Basis of impression
Pictured is a US infantryman wearing the standard uniform throughout the war in the ETO. Although gradually phased out with the M43 this was warn from the first landings in North Africa, through to the fall of Berlin.
M1 Helmet Basic – £20.00, Converted – £60.00
Pictured is a converted Post War M1 helmet that has been repainted. More authentic helmets can be had for more money but an M1 helmet with the tan chinstrap on the back, and leather on the front gives the required look. This picture shows a leather strap from What Price Glory – which is of a much darker and nicer shade than the one offered by Soldier of Fortune.
The US army also has its share of soft head wear, though these were worn for things other than fighting. A ‘Jeep Cap’ can be worn under then helmet (illustrated) if so desired.
M41 Jacket £50.00
The standard infantry jacket worn up until the introduction of the M43 uniform. Reproduction versions are available from most militaria shops, with a varying degree of quality. To convert to a summer/tropical uniform the Jacket is simply removed. The one pictured is from Soldier of Fortune.
Enlisted Man’s Shirt £50.00
A light wool shirt worn under the M41 Jacket. Originals can be found at Militaria fairs and outlets – provided you have a small neck – and reproductions are available from most online shops. The one pictured is an original.
1937 Trousers £50.00
Wool trouser in the same material as the shirt. As with the shirt the thin of waist can find originals kicking around, and the post war ones are similar enough, though with a zipped fly instead of a buttoned one. The crotch is poorly stitched and can lead to embarrassing ripping for us larger of frame individuals. This is accurate however, as they were renowned for doing it during the war. The trousers in the picture are Soldier of Fortune reproductions.
The picture deliberately avoids insignia, as it was not always worn. If you wished to make this impression a specific unit it is as simple as sewing on the required Divisional Patch on the left shoulder.
Roughout Boots £75.00
The standard infantry boot until the introduction of the Buckle Boot. They begin life in a very light beige shade, but judicious amounts of dubbin should be applied to get the deep brown look pictured. Alternatively other US footwear (the buckle boot and Corcorans) can be worn underneath a pair of leggings without standing out. The boots pictured are Soldier of Fortune reproductions.
Leggings – OD3 £16.00
The US leggings finish of the look of the uniform nicely. There are still plenty of originals around on the militaria market and they come in a variety of sizes. The average size for a modern leg is size 3. They provide valuable ankle support which the boots alone do not, so should be snug.
Leggings also come in OD7 (the greener shade) however OD3 ones have the virtue of being used throughout the war – from Torch to Berlin. The pictured pair are originals.
Webbing Set (Garand Belt, First Aid Pouch, Water Bottle, Doughboy pack, ) £70.00
This is the basic webbing set for a US infantry man. Some items are still easy enough to find as originals – like First Aid Pouch – whereas other items – like the Garand belts – are very hard to find in this country. If another weapon besides the M1 Garand is being used then a different belt can be worn. BAR belts have larger pouches on them for larger magazines, and pistol belts can have have Thompson pouches attached to them. The webbing shown here is a mix of original and reproduction. With the reproduction webbing you will ‘get what you pay for’. A lot of the cheaper webbing is made poorly and renowned for falling apart in the field. At the Front do sell reproduction webbing that is made of sturdier metal, and is better stitched.
The Doughboy Pack (M1937 Haversack to give it it’s proper name) looks nice but is not required for the webbing to ‘function’. Simply wearing a belt without the pack attached is more than adequate. It is not a rucksack that provides easy access in the field and when worn can simply be filled out with a rolled shirt, or other padding material.
Doughboy Pack Tail and leather connecting strap £20.00
The Doughboy pack pictured here has the full ‘bedding roll’ in it. This consists of personal kit and a blanket wrapped in a shelter half, rolled into a tube and fastened into the pack. To do this a pack tail (or ‘diaper’) is used to effectively extend the size of the haversack. This is quite cool to do, but was used on route marches. Packs set up like this would be very unlikely to be worn in combat
Gas Mask Bag £20.00
Slung over the right shoulder and fastened around the waist is the standard US Army Gas Mask Bag. Though the rubber Assault Gas Mask bag is more well known given it’s use on D Day, the one pictured was the standard issued one. Most photos do not show it being worn at the front, but with a webbing set that leaves little extra room for speed loaders and grenades, it can be used as a handy carrying bag. Extra carrying space can also be got from a General Purpose Ammo Bag (not pictured) which is worn in much the same way.
Garand Bandoleer £5.00
The Garand bandoleer fits two of the converted shotgun magazines in each section. It does not have any poppers on it (unlike the British Version) and there is a chance of magazines falling out.
M1 Garand Rifle Shoot ‘n’ Scoot – £300.00+
Shoot ‘n’ Scoot not only make a Garand Rifle, but a variety of versions depending on how much real wood you want on the gun. Wood effect M14s are also great Garand substitutes and there may be a Garand soon to be released ‘off the shelf’. The rifle pictured is a Shoot ‘n’ Scoot Garand that has been further modified for a wood finish.
There is probably no impression that can be sourced from so numerous a number of suppliers then that of a US infantryman. For simplicities sake, rather than listing the many different vendors and their prices the price is given for each item from Soldier of Fortune www.sofmilitary.co.uk.
The other main suppliers are:
Epic Militaria www.epicmilitaria.com
At the Front www.atthefront.com
What Price Glory www.whatpriceglory.com
Shoot ‘n’ Scoot www.shootnscoot.co.uk
Epic Militaria are a similar price/quality to Soldier of Fortune, At the Front is generally more expensive – and incurs a customs charge coming from the United States – but is of higher quality. What Price Glory sits in-between the two in terms of price and quality, though generally avoids a customs charge due to the warehouse the use in the United Arab Emirates.
The price of original items varies quite widely depending on where they are found. As a general rule of thumb items are rarely much cheaper then their reproduction counterparts, but are of better quality.
Text by Wladek
Photography by Chomley-Warner