These World War Two Airborne Rigger Modified M43 pants are a hard to find Airborne item. After the Normandy campaign, the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions (except for the 504 PIR and their attached units) phased out the M42 jump suit uniform in favor of the new M43 uniform. Although period pictures show the M42 jump suit was still occasionally worn until the end of the war, by the time of the Holland campaign, the M43 uniform was the standard Airborne uniform.
The M43 uniform was originally designed to be used by all Army troops, not just the Airborne. It consisted of a olive drab green field jacket and a matching pair of olive drab green pants. The Airborne decided the pants did not meet their needs as issued, because they lacked cargo pockets. So, parachute riggers were directed to add one large cargo pocket to each side, along with a tie down strap to each leg.
This particular pair of rigger modified pants belonged to the same paratrooper that the reinforced jump jacket belonged to, that I posted last week. He was a member of F Company, 506th Parachute Infantry regiment, 101st Airborne Division.
This original reinforced jump jacket is part of a massive grouping I own that belonged to a member of F Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, during World War Two. This identified group includes a number of uniforms, all of his combat field equipment, personal items, manuals, and some loose insignia that all belonged to this paratrooper.
Riggers from the 101st Airborne Division added canvas reinforcements to the elbows, pockets, and knees of the standard M42 paratrooper jump suits prior to the D-Day invasion. Since these reinforced jump jackets and pants are associated with the D-Day invasion, they are highly prized by collectors today. This jacket still has these added canvas elbow and pocket reinforcements.
This reinforced jump jacket is one of my favorite pieces from this grouping. Real reinforced jump jackets are always hard to find, but they are especially hard to find in large, identified and documented groupings.