WW2 US 10th Mountain Division Ski Troop Hat


WWII 10th Mountain Division Ski Troop Hat


World War Two Mountain Troop Ski Cap


WW2 Mountain Troop Ski Hat Interior

This is an original US mountain troop ski cap.  This type of cap was made specifically for US ski troops during World War Two. It is considered the second pattern, it replaced an earlier version of the ski cap that had a chinstrap that was connected to the side flaps.  Also, two ventilation grommets were added to each side with this version.  This second pattern of the cap came into use in 1943.

These hats are most known for their use by the famed 10th Mountain Division during WWII.  During World War Two, the 10th Mountain Division spent time training at Camp Hale in Colorado.  After their time in Colorado, they spent a little time training in Texas at Camp Swift before being shipped overseas to Europe.  When they arrived in Europe, they were sent to the Italian campaign were they engaged in heavy fighting in 1945.


World War Two F4U-1C Corsair Pilot Plotting Board Grouping

corsair 4 watermarkThis plotting board belonged to a World War Two Navy pilot who was a member of VF-85.  He was with VF-85 while it was serving on the carrier USS Shangri-La from November 1944 to September 1945.  Fighting Squadron Eighty Five flew F4U-1C Corsairs while fighting the Japanese during the Okinawa campaign and saw heavy combat.  After Okinawa, they flew missions over Japan until the end of the war.

Plotting boards were used by naval aviators to hold their maps, checklists, and other documents they would need for their missions.  They were designed so that they could be removed from the aircraft and taken into the ready room by the pilot for their mission briefings.  The top of the board was a clear plastic that allowed a pilot to take notes in an erasable pencil and to see the map underneath it.

This plotting board is part of a larger grouping and belonged to a naval aviator who was nicknamed Tiger by his fellow pilots.  Tiger managed to survive the loss of three Corsairs he was flying.  The first occurred during training when a fellow pilot ran into his plane and tore off part of his tail.

The second occurred while Tiger was making an attack against an airfield on Okinawa.  He was hit by anti-aircraft fire and bailed out over the water.  He was rescued by a PBM that landed off shore and picked him up.

The third time occurred when he was part of a strike group that attacked Japanese airfields on Kyushu.  His strike group engaged in heavy aerial combat with Japanese fighters and after the fight, he ran out of gas on the way back to his carrier.  He ditched in the water next to a US destroyer and was picked up.

His plotting board is a real time capsule.  The plotting board still contains the maps and documents from his last wartime flight on September 2, 1945.  This was the date of the formal surrender signing in Japan and his unit was one of the air units that flew in the huge fly overs to commemorate the signing of the surrender by the Japanese.  The next day, September 3, 1945, his unit VF-85 was relieved and transferred to a another ship to be sent home.

WW2 USMC Marine 1st Raider Battalion Guadalcanal Captured Japanese Flag

guadalcanal japanese flag front ww2One of my favorite types of WWII militaria are Japanese signed flags (they are called Yosegaki Hinomaru in Japanese) with capture history.  There are lots of WWII Japanese signed flags available on the market today.   If you look on the internet, there are dozens for sale at any one time.  This is because they were one of the most popular souvenirs for WWII vets to bring back from the War.  What is hard to find is a signed flag where you have iron clad documentation about the history of the flags capture and/or the Veteran that brought it back.

This flag came directly from the son of a 1st Raider Battalion Veteran and is part of a larger group that I own to that Veteran.  When I got it, his son also included of photo copy of a newspaper article that ran in the Veteran’s hometown paper.  The article shows the flag and also talks about it being captured on Guadalcanal.

Although I don’t read Japanese, certain phrases appear often enough on these signed flags that I do know the meaning of them.  On this flag, in the right hand vertical column, where the characters are bold and large, from top to bottom the first 5 kanji characters say ” I pray your military fortunes are long lasting”, Ki Buun Chokyu in Japanese.   This was a very popular phrase on signed good luck flags and appears on many of them.

Please note that I have also attached a photo of a piece of paper with Japanese writing on it that came from this same Veteran.  I do not know what it says, if anyone can give me any kind of a translation, I would be most grateful and would love to update this article with that info.  Also, if anyone can give me any help with the translation of the other writing on the flag, I would also be very grateful and would update this article with that info.

WWII Japanese Army Pilot Flight Helmet And Flight Goggles

japanese flight helmet front ww2This World War Two Japanese Army flight helmet and flight goggles are a couple of standard issue items for Japanese Army aviators during the war.   Although these two items did not come with the Japanese Army flight uniform grouping I posted last week, they are both of the type that could have been worn with that grouping.

The flight helmet has the star, which is the the symbol of the Japanese Army, on the front.  This style of helmet was only worn by Japanese Army aviators, it was not worn by Japanese Naval aviators.

This type of flight goggles is sometimes referred to as cat’s eye style goggles.  There were several minor variations and many makers of this style of flight goggles during WWII, but this basic cat’s eye style of goggles was worn by both Army and Navy Japanese aviators during the war.

World War Two Japanese Army Pilot Flight Suit With Flight Gloves and Boots

japanese pilot flight suit ww2This WWII Japanese Army Aviator grouping is one my all time absolute favorite groupings.  It consists of the Japanese Army flight suit, flight gloves, and flight boots.   I obtained all of these items directly from the Veteran that brought them back about 15 years ago.

I was attending a local show in the late 1990s when a gentleman in his late 70s came up to me and started chatting.  He told me that he was a WWII Veteran and that he had a box of WWII Japanese pilot items in a box out in his car.  He wanted to know if I would be interested in them.  I said I probably would and asked if we could go look at them.  We went out to his car and in the trunk were these items stuffed in the wooden box that he had mailed them home in.  The box still had his WWII military return address on it along with the WWII era postage!  He told me that they had not been taken out of the box since he sent them home.  I will add a picture of the box at as soon as possible.

I took all of the items out of the box, told him what they were, and made an offer to purchase all of them.   He told me he wanted to walk around the show a little bit and think about it.  We both went back into the show and I waited hoping he would come back.    He did and he agreed to sell the items to me.

He mentioned to me that he had found these items while fighting in the Philippines during WWII.   The fighting was still going on and it was difficult to mail boxes, but he said that he was friends with a runner who had the ability to mail things home for him.

During WWII, the aviation personal of the Japanese Army and Navy wore different types of uniforms.  All three of these items are Japanese Army and were worn by pilots and aircrews.  The flight suit is an electrically heated type.  It still has the electrical prong and cord that was plugged in to heat the suit.  The flight gloves are made out of a very soft suede and are fur-lined.  The flight boots have rubber soles that were designed to help pilots grip their pedals.

As we were parting, the Veteran mentioned to me that he was lucky that these items had survived.  He said that he had mailed home many boxes of WWII Japanese war souvenirs during the War.  His family kept them for a while, but eventually got tired of all of the boxes in the basement and threw everything they could find in the trash.  He said that this box had been covered up in a corner and that the family just overlooked it during the time when they were they were throwing things away.

Please keep in mind that I am interested in all types of WWII Japanese pilot and aviation items.  I am especially interested in purchasing items directly from World War Two Veterans or their family members.  If you have any of these items you consider selling, please contact me via the information on my War Souvenirs Wanted page.




Paramarine Bracelets Made From Japanese Zero Aircraft Aluminum

paramarine japanese zero bracelet 3 watermarkThese WWII bracelets combine two of my interests.  First, they were made by hand by a WWII USMC Paramarine and I really like Paramarine related items.  Second, they are made out of pieces of Japanese aircraft aluminum and I enjoy collecting pieces of Japanese WWII aircraft.

The Paramarine who made these was a member of the 2nd Paramarine Battalion. The first bracelet commemorates his service with that unit.  When I got it, it was flattened out like shown, to make it easier to display.  The second bracelet still retains the original bracelet shape, but the Veteran never added anything to the front of it.

Both bracelets were made out of Japanese aircraft aluminum.  They both retain their original green Aotake paint on the reverse side.  Aotake paint was used by the Japanese during WWII for corrosion resistance on metal on aircraft.  It has a very distinctive metallic/shiny appearance and can range in color.  I have seen green, blue, greenish blue/bluish green, and yellowish green colors of Aotake paint on Japanese aircraft parts.

The Marine added an inscription to the back of one of the bracelets.  It is a little hard to see in the photos, but it says Japanese 0, shot down in Vella LaVella, 10/1/43.  I did a little research and there was a Japanese air attack on Vella Lavella on October 1, 1943.  It was conducted by Val dive bombers of the 582nd Kokutai and A6M Zeros of the 204th and 201st Kokutai.  One Val dive bomber was recorded as shot down during this attack.  I don’t know if any of the Zeros were recorded as lost.  These pieces of Japanese airplane are apparently from this Japanese air attack.

After the Paramarines were disbanded, this Marine went on to become a member of the 27th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division.  He landed with the 27th Marines on Iwo Jima and was later wounded during that battle.  Please note that we have blurred out his name on the bracelet for privacy.

WW2 USMC P42 Marine Camouflage Pants

P42 USMC Camouflage Pants

These WWII USMC P42 camouflage pants are part of the P 42 camo uniform that was used by the Marines during World War Two.  The P42 uniform consisted of a camouflage shirt and pants made out of a herringbone twill fabric.  The uniform is reversible.  It has a green/jungle pattern camouflage on one side and a brown/beach colored camouflage on the other.  The P42 uniform was later replaced by another camouflage uniform, the P44 uniform.  Although the P44 uniform was made out of the same camouflage HBT material, the P44 was cut differently.

This particular pair of P42 pants are a nice original pair showing some period use and wear.

WWII F/506 PIR 101st Airborne Division Grouping Jump Boots And Field Gear

Jump Boots

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.

WWII F/506th PIR 101st Airborne Paratrooper Dress Uniform And Wool Shirt

506th PIR Dress Uniform

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.

WW2 F/506th PIR 101st Airborne Division Group Personal/Mess Items And Combat Field Gear

F/506 Group Personal Gear

F/506 Group Personal Gear

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.