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M41 & M42 Paratrooper Uniform

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I took this photo a while ago for colour comparison between a couple of repro jacket and some of the original jackets I have:

Left to right:

- original 17th A/B Jacket, well used, came fitted with Vietnam-era 101st Airborne insignia (101st cut-edge patch with Ranger Airborne tab, Captain's cloth bars, master para cloth wing)
- original jacket, retrofitted with insignia and reinforcements
- original jacket, virtually unused. Dinstinct brown shade.
- repro jacket sold via Sturm in Germany (Chinese made, second batch)
- original 101st jacket (named to SSgt in 81st AAAABn)
- repro jacket (Chinese made, first batch)


2nd Armored in Europe : http://www.2ndarmoredineurope.co.uk

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This is the M42 tunic - I had 2 - I once had which came from a 101st trooper.
A well-known collector/militaria dealer has this complete Airborne trooper in his collection now.


DEAD LINK 1/15/15


704th Tank Destroyer Battalion





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I am not sure. He was a real character. I liked him a lot but I always called him Mr. Poole. I am terrible at remembering names also. You are correct on the name spelling. He said he picked the jacket up at a repo depo that was in a big pile while he was looking for boots. He was from the Miami area of Northeast Oklahoma. 2 of his 4 kids are still alive I will try to get in touch and find out more details about him. I need to find out what happened to his M1 rifle and the rest of his military stuff. He passed away in the late 80's I think. I am not sure now.

His son "Dee" (my friend) died of a heart attack 4 years ago and I have lost touch with the surviving siblings. Any way I will try to find out more about him if I can.

Hope this helps some way.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This has to be one my most favorite pieces of US cloth in my collection. (And I have a lot) This is my M42 Paratrooper Jump Jacket, identified to the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division. The parachuting cat, designed by Walt Disney, in 1942, has been nicely painted on the front of the jacket. Also, nicely penned, between the shoulder blades, is a large set of jump wings, with "11th Airborne" over the wings. This has lot's of character, with signs of period use, but is definetely made up for in the art work.


The 503rd had existed before the war, being the very first PIR every created. They saw service in North Africa, before being shipped to the Pacific. At Luzon, the fighting often came hand to hand with the Japanese.




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This jacket is an interesting one and an enigma as well. I agree that the insignia on the pocket appears to be that of the 503rd RCT and the wing stenciled on the back is obviously 11th Airborne. Why would the two insignia be together though? The 503rd was a seperate Regimental Combat Team in World War II and was never attached or assigned to the 11th Airborne Division. The 11th was made up of the 187th and 188th GIR's and the 511th PIR and was later augmented with the 541st PIR which was broken up to bolster the existing regiments of the 11th.


You are correct that the 503rd was the first Parachute Infantry Regiment, but at no time was the Regiment in the ETO. The 2nd battalion of the 503rd was shipped to North Africa where it was renumbered as the 509th Parachute Infantry battalion. The first battalion of the 503rd was shipped to the Pacific through the Panama Canal. When the 503rd arrived in Panama, the 501st Parachute Infantry Battalion was picked up and assigned to the 503rd PIR. The 503rd PIR was augmented with the 462nd Parachute Field Artillery and together they made up the 503rd RCT. The 2nd Bn 503rd, renumbered as the 509th ended up heading to Italy after four combat jumps in North Africa where they operated as a seperate parachute force for the 5th Army Commander, Mark Clark.

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.



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This is indeed a bit of an enigma. The 503 prct painted patch certainly looks period done as well as the design back of the jacket. They were probably done just post war as a "souvenir" for the soldier. He may indeed have served in both units, even though the 503 never was in the 11th AB. They did serve together in the same campaigns however, most notably the Philippine liberation. I believe I have seen a photo or photos of the M42 jump jacket being worn by some in the very early deployment of the 11th AB or 503 prct somewhere in the south pacific.

However, whatever quantity of M42's made it over there were quickly replaced by the standard infantry HBT's and these are what they made their combat jumps in.

They generally used standard M1 helmets and many did not even have the jump boots, but standard 2 buckle boots!

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It is generally believed that at some time in the production of M-42 jump jackets they changed the early brass snap buttons to to steel snap buttons, but does anybody know when this change actually occured? Same question for the armpit vent holes, they changed from a copper eyelet venthole, to a vent hole with a thread trim (or the other way around, I'm not sure). I would appreciate any info on this.

Actively looking for demolition related items from WW2. Anything!


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I cannot give a specific date on these changes, but this was done to aleviate the shortages we had then of copper. Among other things, they quit making pennies ($.01 coins) of copper, I believe in '43 and '44. Tthey also used steel for cartridge cases and plasitc for military buttons. The thread-grommeted vents (proper term) even saved steel. Off hand I would guess sometime in '43.



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I am afraid that you will never get a definative answer to your question as there is no cut and dried date for the changes you mentioned to have been made. I have handled literally HUNDREDS of jump jackets and trousers in the thirty two years that I have been collecting. During that time, I have handled jackets that had brass snaps on the chest pockets and steel snaps on the bottom pockets. I've had steel snaps with metal grommets in the armpits. I have had brass snaps with stitched armpit grommets. In short, if you look at enough jackets, you will see that many of the components interchange. It is just a matter of what was on hand when the jacket was assembled.

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.



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  • 2 years later...
  • 1 year later...

given the subject i thoght this may be a good place to ask


can anyone provide a clear view of the leg pocket on 1st pattern pants?





Always looking for WW2 Cavalry,Pack Mule and Constabulary horse platoon stuff.

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