Basis of impression
Pictured is an impression of a Normandy-era 82nd Airborne Rifleman with an M1 Garand.
82nd Airborne were involved in the war from the invasion of Sicily and Italy before the Normandy campaign. They are often seen in films wearing the stars and stripes arm brassard on their upper right arm.
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• M1 GI Helmet (Post War): SoF £20 (better colour results can be achieved by spraying OD Green)
• Helmet net: SoF £4 – £6 (green tight net, or open weave net more associated with the Airborne)
• Helmet leather chinstrap (missing off the post-war helmet) and canvass Chinstrap (of which coupled onto the bails using fasteners) should be replaced with the khaki canvass strap, and sewn onto the bails: SoF £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: SoF £30 for the whole set (not shown in photograph)
• Tan, brown and green hessian was commonly woven into the helmet liner to mask the outline of the helmet to offer the trooper more concealment (can be taken from torn up sandbags or hessian potato sacks).
• 82nd and 101st Airborne wore jumpsuits which were reinforced on the knees and elbows. They are covered in pockets for storing all the equipment they will have needed until they were relived. For Airsoft purposes they are handy for carrying bags of bbs, magazines and pyros.
Uniform as Pictured:
• M42 Jumpsuit with reinforced Knees and Elbows: SoF, P and various – £80-100 depending on supplier/sizes. The larger of frames should think about reinforcing the stitching in the crotch area as the stitching on the repros is not that great. On the trousers, tucking the leg straps inside and underneath the cargo pockets stops the material from overstretching here.
• 82nd Shoulder Tile. Pretty much all retailers will have due to popularity – £6-10 is average, the badge that is already sewn into the material looks better mounted onto actual jacket, rather than the standalone patch.
• Private Rank Slides (not pictured) – 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 sort after by many of the other units: SoF – £60
• M1923 Garand cartridge belt: SoF £25-30 (original belts are more robust than the monkey metal used in repro belts, but are rather pricey). Other belts that can be worn: the Standard Pistol belt (for use for Thompson Rigs and M1 Carbine Rigs: SoF £15
• M1936 Suspenders, hooks onto the M1923 Cartridge belt (or any of the belts with the eyelets, and spreads the weight of the loaded belt): SoF £25
• M1936 Musette pack, hooks onto the M1936 Webbing suspenders from the D-loops: SoF £20, fill with bubble wrap to bulk it out and keep weight light but useful for carrying gas, water or food if out on long regen games (or waterproof Poncho if it is raining)
• M1910 Water bottle set: SoF anywhere between £15 and £20 as standard. Hooks onto eyelets on the bottom of the belt.
• M1942 First Aid pouch, attaches to front left hand side of the webbing belt (usually, or wherever it fits) SoF £5, can be useful for carrying BFG blank rounds and arming rod for airsoft, otherwise filled with metal Carlisle tin. SoF £8
• Airborne First Aid pouch (attached to suspenders pictured) or attached directly to the helmet netting (more commonly done during Op. Market Garden: SoF £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) SoF £25-30, try and get a nice shade of reddy brown, rather than the nasty orange repro jobbies.
• T-Handled entrenching tool (attaches to belt for airborne) (not pictured): SoF 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.
• Custom M1 Garand (AEG) converted from AGM M14: S&S – £200 approx.
• TM 1911 (GBB): AS and other retailers £80-120
• Garand reproduction sling: SoF – £20
• M1 Garand Bandolier. Here shown around the neck it was used for carrying 6 extra 8 round M1 clips, however they do not fit much airsoft wise: SoF/ebay – £5 They can be filled with moulded rubber M1 clips to make it look like the real rounds but about 1/10th of the weight: SoF – £3 each
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: http://www.shootnscoot.co.uk/
EM Epic Militaria: http://www.epicmilitaria.com
ML Monty’s Locker: http://www.montyslocker.co.uk/
SoF Soldier of Fortune: http://www.sofmilitary.co.uk/reenactors/index.asp
WPG What Price Glory: http://www.whatpriceglory.com/uklist.htm
AS Airsoft Skirmish: http://www.airsoftskirmish.co.uk
DP Div Patch: http://www.divpatch.com/
SJ Sentimental Journey: http://www.sentimentaljourney.co.uk/
Text by Webby
Photography by Chomley-Warner