“The Screaming Eagles” – Basis of impression
Pictured is an impression of a Autumn/Winter “Operation Market Garden/Bastogne” era 101st Airborne Junior NCO with an M1a1 Thompson.
101st Airborne were involved in the war from the invasion of Normandy and right the way through to the liberation of some of the Jewish “Work Camps” and the liberation of the ‘Eagles Nest’ in mid 1945.
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• Wartime dated M1C Helmet – Militaria Fair £45
• M1 GI Helmet (Post War): EM, SoF, WPG, AtF £20 (better colour results can be achieved by spraying OD Green)
• Helmet net: EM, SoF, WPG, AtF £4 – £6 (green tight net, or open weave net more associated with the Airborne) – not shown in Photograph
• Helmet leather chinstrap (missing off the post-war helmet) and canvas chinstrap (of which coupled onto the bails using fasteners) should be replaced with the khaki canvass strap, and sewn onto the bails: EM, SoF, WPG, AtF £15
• Paratrooper leather chinstrap (cupped leather) and canvass A-Frames, secures the helmet firmly to the wearer’s head. A-frames attach to the leather sweat band/canvas suspension inside the helmet liner: EM, SoF, WPG, AtF £30 for the whole set (not shown in photograph)
• Helmets used with the M43 uniform did not usually have any hessian woven into net, during Operation “Market Garden” in September 1944, the 101st could usually be seen with just the dark green helmet net. Towards the winter of ‘44, during the time of the Battle of the Bulge, the helmet was left plain with no net (like pictured)
Uniform as Pictured:
• 101st Airborne wore a customised version of the M43 battledress uniform in the autumn and winter months of the war. These differed from the usual M43 due to their reinforced pockets and extra carrying capability.
• M43 jacket: EM, SoF, WPG, AtF and various – £40-60 depending on supplier / sizes. Norwegian, reproductions and originals all differ slightly in build and colour – Norwegians are fairly close to the originals as the pattern was “borrowed” from the Americans later on.
• M43 trousers: EM, SoF, WPG, AtF and various – ~£50 M43 Jump trousers were issued to paratroopers after Normandy. M43 green jump trousers include fitted cargo pockets and leg ties on each leg
• 101st shoulder tile. Pretty much all retailers will have due to popularity – £6-10 is average. Sewn onto the left shoulder, eagle with a red tongue is what you need.
• Corporal rank slides (pictured) – Private rank recommended for all players at CiA games unless assigned a rank otherwise (other than that any rank goes) £5 up to £10 for large patches such as Sergeant.
• Corcoran jump boots. Airborne troopers wore these, and they were quite sought after by many of the other units: EM, SoF, WPG, AtF – £60
• M1936 Pistol Belt: EM, SoF, WPG, AtF £15-30 (original belts are more robust than the monkey metal used in repro belts, but are rather pricey). For use for Thompson rigs and M1 Carbine rigs
• M1936 suspenders, hooks onto the M1923 belt (or any of the belts with the eyelets, and spreads the weight of the loaded belt): EM, SoF, WPG, AtF £25
• M1936 musette pack, hooks onto the M1936 webbing suspenders from the D-loops: EM, SoF, WPG, AtF £20 Useful for carrying gas, water or food if out on long regen games (or waterproof poncho if it is raining)
• M1910 water bottle set: EM, SoF, WPG, AtF anywhere between £15 and £20 as standard. Hooks onto eyelets on the bottom of the belt.
• M1942 first aid pouch, attaches to front right hand side of the webbing belt (usually, or wherever it fits) EM, SoF, WPG, AtF £5, can be useful for carrying BFG blank rounds and arming rod for airsoft, otherwise filled with metal Carlisle tin. EM, SoF, WPG, AtF £8
• Airborne first aid pouch (attached to suspenders – not pictured) or attached directly to the helmet netting (more commonly done during Op. Market Garden): EM, SoF, WPG, AtF £15
• Leather Colt .45 holster (cross drawer shoulder version was more commonly used by the riflemen – officers and NCOs usually had the hip version). Used by Officers and NCOs for carrying their colt .45 (where issued) EM, SoF, WPG, AtF £25-30, try and get a nice shade of reddy brown, rather than the nasty orange repro ones.
• T-Handled entrenching tool (attaches to belt for airborne) (pictured on back): EM, SoF, WPG, AtF repro £20
• Green webbing can be used too, during the war there will be a mixture of green and tan webbing due to the particular batch of dye they were using in the material at the time.
• Thompson mag bag with built in shoulder strap to hold 6 x 30rd magazines: EM, SoF, WPG, AtF repro £20 – try and get a khaki/green colour, and not the nasty orange repros about.
• M3 knife with scabbard. Worn either around the ankle or on the webbing belt (as pictured) EM, SoF, WPG, AtF repro £40
• TM M1a1 Military Thompson sub-machine gun: various – £180-220 approx (Cyma Chinasoft version available, close to £100
• TM 1911 (GBB): AS and other retailers £80-120
• Thompson reproduction sling: EM, SoF, WPG, AtF – £20 – barrel strengthener recommended for TM Thompsons, talk to Headshot on the forums for details.
Notes. All prices are approximate. Also try militaria fairs – they can contain some real bargains. Many of the items pictured were bought at Militaria fairs. Where no retailer is mentioned in the list above its best to try buy at a fair.
Key to retailers
S&S: Shoot n Scoot www.shootnscoot.co.uk/
EM: Epic Militaria http://www.epicmilitaria.com
ML: Montys Locker www.badges.montyslocker.co.uk/
SoF: Soldier of Fortune www.sofmilitary.co.uk/reenactors/index.asp
WPG: What Price Glory www.whatpriceglory.com/uklist.htm
AS: Airsoft Skirmish www.airsoftskirmish.co.uk
DP: Div Patch www.divpatch.com/SJ : Sentimental Journey www.sentimentaljourney.co.uk/
AtF: At the Front www.atthefront.com/
Text by Webby
Photography by Chomley-Warner