Recreating the US G.I. look

This page shows how to create the basic GI look, which can be used as the basic building-block for many other US and US based armed forces.


 

Webbing

The basic infantry uniform showing the M1928 'Dooughboy Pack'. Photo courtesy of the First Infantry Division Reenactment Group

The GI was issued with the same webbing throughout the war, being the pre-war M1928 pack and M1936 pistol belt with attachments.

Towards late 1944 this was gradually replaced with M1944 pattern webbing.

Not all not all GIs recieved this before VE-Day due to supply problems.

The M1928 'Doughboy Pack'

The most common type of webbing worn by GIs was the M1928 'Doughboy Pack', as shown in the main image.

An improvement of the WW1 M1910 version, this haversack required the contents to be packed around the blanket, which formed the mainstay of the load.

It had integral suspenders for fitting to a M1936 pistol belt, BAR gunner's belt or Garand cartridge belt; depending on the weapon carried.

Water is carried in a M1910 aluminium water canteen. Some period photographs show two canteens carried.

The 'Carlile Dressing' first aid pack lives in a small pouch

Shovel

Expect to pay about £100 for a reproduction basic webbing set and many times more for original items.

Be warned. The monkey-metal on most reproduction buckles is no where near as good as the original.

GIs in training wearing the M1 helmet and M1928 'Doughboy' pack

M41 'Parsons' Jacket

M1937 Wool Trousers

Herringbone Twill (HBT) Trousers

 

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Footwear

Leggings

Boots

Trousers - HBT or M1937

Jacket Parsons M41

Shirt wool

Webbing

 

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Compliments to: WW2 Rangers taken at the National Archives and are offered Royalty Free by Historylink101's World War II Picture Section. Pictures can be found at the D-Day Picture Page.

THIS PAGE IS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION - DUE COMPLETION MAY 2013

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The basic Infantry GI wore a wool shirt, M41 Parsons Jacket, M1937 wool trousers, boots with leggings and an M1 helmet.

Webbing belts varied depending on the weapon carried, but generally an M1928 'Doughboy Pack' served as a haversack.

The basic infantry uniform showing the M1928 'Dooughboy Pack'. Photo courtesy of the First Infantry Division Reenactment Group

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Which Unit?

As is typical of many armies, individual units often had variations on a theme. For example, the 29th Infantry Division were well known for painting the unit`s insignia on the front of their helmets.

Specialist units, like Signalmen or Combat Engineers, and of course Medics also had painted indication marks on their helmets.

A little research will enable you to get the correct look for the unit that you`re portraying.

M41 Parsons jacket

GIs were issued with the M41 'Parsons jacket',

A reproduction M41 jacket costs around £40, while a repro trankers jacket costs around £60.

 

Wool 1937 pattern trousers were generally worn, although a suitable alternative are the 'Herringbone Twill' (HBT) trousers, as these are considerably cheaper.

The standard 'Roughout' boot was worn with leg gaiters, although some photos show Rangers wearing Corcoran Jump Boots. ( see also D-Day US Paratrooper page)

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Helmets and other bits

Weapons and helmets were standard Government Issue, although an orange diamond was painted on the rear of the M1 helmet, with the number of the Ranger unit stencilled onto this in black.

For D-Day this was either '2' ( for 2nd Rangers) or '5' (for 5th Rangers). It is possible to buy helmets with this pre-stencilled.

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Variations on this theme

The basic GI uniform as described on this page forms the

Armoured Infantry units

although the 'tankers jacket', which was issued to tank crews, was often acquired.

The Ranger Vest is fastened by two quick release straps

This type of jacket was worn by Tech Sgt Mike Horath in Saving Private Ryan.

The tankers jacket is warmer than the Parsons jacket, so when worn with the Assault Vest it can get quiet uncomfortable in warm weather.

US Glider Pilots & Glider Infantry

Glider Infantry inside a Waco glider at the US Airborne Mueseum, St Mere Eglise

Glider Infantry Regiments (GIR) were generally equipped the same as regular infantry, except that the unit insignia was that of an Airborne unit.

Glider Pilots were similarly equipped, although being officers they carried M1936 Musette Bags. They were also Airforce, rather than Army, so had 8th USAAF insignia on their jackets and Airforce insignia on their collars.

See more about the US Glider programme.....

GIs and Glider Pilots shipping back to England from the beaches of Normandy, 1944

GIs and Glider Pilots shipping back to England from the beaches of Normandy, 1944