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Show your Market Garden troopers/displays!


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This thread needs more posts!

I agree.

 

I do not know if Horus is still a forumer of the USMF -- in his profile I found "Last Seen: 11th July 2007 - 08:08 PM". If you see us Horus however -- do not think bad about the USMF forumers who wanted to indicate you some imperfections of your mannequin portraying airborne assault in the Netherlands.

 

It is a pity that this topic caused needless tension and showed almost nothing when it comes to M1943 para trousers as required for historically correct mannequin of a paratrooper jumping in the Market Garden operation. The M43 para trousers became leitmotif of this thread, on the other hand there is lack of good topic at USMF describing the trousers used by the airborne troops during Dutch assault of 1944.

 

When it comes to the M43 trousers for Market Garden "The Rule Is Lack of Rules" -- that is the main rule for every person who wants to have correct mannequin portraying the US airborne troops in Fall 1944 but also Winter 44/45. The beginners, without their home libraries, have to release their minds from repro militaria dealers' powerful pressure that everyone airborne trooper of Market Garden era must have rigger-made M43 trousers with two cargo pockets absolutely and two leg ties for them absolutely as well. It is not the truth and big manipulation done today in the peoples' minds by marketing machine. No bigger absurdity that a hundred percent of the US paras had then such trousers. Almost all images from Market Garden indicate both the paras wearing M43s with cargo pockets and without them. Much better solution is to give Market Garden mannequin standard M1943 trousers without even the smallest modification than to give Korea-era exotic trousers. That is why Luke and Michiel M.'s mannequins, as shown in this topic, are so good, so natural and historically correct. Their mannequins have unmodified M43 trousers and it is enough to have real history of Market Garden home.

 

What can be seen at historic photographs from Market Garden are various M1943 trousers used by the US gliderborne and parachute units. They are:

• standard M1943 trousers, totally untouched by the riggers to modify anything;

• rigger-modified M1943 trousers with two canvas-made cargo pockets without leg ties;

• rigger-modified M1943 trousers with two canvas-made cargo pockets with only one leg tie on left pocket (I know two such images -- coincidence or some paras wanted to have one pocket tied and the second one more loosely?);

• rigger-modified M1943 trousers with two canvas-made cargo pockets with two leg ties for them.

 

Unfortunately Guy F. Rousseau's book "US Airborne Militaria 1944" shows too little from Market Garden and this book is focused mainly on the other airborne operations than September assault in the Netherlands. I think that all we hope that long awaited Michel De Trez's "Orange is the Color of the Day" book will be new and big value for all the people interested in MG. Nobody knows a hundred percent of items however and even Michel De Trez is not able to show all possible versions and sub-versions of M43 trousers worn then -- the trousers which became conflictogenic in this thread. Only detailed analyze of the MG photographs ought to be the only one indication for collectors and reenactors what to wear and how to wear something related to that time.

 

Below MG period para GIs can be seen with M43 modified trousers where cargo pockets were added but the leg ties are only at left legs.

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Below MG period M43 para trousers can be seen without leg ties. I hope JGC forumer will forgive me reposting image from his collection (I described it). One of the images below is from Bastogne -- two pathfinders are standing in front of brick wall and one of them (right) has M43 uniform set with trousers without leg ties.

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Nice pictures! Exactly right, they used what they had. Many troopers didn't bother sewing any pockets at all. And many more cut the leg ties off (which were primarily used to hold tight, whatever was in the pocket while jumping) after they had landed, as they became a nuisance. With more not having any to begin with. I actually have a genuine pair of regular M43's that i was going to put on that display, BUT, they wouldn't fit him :P It's beyond me why they make the mannequins so huge, waist, torso, even feet, they are nearly maximum size for a regular person!

What i wonder btw, is why the rigger modified M43's in general, are so lacking these days. Considering, they were kept till the end of the war (unlike the M42's, which were nearly exclusively, all handed in) it's a real wonder why there aren't so many pairs around today, as say for eg, the M43 jackets. I think i've seen more original modified M42 pants, than the M43s!

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What i wonder btw, is why the rigger modified M43's in general, are so lacking these days. Considering, they were kept till the end of the war (unlike the M42's, which were nearly exclusively, all handed in) it's a real wonder why there aren't so many pairs around today, as say for eg, the M43 jackets. I think i've seen more original modified M42 pants, than the M43s!

That's right. My observation is the same although I do not know the reason of this phenomenon. I was lucky man because I bought nice WWII rigger-modified M43 trousers from US Army officer who has been militaria collector but removed, changed his house and liquidated big part of his collection. Because I corresponded with him for a longer time some day he wrote to me "Gregory, I have to remove -- do you want this, this, and this and also original WWII rigger-made M43 trousers? I bought them from a guy who took home in 1945 a lot of M1943 jump uniform sets and am only a second owner of them". It was my lucky day... now I am the third owner :D

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I have two pair of M43 trous with cargo pockets, one pair from a Glider Pilot and one pair -- unworn, as new condition -- from a 17th Abn rigger.

 

The former were worn for both MARKET GARDEN and VARSITY -- the GP kept them in between and after. He was an officer, and officers were often not asked/requested/bothered to turn items in that had been "free issue". Their pockets are made of used, reclaimed tent canvas that are lighter than the trousers themselves. He LIKED the cargo pockets and wore the trous when flying C-47s as co-pilot and working as a Glider Erection OIC prior to VARSITY.

 

The rigger trous are brand new and you might swear that they are replicas or fakes, but not so. The pockets are very nicely made and their material is exactly a match for the trous.

 

Both pairs are packed away and I do not recall the status of their tie-downs.

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Johan Willaert

I have been told that even some trousers had knee re-inforcements for Market Garden... a modification generally associated with 17AB during Varsity...

 

And the absence of leg straps in the field after the jump does not necessarily mean they were never there... Some straps were cut or torn off once they were not needed anymore... The same sometimes occured on M42 trousers in Normandy...

 

Here are two pictures of an M42 pair of trousers on which the straps were cut/torn off... Left and right leg with the traces of the sewn on straps visible...

 

M42TrousersTornOffStraps1.jpg

 

M42TrousersTornOffStraps2.jpg

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I found the GP trous. They have tapes, made by folding over tent canvas into a tube, then sewing the tubes flat. They also have knee patches made of the same semi-washed tent canvas, which is lighter and grayer than OG. The owner of these got them for MARKET GARDEN, so they are one example of knee patches in that op.

 

I wonder if some of the variances in cargo pockets, etc -- in material, color and sewing details -- may be because not just Divisional riggers were making them. I suspect the USAAF depots and support units made them for Glider Pilots, rather than overtax the Parachute Maintenance units. Surely the 9th AF had canvas repair and parachute and flight gear fabrication assets up to the task.....

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Nice to see that this thread developed itself in such a good direction.

 

My M43 para trousers also have cargo pockets made of canvas. The color of this canvas is like OD#7. The trousers were issued, used and washed but still have strong colors of both poplin and canvas. They are tieless version -- no even the smallest mark of cutting the ties off. I will take a photo but not this week.

 

Best regards

 

Greg

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I measured thickness of canvas used for additional pockets in my trousers. It is .45mm which means .018in. I do not know unfortunately how to re-count it into oz measure typical for canvas and what type of canvas is it -- tent or other one?

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I suspect the USAAF depots and support units made them for Glider Pilots, rather than overtax the Parachute Maintenance units. Surely the 9th AF had canvas repair and parachute and flight gear fabrication assets up to the task...

Yes, it may well be. The GPs had very profesionally made additional cargo pockets. Below GP in such trousers can be seen. This topic is not about it but noteworthy are embroidered GP wings on his M1943 jacket -- if I am not mistaken they are, due to design, British-made variant.

 

Best regards

 

Greg

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Hello Paul,

 

This manner of the knife attaching may seem to be strange none the less it is very popular in armed forces, mainly today, but not only. See below at US WWII para (Southern France invasion) who has his M3 attached upside down.

 

Best regards

 

Greg

 

Greg, while the M43 is affixed "upside down," this was standard practice when worn on the harness. To affix it with the grip up, it would require that it be extracted from the scabbard upward near helmet level, whereas if affixed with handle down, it was a simple matter of pulling down, and with an upward thrust to follow. Typical airborne and Ranger practice. Jack

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Re my pair of cargo-pocketed M43 trous from the 17th Para Maint Co vet: As best he could recall, these -- and hundreds or thousands more -- were made up in France, largely by French civilians hired for the job, with the 17th riggers helping. This would have been in Feb-Mar 45, before VARSITY.

 

But he said there were piles of them left over -- not shipped out to the waiting 17th units -- and the word was that they would be given to French army (paras?). There had been a "boatload" (literally) of chutes and other Abn gear already passed to the "Frogs" (this stuff was the 13th Abn Div's inventory brought over from the US, he thought). So, rather than have them "go to waste" he and his buddies "souvenired" several pairs each. He also said that after its participation in The Bulge, the 17th was reconstituted with parachutes and other supplies taken from the 13th, and that 13th riggers assisted in this and preparations for VARSITY.

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Johan Willaert
I have two pair of M43 trous with cargo pockets, one pair from a Glider Pilot and one pair -- unworn, as new condition -- from a 17th Abn rigger.

 

The former were worn for both MARKET GARDEN and VARSITY -- the GP kept them in between and after. He was an officer, and officers were often not asked/requested/bothered to turn items in that had been "free issue". Their pockets are made of used, reclaimed tent canvas that are lighter than the trousers themselves. He LIKED the cargo pockets and wore the trous when flying C-47s as co-pilot and working as a Glider Erection OIC prior to VARSITY.

 

The rigger trous are brand new and you might swear that they are replicas or fakes, but not so. The pockets are very nicely made and their material is exactly a match for the trous.

 

If you could get those out, I would especially like to see a picture of the pockets in lighter material...

 

Thanks

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Johan Willaert
The cargo pockets on the Modified M43 trousers (82nd,101st and 17th) are made with exactly the same canvas material as they used to modified the M42 jump-suit and nothing else!!!

 

Well, bearing that in mind, we should then see M43 trousers with leather, chamois, tan canvas, brown canvas, od canvas, parachute static line straps etc all used for pockets!

 

While about 99,9% of the M43 AB trousers did indeed have the pockets made in the heavy canvas generally encountered on the M42 Normandy suits, other fabric has been used and seen on ID'd trousers...

 

Never say never....

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