Sunday, January 07, 2007

Impressions - WW2 Europe - US Army, 1944

A few years back, I took some shots of guys out of my WW2 group, The Old Hickory Association, when we had a display up for the "Jeeps and Jitterbugs" event for the Raleigh City Museum. Everyone had a diversity of uniforms and equipment.

One of our members had a rare camo uniform used in Northern Europe for a very short while. This was the M1942 camouflage two-piece uniform.

The story that I'm familiar with was that it was issued to some soldiers in the 30th Division, who shed them after a short while because they were being mistaken for Waffen SS by allied troops. We later discovered that there was no recollection by any 30th Division vets that this uniform was issued.

An Osprey book, "The US Army in WWII (3); Northwest Europe" points out that the 30th Division and the 41st Armored Infantry Regt of the 2nd Armored were issued the uniforms. It might be that the 2nd armored was the sole beneficiary of the issue. Either way, it failed to be adopted because of the confusion it created.

The uniform was worn most notably during Operation Cobra in July 1944. The reenactor who is modeling it is dressed and equipped as a member of the 41st/2nd would have been in 1944. The soldier would have stowed unnecessary gear in his halftrack in order to keep as light as possible. All he's packing is his M1 Garand, M1 helmet with Normandy-style netting, cartridge belt and suspenders, a bandoleer of extra rounds, early model e-tool fastened to his belt, canteen, and first aid pouch.

As far as I know, this is all original stuff. Up to a few years ago, reproductions were few and far between, because good WW2 surplus was reasonably inexpensive.

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