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USMC P1941 P1944 HBT Utility Trousers


craig_pickrall

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craig_pickrall

First pattern features:

 

Inside hung pockets

Watch pocket

Waist button exposed

Waist and inseam length specific - later versions only came in one length

Rear patch pockets

 

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craig_pickrall

Second pattern features:

 

Inside hung pockets

Watch pocket deleted

Waist button covered

Waist specific only - one length fits all

Rear patch pockets

 

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craig_pickrall

Third pattern features:

 

Outside patch pockets

No watch pocket

Waist button covered

Size not marked / readable

Rear patch pockets

 

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craig_pickrall

Fourth pattern features:

 

Inside hung pockets

Watch pocket

Waist button exposed

Size not marked / readable

Rear patch pockets - left pocket has a button closure

 

This uniform was introduced about 1953 / 54. The P41 and P44 patterns had carried the Marine Corps through both WW2 and Korea but they decided to do some updating. The trousers reverted back almost to the first pattern but the shirt was a fairly major redesign. It is the shirt later called the "Gomer Pyle" from the TV series of the early 60's.

 

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craig_pickrall

This book has a pair of the 4th pattern shown and misidentified.

 

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Bellumbill

Craig -

 

Thank you for posting the photos of the trousers!

 

The pair that you describe as "1st Pattern" are widely debated as being a post war pattern (See "Dungarees and Frogskins" by Harlan Glenn). I own a pair, but unfortunately they are un-dated so I cannot say for sure. The only WWII dated trousers I have ever seen or owned have all been either, to use your labels, 2nd or 3rd pattern, with the 2nd pattern being much more prevalent. Also, I have never been able to discover any photographs of a WWII marine wearing any other style of dungaree trousers than a 2nd or 3rd pattern (with the few exceptions of marines wearing US Army HBT trousers, or a few with the P1944 trousers).

 

I always figured the trousers you label as 1st pattern were in fact early versions of WWII USMC trousers given the relative complexity of construction and that later the marines then simplified the design. But others tell me this is not the case, so until I find a dated pair, I guess I will defer to those who know more than I.

 

Again, thanks for the pics!

 

Bill K.

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craig_pickrall

You are the second person to raise that question. Those pics have some age on them now as I did them when the research for GRUNT GEAR was in the works. At that time Alex concluded they were a true WW2 variant and has them shown in GG as such. I have Harlan's book but have not done much with it to date.

 

As soon as time permits I am going to dig them out and compare them with a fresh eye. A lot has been written since those pics were taken. I want to examine the thread for one thing (khaki or green).

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Greg Robinson

I own a copy of both books and have noted the differences of opinion re WW2 "dungarees". For now I'm leaning towards buying Alec's opinon because he's the better researcher of the two authors and his conclusions make more sense to me. I know that wartime dungarees came in single sizes...chest for the jackets and waist for the trousers.....but it's logical to me that there was an early pattern as shown in Craig's "1st pattern". Assuming they are an early pattern I suspect that got replaced quickly, hence their relative scarcity. The only P41 dungaree trousers I own are a "1st pattern" and they were starched and put away in a footlocker post war. They have no markings unfortunately. They have green thread and copper buttons for what that's worth.

 

Greg

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Bellumbill

Greg, Craig -

 

I tend to agree with you guys, but without a date on a pair or original dated specs that describe them as such, we may never exactly know.

 

BTW, I should have mentioned in my previous post that my pair are marked with a 4th Mar. Div. stencil. I have a collector friend who has a pair so marked as well. Both pairs were purchased over 20 years ago so I don't believe they were messed with.

 

At any rate, obviously, since this practice is specific to WWII, it would lead one to further believe these are in fact a WWII style. I tried to "argue" this with Harlan when he was working on the book and even offered to send him my pair as well as my friend's pair to photograph for his book, but he refused. He vehemently denied these were a WWII style and I didn't press the point.

 

Best,

Bill K.

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Greg Robinson
Greg, Craig -

 

I tend to agree with you guys, but without a date on a pair or original dated specs that describe them as such, we may never exactly know.

 

BTW, I should have mentioned in my previous post that my pair are marked with a 4th Mar. Div. stencil. I have a collector friend who has a pair so marked as well. Both pairs were purchased over 20 years ago so I don't believe they were messed with.

 

At any rate, obviously, since this practice is specific to WWII, it would lead one to further believe these are in fact a WWII style. I tried to "argue" this with Harlan when he was working on the book and even offered to send him my pair as well as my friend's pair to photograph for his book, but he refused. He vehemently denied these were a WWII style and I didn't press the point.

 

Best,

Bill K.

 

I own a named P41 dungaree jacket that has the 4th Marine Division stencil on the back side. But the pocket of the jacket is the type Harlan associates with being post WW2. So I tend to discount a lot of what's in his book. I don't recall exactly when the 4thMarDiv deactived but I believe it was before the Korean War. Since the '60's....maybe longer than that....it's been the USMC ready Reserve Division.

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Schnicklfritz

I have both books also, but don't have an opinion on wheather the trousers are WW2 or post war manufacture. The pair I have are constructed with the same features as pattern #1. The main construction difference between this pair and the other WW2 trousers is that they have a 2 piece waistband and the watch pocket. The buttons on mine appear to be unfinished brass, or a brass colored metal. The shade of green is a brighter minty green as compared to my other HBT's. Of course they are used a bit and could have faded like this and the buttons could have lost their finish.

 

I have not seen very many of this pattern. The pair Identified by Craig here as the third pattern, you don't see these very often either. So, if the first pattern is indeed an early varient, I would imagine you would see them less than the pair of third pattern trousers. But they do seem to be constructed similar to the post war 50's pattern trousers.

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Schnicklfritz

Well, I dunno if this will help, but I went home last night and looked at my trousers. To my suprise, I have not one, but two pair of the trousers in question. both are constructed identically to the pair posted up top.

 

One pair is marked 34x30 with a pencil thin stamping, similar to the stamping in post #4. It has the unfinished "brass" butttons, although I believe they are bronze in fact. All stitching is done with green thread, not khaki.

 

The other pair is also stitched with green thread and has blackened bronze buttons. They don't have any marks left on them.

 

Also, I have a contract 42 dated P41 HBT top that is stitched in green thread, so the khaki thing doesn't hold water.

 

Of note is that the post war HBT trousers I have, are like the ones in post #6, that have plastic buttons have different construction techniques. The front pockets are placed closer to the seam with the watch pocket on the outside of the right pocket. Different from the pair in question here.

 

So, who knows! I guess about the only thing would be to find a period photo with a Marine wearing them.

Cheers!

Marc

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Bob Hudson

Since a lot of people (i.e. me) have no idea about what they have when they come across a pair of herringbone twill trousers, I thought we might expand this topic to also cover the Marines P1944 HBT trousers.

 

I found a pair at the swap meet last weekend (for the curious: I got those, a WWII USMC camo helmet cover/mosquito net and a set of post-Vietnam USMC ERDL cammies all for $7).

 

I had no idea what kind of trousers they were other than HBT USMC. They have the black, non-brass buttons, which I now understand are a wartime thing????? And they have the one big rear pocket and I must say when I saw that I thought, "Why would someone modify these to have one big pocket on the seat?" Boy was I surprised to find out they made them that way! This pair had all the buttons, except the ones on the seat pocket: I surmised that someone got of tired sitting on them and ripped them off. :) These have several grommets (made with thread, not metal) on the waistband and ankles. What are those used for? They have the button fly and the one button inside the waistband for securing a flap that helps keep the pants closed.

 

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My two cents. I have two sets of dungarees from a 4th Marine Div. veteran. Both trousers are the second pattern as above. One set is what he wore on Iwo.

 

Ray

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Bellumbill

The trousers above are a nice example of the P1944 USMC Trousers. The stitched grommets at the ankles are for ties that were issued with the trousers, so they could be tucked into leggings or boots more easily. Those at the waist were for affixing the hooks of the USMC web equipment suspenders. Late in the war the marines were trying to find an alternative to the poor pack system and felt these trousers might be an alternative. The butt pocket was supposedly for the poncho and then the side pockets would hold rations, grenades, ammo, etc. The theory was that suspenders would then hold the trousers up, eliminating the need for a pack. The trousers were to be used in conjunction with the P1944 jacket which featured two large interior hung chest pockets, again, for storage. The thought was this system was better for beach assaults since the marine wouldn't be burdened with a heavy, cumbersome pack system that wasn't very easily accessible. The outfit wasn't around long, replaced in 1948 by the WWII style dungarees. I own a pair of these trousers and a jacket both dated 1945 - the jacket January, the trousers March. A very few pairs of the trousers and jackets can be viewed in WWII photos, but they would be rare to see. They are much more prevalent in the Korean war where, as you noted, the butt pocket was often removed.

 

Bill K.

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Bellumbill

One more thing I forgot to mention in reference to my USMC trousers that we are calling here "1st Pattern". Mine feature, in addition to the features mentioned in this thread, white cotton duck lining on the inside waistband and interior hung pockets made out of the same material.

 

Best,

Bill K.

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craig_pickrall

There were P44 trousers made without the poncho pocket but I don't recall ever seeing a pair of them.

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I, nor anyone else I know of, has ever seen a photo if the 44 pattern utilities being worn in the field in ww2. What and where are these photos?

 

CB

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Bellumbill
I, nor anyone else I know of, has ever seen a photo if the 44 pattern utilities being worn in the field in ww2. What and where are these photos?

 

CB

 

Oh, man, now you'll make me dig through all my books!! :) Mainly you will see them on staff officers and the like.

 

I'll see what I can find and scan something.

 

Bill K.

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  • 2 months later...

This are from the seabag of a Marine who served from 1947-1970. They appear to be 2nd pattern P41 trousers but they have solid black buttons. Any ideas?

 

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craig_pickrall

That is an interesting pair. If they had not come from a Marine I would have guessed they were the USN style. The buttons appear to be the same as those used on shelter halves.

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