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Korean War Impression


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I'm wondering what all the basics for such a uniform might be, jacket, pants, field gear, etc. I currently have a dark OD cartridge belt with some 50s canteen covers and the like.

 

Over all I would like to know what the basics for a US GI uniform during the Korean War would contain. That or a marine! Thanks!

 

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There are so many combinations of gear you could wear. Get some books and look at the pictures. Shelby Stanton has a good book on Korean War uniforms & gear...the good news is there are not many collectors of Korean War gear. So I tell young collectors too start there. Good Luck!

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Pvt. James H. Honey 1st Md. Eastern shore Vol. Inf. Co. D (union) Gettysburg
Pvt. George Eddie Lear 26th Inf. Co.H 1st Div .(WW1) P.H. WIA Cpl. Richard Elsea 268th C.A. Bn. Battery A. WW2 SSgt. Grant Elsea 314th Inf. Hq.Co. I.R.79thDiv. WW2
Cpl. Harry Lawrence Butler Jr 23rd Regt. WIA Korea Lt. George Olin Tilghman 111th MG. 29th Div. WW1 DIS France 1919
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To add what 268th abtly stated, you can also do a forum search, using any keywords that you are interested in knowing more on, notably in the Craig Pickrall Field & Personal Gear Forum, Ephemera, Photographs, Military artwork and here in Uniforms, loads and loads of period photographs to be seen.

 

For a starter, here's a great one on the various helmets that could be seen then from Steel & Kevlar Helmets Forum, 2 pages worth, of both original examples posted by members and ones seen in period photos, which will also function as a uniform and gear cross reference in the latter, as these are ones taken in combat,in the trenches and or directly behind the lines.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/245894-korean-war-helmets/

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268th and Patches both nailed it.. The book to get is Stanton's (pictured). His series of 4 books (WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Cold War) are excellent reference books for uniforms...

 

Also when you do your impression/display take into consideration the time frame and season.. Early Korea summer, HBT's, and then winter time, cargo or field pants, field jackets, parkas, over whites, ect..

 

I have just focused on one particular unit of the Korean conflict that had specific uniforms and equipment (187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team) for my display, so you can also narrow the focus..

 

Incidentally, the cover of Stanton's Korean War uniform book shows a paratrooper of the 187th ABRCT.

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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Seeing as how the Korean war started less than 5 years after WWII ended, and seeing as how the US military (particularly the ground forces like the Army and Marines) were in a budget crunch after WWII, most of the uniforms and equipment would be similar what was used in WWII with some exceptions.

 

I do think that whereas in the ETO in WWII it was common for soldiers to still wear wool service-dress type uniform in the field, by the time the KW started, the Army realized it needed two separate uniforms, one for garrison or dress wear and one for the field or combat. Pretty sure soldiers and marines were mostly in HBT uniforms in Summer and probably wool field uniforms in Winter (when they were available - sadly when the Chinese attacked in November of 1950 most of the Army units had not been issued cold weather gear because it was thought the war would be over by Christmas.)

 

I have 3 of Stanton's 4 uniform books, but the KW one is the only one I DON'T have! Hmmm....I guess I need to order that one!

Martin

Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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I have that book also, great reference material. My only comment would be don't get hung up on only having 1950-53 dated items, most of the equipment in use (especially early on in the conflict) was from WW2.

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I have that book also, great reference material. My only comment would be don't get hung up on only having 1950-53 dated items, most of the equipment in use (especially early on in the conflict) was from WW2.

 

+1 on this.

 

Most simply put, a Korean war warm weather impression from 1950 to the end of the war will look almost the same as a late WWII impression in HBTs. Bonus points if you tuck your shirt in. Winter is also similar except you don't see wool overcoats.

 

Regardless of the season, think cotton vs. wool. Instead of wools - HBTs. Instead of overcoats and wool trousers you see M43/MQ1/M50 jackets, parkas or pile liners and M43 trousers or HBT trousers layered over wool and thermals.

 

Stanton's book is a great resource, but one of the best is always photographs of the era.

 

Rob

Exhausting & Dirty Work



Interested in buying identified or re-searchable Korean War uniforms, groupings, medals and more.

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Thermals are the "long johns" or thermal underwear..

 

These came in white and in WW2 white and green.. Green could also be used as excess WW2 surplus

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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Like many other members have stated most of the equipment used during the Korean war, at least early on would have been World War Two surplus. I put together a Korean war uniform for a display of mine last year which I still have and most of it was World War Two surplus items. A few exceptions though would be the m1945 pack and suspenders as that would have pretty much fully replaced the m1928 haversack by that point. M1943 and m1950 field jackets would also be the most commonly worn, m1951 uniforms would be late korean war, so like late 1952-1953. Also important to note that like member Martinjmpr said the wool service shirts and wool service pants which were most commonly worn in the field and the dress would be phasing out by this point. Earlier in the war they were still worn but the m1951 uniform as well as OG-107's and OG-108's started to be worn later in the war. So it really depends on what time period and what type of soldier you are looking to have an impression for.

I am an amateur collector of US military items of the 20th century.

 

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-Items related to the 50th Combat Engineer Regiment/Battalion

-Items related to Wheelus Air Force Base Libya, particularly from 1957-1960

-WW2 items belonging to service members from Northern Virginia

-WW2 Uniforms (all branches and services)

-Cheap/Throwaway WW2 named uniforms

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-7th Infantry Division Items

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Thought I would post some pictures of what I've got so far, it's far from complete but this is what I could pick out from my collection.

 

Firstly I'll start with web gear, I have a 1944 dated M1943 Entrenching tool in a 1945 dated cover, a 1945 dated canteen cover, 1945 dated cup and 1943 dated canteen. The cartridge belt and M1945 I have no clue as the ink is long since gone. The pack of all things missing loads of straps and in pretty beat up shape.

 

Next for the uniform I have a M1950 field jacket, an Army HBT jacket (how would you date these?) And M1951 trousers. It's the best I have as I've got no HBT or really cotton pants or anything to use for the uniform. As for headgear I have a late WW2 rear seam schlueter shell.

 

Preferably I'm going for a more early Korean war uniform, any suggestions on what I should pick up next?Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

 

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Its looking pretty good, but if you are looking for an early Korean war I'd probably ditch the m1951 trousers and m1950 field jacket for an m1943 field jacket and either some HBT trousers, or m1943 trousers, although I'd lean towards the HBT trousers as I'm not sure how many if any m1943 trousers were ever issued or used during the Korean War. Also, go pick up some m1945 suspenders for the m1945 packs as otherwise, you would have no way of attaching it to the rest of the field gear. Make sure the suspenders are m1945 and not the ww2 m1944 as the m1944 are NOT compatible with the m1945 pack, they are meant for the m1944 pack only. Also, I'd get an m1942 first aid kit for the most basic of field gear. If you want to go above an beyond there are plenty of other things to add to the web gear like a bayonet and such, but as long as you got ammo, first aid, canteen, pack, and E-tool, it should work fine.

 

It looks like you have a 4th pattern HBT these were made late WW2, 1944-1945 I believe. as for the m1950 field jacket check to make sure it says m1950 if you have a tag intact, many m43 field jackets were modified to be m1950's post-ww2, these are usually designated MQ1 in collector terms I believe. Now, the m1950 and m1951 jacket and trousers are fine, but if you are looking for 1950 battles like the battle for the Pusan-perimeter then you would want pretty much all WW2 dated surplus gear.

 

I have a question though, has the helmet been recorked/painted?

Anyway, you are off to a great start so far!

Hunt

I am an amateur collector of US military items of the 20th century.

 

Looking for items related to:

-The Aleutian Island Campaign of WW2, Alaskan Theater, Alaska Defense Command, and more specifically the Battle of Attu

-Items related to the 50th Combat Engineer Regiment/Battalion

-Items related to Wheelus Air Force Base Libya, particularly from 1957-1960

-WW2 items belonging to service members from Northern Virginia

-WW2 Uniforms (all branches and services)

-Cheap/Throwaway WW2 named uniforms

-Smaller WW2 Groupings

-7th Infantry Division Items

-WW2 Photos and Letters (all branches, theaters, services, etc)

 

^^ PM ME!!

 

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I agree, 1944-45 dated gear is best for early Korea (1950-51). Bayonet should be the 10" M1, field gear should be late WW2 OD.

The M-1951 pile caps were a common item in Korea too, both the M1943 and MQ-1 versions would have been available early on.

Don't forget the field cap, either M-1943 or M-1951.

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I agree, 1944-45 dated gear is best for early Korea (1950-51). Bayonet should be the 10" M1, field gear should be late WW2 OD.

The M-1951 pile caps were a common item in Korea too, both the M1943 and MQ-1 versions would have been available early on.

Don't forget the field cap, either M-1943 or M-1951.

 

Oh yes definitely get a field cap! In photos of the Korean War it seems they are more often wearing field caps then helmets, I got an m1951 for my display I remember as well. But if you want an early probably get a m1943. The good thing about doing an early Korean War is that most of the gear present could be used for a late WW2 display as well so if you ever want to switch it up it wouldn't be that hard at all.

 

Hunt

I am an amateur collector of US military items of the 20th century.

 

Looking for items related to:

-The Aleutian Island Campaign of WW2, Alaskan Theater, Alaska Defense Command, and more specifically the Battle of Attu

-Items related to the 50th Combat Engineer Regiment/Battalion

-Items related to Wheelus Air Force Base Libya, particularly from 1957-1960

-WW2 items belonging to service members from Northern Virginia

-WW2 Uniforms (all branches and services)

-Cheap/Throwaway WW2 named uniforms

-Smaller WW2 Groupings

-7th Infantry Division Items

-WW2 Photos and Letters (all branches, theaters, services, etc)

 

^^ PM ME!!

 

Instagram: @surplus_central https://instagram.com/surplus_central/

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Alright I'll keep an eye out for that, and what would the M43 trousers or HBTs look like? Apologies for the lack of knowledge on my part, I'm relatively new to collecting (7 years but really only these past 3 I have been doing research and collecting actively.) Could someone post a picture of either? Thanks!

 

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Well, you have two types of trousers designated m43 trousers. You have the wool service trousers which would have been worn in combat and with the dress uniform, and then you have the combat trousers which saw much more limited use. At first look, the m43 trousers look like HBT Trousers because they use the same 13-star buttons, but they are in fact of made of a heavier material similar to that of the m51 trousers. They were meant to be for colder weather use I believe, I haven't seen too many for sale. A few on eBay here and there. The wool trouser would work for early Korean War as well though as it was still pretty standard for a combat uniform.

 

post-165862-0-33547700-1537919900_thumb.jpg

M43 trouser shown above.

The wool m43 trouser looks just like that of the previous m1937 wool trouser, except it is darker in color more of a dark brown instead of the mustard yellow/brown color of the m1937. Also, the back pockets are different as well, having usually one button flap or no button flaps on the back pockets, there are also post-war occupation-Korean war era wool trousers which usually have two button flaps on the back pockets, one on each pocket. If you check on the inside of the pants on the pocket flaps there should be a QM tag.

Hope this helps,

Hunt

I am an amateur collector of US military items of the 20th century.

 

Looking for items related to:

-The Aleutian Island Campaign of WW2, Alaskan Theater, Alaska Defense Command, and more specifically the Battle of Attu

-Items related to the 50th Combat Engineer Regiment/Battalion

-Items related to Wheelus Air Force Base Libya, particularly from 1957-1960

-WW2 items belonging to service members from Northern Virginia

-WW2 Uniforms (all branches and services)

-Cheap/Throwaway WW2 named uniforms

-Smaller WW2 Groupings

-7th Infantry Division Items

-WW2 Photos and Letters (all branches, theaters, services, etc)

 

^^ PM ME!!

 

Instagram: @surplus_central https://instagram.com/surplus_central/

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It helps plenty! Appreciate the help once again! I probably need to look for a new M1945 Pack though... it's a bit rough.

 

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As long as you can fit them onto the m45 suspenders it would work fine, but m45 packs are pretty inexpensive so you shouldn't have any trouble finding one. Look on eBay or on the forum FS section many times suspenders and pack are being sold together for only like $15-$25. if you really want to you could get the second m45 cargo pack which also attaches to the suspenders and m45 pack making a system similar to that of the USMC WW2 pack system, but the lower back would not have been worn in combat so its up to you.

 

Hunt

I am an amateur collector of US military items of the 20th century.

 

Looking for items related to:

-The Aleutian Island Campaign of WW2, Alaskan Theater, Alaska Defense Command, and more specifically the Battle of Attu

-Items related to the 50th Combat Engineer Regiment/Battalion

-Items related to Wheelus Air Force Base Libya, particularly from 1957-1960

-WW2 items belonging to service members from Northern Virginia

-WW2 Uniforms (all branches and services)

-Cheap/Throwaway WW2 named uniforms

-Smaller WW2 Groupings

-7th Infantry Division Items

-WW2 Photos and Letters (all branches, theaters, services, etc)

 

^^ PM ME!!

 

Instagram: @surplus_central https://instagram.com/surplus_central/

eBay: http://www.ebay.com/usr/giovachm

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As with really any historical impression, what you want will depend on unit and time frame. Do you have a particular unit in mind that you want to portray? Divisional is always a good start, but you will want to eventually narrow it down to regiment, Battalion, and company. You would be surprised at what differences there are at the small unit level.

Always interested in items related to the 37th Infantry Division or 145th Infantry Regiment in WWII

"Let them not be forgotten for they have shown the world that freedom is not free"

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Alright this topic has gotten a bit old but I've found some time in between school to find more specifics. I'm doing an impression off of Fox Company, 7th Marine regiment, 1st Marine division.

 

While I do not have the time nor really money right now, or time to wait for a book on this company, or to do research, I am going to a surplus store full of a BUNCH of old goodies for the picking this friday. WW1 to modern day. If anyone at all could help with research for a uniform, or pictures etc, it would be GREATLY appreciated! As the store is a long drive and my parents usually are only willing to bring me up once a year if even. Thanks all!

 

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I would like to suggest that you pick up a copy of this book: The Last Stand of Fox Company by Bob Drury.. This will give you a better idea and a first hand account of the men of the company. These men of the Chosin Reservoir have a remarkable story.

 

This is a link to a copy at Barnes and Noble for only $4.88..

 

I was very close friends with Corporal Robert L Gaines who is now passed but is mentioned in the book numerous times. When Bob retired from the Marines he was a 1SG. A remarkable man. When he passed, his family gave me many of his uniforms and other items from Korea.

 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/last-stand-of-fox-company-bob-drury/1101106825/2660219926027?st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_New+Marketplace+Shopping+Books_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP212653&gclid=Cj0KCQjw0dHdBRDEARIsAHjZYYDmmV3w-ahWvv4L4vvJrmZ92Wh8FO4Ev3HplFoEickgy16Bkvob7qcaAsUuEALw_wcB

 

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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