These jump boots and field gear are more items from the huge F Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division grouping that has been subject of previous posts. The jump boots have the brass eyelets seen on early boots. The aviators kit bags were popular with airborne troops to carry and store their items. There are a number of manuals in this group, but I chose to just photo one which is my favorite. It illustrates unarmed combat techniques.
This officers dress uniform and wool shirt is more of the F Company, 506 PIR, 101st Airborne Division grouping that has been the subject of previous posts. When I got the dress uniform, it only had the 101st patch and bullion overseas bars on it. There were clear outlines remaining of where the rank insignia, jump wing, and collar insignia had been on the uniform. The Veteran had removed these before selling the uniform.
I normally do not restore or replace insignia on uniforms. If a uniform is missing some insignia, I leave it as it was found. But in this case, since I could clearly see exactly what insignia had been on it, I did decide to restore the uniform with correct period collar insignia and jump wing. Additionally, there was a set of loose first lieutenants rank insignia, that belonged to this Veteran in this group, so I was able to use those for the restoration.
The wool shirt has a nice jump wing sewn on to it and is named to the Veteran inside.
Here are more items from the massive F Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division Grouping that has been the subject of four previous posts. It is fairly hard to find WW2 groupings that retain the quantity of personal/mess type items pictured in this post. These are the items that made the day to day existence for WW2 US combat soldiers in the field more bearable.
Additionally, pictured is some of this paratroopers combat field gear. It is very rare to find a WWII Airborne grouping like this with all of the paratroopers original combat field gear. This is typically stuff that was not brought home or retained after the War ended. Most of the combat field gear is identified to the paratrooper with his name and/or laundry number. There is more combat field gear in this grouping, but it will be the subject of future posts.
This WWII Ike jacket and purple heart medal grouping belonged to a member of the 101st Airborne Division. He was severely wounded in January 1945 losing fingers from his hand and toes from one of his feet. He spent nearly 300 days in hospitals recovering from his wounds. Luckily, he did finally recover from his wounds. Although purple hearts were most often engraved with the name of the Veteran for personal killed in action during WWII, they were also sometimes engraved for those who were seriously wounded or the veteran himself could have the medal privately engraved. I think this purple heart was privately engraved.
I have some records from him that indicate that he was a member of the 401st Glider Infantry in 1945. By 1945, many members of the glider infantry had also been parachute qualified, which would explain his jump wings instead of glider wings. Also, he may have transferred into the 401st from a parachute unit.
Please note that we have blurred out his last name in the photos for privacy.
This WWII grouping belonged to a paratrooper of Company G, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. It consists of his Ike jacket with 506th PIR oval, overseas cap, 506th PIR pocket patch, 506th DI, and some photos/paperwork (which are not picture). I have posted the pocket patch and 506th oval in other posts on this blog, but I have never posted the entire group together.
This paratrooper saw action from D-Day to the end of the war with Company G. His ribbon bar on his Ike jacket reflects his earning the bronze star and purple heart.
Here is more of the massive F Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division grouping that has been the subject of my previous three posts (M42 jump pants, M43 rigger modified pants, reinforced jump jacket). Pictured are two variations of the airborne patch designed to be sewn on the overseas cap. There are a couple of loose WWII 101st screaming eagle patches.
The 541 crossed rifles insignia were used by the 541st Parachute Infantry Regiment. The 541st PIR was mainly used as an airborne training unit during WWII and never saw combat as a unit. It trained and then sent replacements to the other airborne units. At the very end of the war in 1945 it was sent to the Pacific Theater, but WWII ended before it was ready to be deployed in combat. This Veteran was attached to the 541st for training before transferring to the 506th PIR.
Also pictured is an paratrooper jump wing on cloth and officer 2nd Lieutenant rank. The small 101st Airborne book was produced right after the war ended and became a popular souvenir of WW2 101st Airborne Veterans. It is a brief history of the exploits of the 101st Airborne Division during the war.
These original World War Two airborne M42 paratrooper pants belonged to the same F Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division paratrooper that also owned the Reinforced Jump Jacket that I posted on November 11, 2013 and the rigger modified M43 pants that I posted on November 18, 2013. They have his laundry number stamped inside of them, but we have blurred that out for privacy.
Although they are not reinforced, they are in very nice condition showing only a little use and some light age from storage. They look really nice on display with his reinforced jump jacket. The tag is no longer present.
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.
This type of airborne helmet was made specifically by the Riddell company for training paratroopers. The Riddell company had originally invented a similar style of helmet for football. At the time, it was revolutionary since this was still the era when football players wore leather helmets. They took this new technology and incorporated into this type of helmet to be used during the jump school training for paratroopers. Period pictures show this style of helmet being worn by the earliest members of the US airborne forces.
The leather flap on the chinstrap was designed to be unfurled and tucked into the neck of the uniform, in order to protect the chin of the paratrooper from branches during his jump. The leather around the back edge of the helmet was to protect the neck area from the rough edge.
This particular helmet came from the same paratrooper who also owned the M41 jump suit and Hawley paratrooper helmet liner from previous posts on this blog.