G Company 506th PIR 101st Airborne Division Grouping

G Company 506 PIR Group Front View

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.

WWII F Company 506th PIR 101st Airborne Patch and Book Grouping

506th PIR Patch Grouping Front View

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.

WWII US M42 Paratrooper Jump Pants That Belonged To A Member of F Company 506th PIR 101st Airborne Division

M42 Paratrooper Jump Pants Right Side

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.

WWII US 101st Airborne M43 Rigger Modified Paratrooper Pants

M43 Rigger Made Pants Right Side Overview

M43 Rigger Made Pants

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.

WWII 101st Airborne 506th PIR Reinforced M42 Jump Jacket

506 Reinforced Jump Jacket Front

506 Reinforced Jump Jacket Front

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.

WWII 101st Airborne Division 326th Airborne Engineers Paratrooper Helmet Liner

101st 326th Engineer Helmet Liner right side

This paratrooper helmet liner belonged to a WW2 member of the 326th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 101st Airborne Division.  It is a standard World War Two Westinghouse airborne paratrooper liner that has had unit and rank insignia painted on it during the war.  The letter E painted on each side was used to identify members of the 326th Airborne Engineers.  The large rectangle painted on the back of the liner was used in the ETO on helmets and liners to indicate the wearer was an officer.  This liner is an original and the paint was period done.

This liner is named inside to an officer and I was able to confirm using 326th Airborne rosters, that he was a member of the unit.

This particular liner was found by a very close friend of mine at a Veteran’s garage sale about thirty years ago.  It remained buried in his basement for many years until I was able to add it to my collection.

WWII Japanese Senninbari One Thousand Stitch Belt With A Tiger

WW2 Japanese Thousand Stitch Belt

WW2 Japanese Senninbari One Thousand Stitch Belt

The Japanese name for this item is Senninbari, and this particular one was captured by a former Paramarine who later became a member of the 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division during WW2.  The US name for these was “one thousand stitch belts,” and they were a very popular bring back item for US troops during World War Two.  Japanese troops wore these under their clothes and around their waists.  They were supposed to protect the wearer from injury.

Senninbari generally had one thousand stitches that were done by hand by individuals from their home communities.  Each person did one stitch, then passed the belt on to another person. Often, they also had coins stitched to them like this belt does.  Sometimes, the thousand stitches were sewn on the belt following a pattern, in order to represent some item or symbol like the tiger shown on this belt. The thousand stitch belt was the physical representation of the community supporting their soldiers.

I have always been a big fan of these belts.  There are many variations to collect and I think the ones that have designs on them, like this one with the tiger, have a great look to them.

WW2 Imperial Japanese Navy IJN Original Submarine Badge

WW2 Japanese Original Submarine Badge

WW2 Japanese Original Submarine Badge

This original WWII Imperial Japanese Navy submarine badge was purchased from the widow of WW II US Navy Veteran about a year ago.  I was very happy to add it to my collection as I have always been fascinated by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) submarine force.  The IJN ensign collar rank insignia and the IJN bullion hat badge that are pictured, along with some other insignia that is not pictured, were purchased from her at the same time.

Since these WW2 Japanese submarine badges have been heavily reproduced in recent years, I have posted close up photos of both the front and back so you can see what a real WWII Japanese sub badge looks like.  Please note that the blue color that shows up on the front of the submarine badge is not actually on the badge, it is just a reflection of our camera which is also blue.

The IJN ensign collar rank and bullion hat badge pictured are not submarine service specific, they were used throughout the Japanese Navy.  Since they were brought back from the war by the same Veteran, I have included them in this post.

Please keep in mind that I am interested in all types of WWII Japanese Navy items, not just submarine items.  I am especially interested in purchasing items directly from WW2 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.

US Airborne Riddell Paratrooper Training Helmet

Paratrooper Riddell Training Helmet

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.

Original WW2 Airborne Hawley Paratrooper Liner for the M2 D-Bale Helmet

Hawley right side

WWII Airborne Hawley Paratrooper Liner

This style of WWII airborne Hawley paratrooper helmet liner was the first liner produced to go into the M2 d-bale paratrooper helmet.   They were manufactured using a pressed fiber material that feels very similar to cardboard.  Thus, they were not very sturdy and had a tendency to fall apart during use.  They were manufactured using this material because at the time it was the only material that could be easily molded into the shape of the helmet shell.

Soon after the development of the Hawley liner, a couple of new processes for helmet liners were developed using low and high pressure composite materials.  These new processes were used by companies like St. Clair and Inland for their liners.  It was not very long before production of helmet liners for the M2 paratrooper helmet was switched to these companies.

Since these Hawley paratrooper liners were manufactured for only a brief period of time and are very fragile, they are extremely rare and hard to find today.  Originals of this style of Hawley paratrooper liner are found in only a few private airborne and M1 helmet collections today.

This particular WWII Hawley paratrooper liner originally belonged to the same paratrooper who owned the M41 paratrooper jump suit I posted a few weeks ago.  He was an early member of the US Airborne forces and retained several of these early airborne items after World War Two ended.