeeper704

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 11:19 AM

I heard the same story (same man?) of a photographer using the assault vest so he could store his rolls of film in it and other equipment. Also some Medics using them to store their bandages, etc in them. According to what I remember, one of them said it was good to keep certain stuff apart.

#17 bfryar44

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 04:07 PM

Here is a picture of a cameraman using an assault vest in Normandy. He is an unidentified member of the 165th Signal Photo Company.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v110/bfryar44/WW2%20Photos/BAR-1.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v110/bfryar44/WW2%20Photos/BAR020.jpg

This vest comes from collector Tony Stametelos. It was picked up on Omaha Beach by a medic who used it until the end of hostilities in Europe.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v110/bfryar44/WW2%20Photos/BAR021.jpg


Source: Militaria Magazine No6 July 1994. Assault Vest article written by Jon Gawne.

Edited by bfryar44, 13 January 2007 - 04:52 AM.


#18 bfryar44

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 04:19 PM

There is also a photo of a civilian photographer putting on a vest in England prior to loading assault boats. He was either an Associated Press or Time Magazine photographer, I honestly don't remember. If anyone has that photo please post it.

#19 2ad82recon

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 04:52 PM

BF can you please host up a larger image of the larger picture please? The 165th Signal Photo Company took that set of film which turned into the Combat Reels DVD of the 2nd Armored In Normandy. It would be nice to link the two.

I can ubnderstand how practical it was for non-combatants and possibly medics.
That Stamatelos Jacket has featured in quite a few books and magazines over the years.

#20 glenm

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 11:46 PM

Don't forget (some of) the Rangers as well.

#21 Luke

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 11:38 PM

http://img174.imageshack.us/my.php?image=thcb7.jpg

Caption picture: "......The GI at the rear is equipped with the assault jacket. It seems that this item was issued to a small number of Glider-borne soldiers"

#22 2ad82recon

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 02:32 AM

The question must remain, did he get "issued" it or did he "find" it and think I will have that?

#23 Johan Willaert

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 04:30 AM

Whos says he's Glider Infantry?
Might be 8th IR/4th Div....

#24 gingerbread

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 05:09 AM

My assault vest from Normandy (Montebourg).

http://img359.images...sautface7tk.jpg

http://img461.images...cotdroit5vd.jpg

http://img461.images...ssautdos6yr.jpg

http://img461.images...otgauche0zo.jpg

#25 bfryar44

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 06:15 AM

Looks like you have a dark O.D. vest made by "S. Froelich"??


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