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USMC WWII "Frogskin" Covers - Rethinking The Norm

pump 150

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Although a lot of the pictures are unclear the Eric Hammell book BloodyTarawa does seem to indicate no slit helmet covers being worn. Those with slits are also visible. As a side note not every Marine is wearing a helmet cover so their use was not universal in the Division and hardly any of the Marines use the leather helmet liner chinstrap.


I have a no slit cover from a 2nd Division Marine that was worn on Saipan.



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This is just food for thought: It was mentioned that there is documentation and drawings of the cover with slits dating from 42.


I know from collecting Paratrooper gear that doesn't mean the specs were followed. The QM specs for chin cups call for 4 holes yet early in the war there are way more examples of 5 hole cups, even though the specs clearly stated 4 and there were never any specs for 5 holes.


The specs can be seen in the Paratrooper book.

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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 ?


I would agree and I've come to the same conclussion about this theory myself and have advised my customers accordingly. I too own a copy of the 1942 dated specs indicating the "buttonholes". Coming from a manufacturing perspective it is ENTIRELY possible for the US Marine Corps to have received helmet covers either with or without the buttonholes from the very start. I will even suggest that, it may even be possible that both versions were delivered by multiple contractors simulataneously. However, it makes no sense to me to draw up the specs to include the buttonholes and then to ommit them from contract production. The buttonholes were in the specs for a reason. This is why I distinguish my helmet covers either with or without the buttonholes, rather than first or second pattern, etc.


One possible explination for the buttonhole omissions would be for economy sake. It would be cheaper to omit them. Economy is always a bigger consideration than production lead time.


Having said this, I know some you may be wanting to know, more will be restocking very soon!

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Keep in mind it may have not been contract production that made the no slit covers. The depot could have made them and just not made them to spec. And we all know the Depot made things out of spec than what was called for and expected of contractors. Just look at the variations of the 41 pack with riveted buckle tabs and cloth tabs for the buckles while the contractors were using webbing.

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Alec, every other part is made as to specs the same as the slit covers. Two row stitching on the center seam, chain stitching on brownside, open sawtooth on one side only. If they were constructed at the depot level I would expect maybe something different or variances found at times. Except for the lack of the foliage slits, they are the exact same covers. Just some thoughts.

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Hello gentlemen, I have a question in how the specification reads. In the specification it should have something on sampling or qualification tests something like one out of every 300 covers shall be inspected and tested etc..

Having experience in reading spec.'s and documents pertaining to manufacturing it was quite common for manufacturers to "deviate" from specification with passing results. Most often the resident inspector is looking at what was outlined in the testing requirements of said specification....type of material, tear resistance, maybe in this case a jig the cover is placed on checking size etc. As long as an item meets these basic requirments as outlined it is passed that is why we see a variety often enough within items. It could be as simple as one contractor did not install the slits to cut cost/time for manufacturing. The slots are an aesthetic application again refer back to the testing requirements. A delegated inspector looks at the spec. and see's and says "ok! I have to look at these four things!" no more no less.

It should also be taken into consideration specifications are general guidelines only especially with in field gear etc. Specialty items such as gauges and machined items have to adhere to strict guidelines for obvious reasons and face a much more strict scrutny.

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I am a VN collector and don't know much about the PTO. I have a foliage slits cover with no button holes in my collection for nearly 25 years. I have recently added no foliage slits covers in my collection. Some with EGA, some without, I don't mind because they are for VN marines display.

I have noticed that some no slits covers are made of a heavier HBT material than others.

This is a very interesting thread. Thanks to all the contributors !

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In Alecs book GRUNT GEAR there is a picture on page 39 showing a camo jacket and helmet cover.The description of the picture states its a photo from 1942 of one of the types of P42 camo uniforms used for testing at Quantico,Virginia.Further it states these suits were manufactured at the time by the Marine Corps Depot.THe Marine in the photo also wears a helmet cover.You can make out the center double stitched seam as well as the elongated flaps on the cover.Appears to be foliage slits in the cover but Im thinking these were hand cut to add the branches.THere are no other visible slits or ones on the lower flaps either.I say this as there are also ones cut into the shoulder/front area of the jacket and the slits are in line with each other that are holding branches.I own one of these shirts and they are different as they have a lower pocket on the left side opposed to the standard production having the right lower pocket.THere are also other subtle things as well as a slight color differance compared to the production models.


Just an observation but its an early picture and in my thinking there appear to be no slits in this one cover.I also recieved a cover never worn in a Navy surgeons small group.He did serve on Iwo with the 24th Marines.In the group were a set of the P44 trousers and a cover with slits.Nother show much or any wear.I can only assume he was issued these late in the war in preparation for the invasion of Japan or got them from supply to bring home for some reason lost to time.


Would like to hear others opinions if you have Alecs book.



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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,


Here are a few pics. I hope they are what you need.





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Allen Dail

Hello Everyone

I have been following this thread and find it really interesting. I go with the theory that the slit and no slit covers were concurrent designs or in production at the same time.

As posted by pump 150 on the 1st page of this thread it seems like Bougainville is the first operation where the camo covers show up in photos.

In the 3rd Marine Division history book by the infantry journal I think mine was published in 1947 or 1948 I don't have my note at hand but will post the correct date when I get online tomorrow.

In the pics of Bougainville to my eyes it shows a mixture of plain helmets, slit covers and no slit covers. In the section on Guam covers seem to be scarce mostly uncovered helmets. On Iwo there is a mixture of slits and no slits.

I also found some pics from the internet that I am going to post.

Since I have scanned a few pictures I will post them in installments.

These first pics are from time life and one of them was posted by pump 150. I post it again because it looks like a guy wearing an early army style cover. Also one of the guys is wearing a 2nd pattern Marine camo smock.




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Allen Dail

These pics are from a blog of a reenactor but he has two real phots that he based his photos on.

the numbers are his. I think his number 4 is just a baggy standard cover.

(1) Bolo knife
(2) 1911 & fighting knife
(3) 14-280 corpsman bag
(4) Army & USMC cover worn at the same time (this looks like a saggy marine cover with slits to me)


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Allen Dail





The rest of the pics are from the 3rd marine division history



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Allen Dail





page 111
page 128
page 262

All the first pics are of Bouganville the last pic above starts Iwo Jima page 262 the Marine in the sand


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Allen Dail





Page 262
page 305
page 267
page 272

I put the two motar pics together because they were in different sections of the Iwo pics

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Allen Dail





page 307
page 310
page 364
back piece

Page 364 is the disbandment of the 9th Marines

and the back piece is Iwo I think.

Last post hope it helps with the discussion, I only scanned pics of ones that looked like no slits covers. Since the majority of pics show helmets with slits.

best regards


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Allen, et al -


Thanks for posting the pics! I HAVE been convinced by this thread that the non-slit covers were NOT early war and slit covers were late war. I am inclined to agree with you that the covers were issued simultaneously. That said, absent any documentation, I would be hard pressed to defend that conclusion vehemently, beyond a shadow of a doubt. So, now we are limited to the "I saw it in a photo" defense one often sees in reenacting and collecting. While to some extent I see its validity, on the other hand I have found, like a work of art, people often see what they want to see in photos, especially in grainy, blurry pics. While I "see" non-slit covers all over the photos you posted and others I have, I am sure there will be those in upcoming posts that will claim just the opposite, or that it cannot be determined whether they are slitted or not. That is not a criticism of anyone, just an observation. I am and have been just as "guilty" of this as anyone else.




Bill K.

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I would have to agree with most everything you said as far as picture quality is concerned. It means everthing here with the lack of documents in order to back them up. And we all see what we want to in grainy photos.


Been trying to debunk my own theory here trying to find more clear photos. Came across the Marine Corps History Division site with some super large clear photos. These are nowhere near the size of originals, first the original then the zoomed version, however these show both in action. Only showing what I would consider clear enough to call. But that's just me.


Peleliu landing - Sept. 1944, above the marine with the mosquito net - thanks Mike added the date


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Theres some great theories and photos being presented here!....without me having to go to the history books or google, could someone post the approximate dates of each island battle that the USMC took place in and the first appearance in photos of camo covers etc.....kind of like a chronological order of things for use as a reference to all of us that dont know the order of the landings without checking!...thanks , i think it will help the thread and i would like to see a diagram/line drawing of each variation as well, i know there was one posted awhile back but it was very small and hard to read...maybe someone with photoshop skills would be so kind to help out!?...maybe the diagram and order of the island battles could be pinned at the top of this thread if possible?....mike

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