EQUIPMENT OF THE 509TH PIB

(Note: all items are original unless listed otherwise)

 

Click here to see Operation Anvil Packing List

Click here to see helmets of the 509th PIB

 

 

Typical equipment carried by an NCO or a Soldier carrying a Thompson SMG.

 

Basic field equipment for a rifleman in WWII, of special note is the M1923 Mounted Cartridge Belt that permitted a Soldier to carry .30 cal ammo for the M-1 Garand Rifle and attach a M-1918 Magazine Pouch to carry .45 cal ammo for the M1911 pistol.  This belt was originally designed for use by mounted horse cavalry but was issued to airborne personnel early in the war.  Also note that some of the equipment is camouflaged.  Black and green paint was applied with a spray gun in Italy while preparing for the invasion of Southern France.  Equipment was laid out and sprayed while uniforms were sprayed by having the Soldier place a box over their head and hold their arms out.

 

M-1910 Shovel Entrenching Tool.  This was the type issued early in WWII and was gradually replaced with the type below.

 

M-1943 Shovel, Entrenching Tool with what is now referred to as the transitional cover due to it having the OD#3shade (light khaki) top and back and the OD #7 shade (dark green) front canvas.

 

The M-1943 Folding Entrenching Tool was not only useful for quickly digging a fighting position but also served as a weapon in hand to hand combat.

 

B-4 Life Preserver commonly referred to as the "Mae West" was worn by Airborne Soldiers for overwater flights.  They were sometimes discarded by Soldiers because the bright yellow made an easy target and if accidentally discharged to inflate while still in your parachute harness it could crush your lungs. 

 

The M-1923 Dismounted Cartridge Belt issued to rifleman.

 

Can of oil to lubricate weapons.  This was carried in the right front pocket of the M-1923 Cartridge Belt.

 

The bandoleer was how .30 cal ammo was issued in the field so that it could be quickly distributed, carried and ammo was package in 8 round clips ready to be loaded into the M1 Garand Rifle.

 

Pocket, Ammunition Magazines for the Thompson SMG 20 magazines

 

M-1910 Cover, Canteen, Dismounted with stainless steel cup and canteen.

 

The M-1942 Pouch, First Aid to carry the Carlisle Bandage.

 

M-1942 Pouch, First Aid made by the British for the U.S. (notice the different snap).  The First Aid Packet commonly referred to as a Carlisle Bandage.

 

The 3 Pocket Grenade Carrier was available but apparently rarely issued.

 

M-1938 Wire Cutters Pouch

 

M-1923 Pocket, Magazine, Double Web holds the magazines for the M1911A1

 

M-1916 Holster, Pistol, Cal .45 for the M1911A1.  Note the postion in which the trench knife was commonly carried by 509ers.  (Both the holster and trench knife in this photo are reproductions)

 

M-1918 Knife, Trench These were left over from the first world war and were issued to airborne troops early in the war until supplies were exhausted. (Reproduction)

 

Compass, Lensatic with carrying case (Compass in this photo is a reproduction while the one in the photo below is original)

 

Compass, Lensatic was typically issued to NCOs and Officers

 

The M-1936 Canvas Field Bag was issued to all Airborne Soldiers

 

Case, 30 Round with Shoulder Strap for the 30 round Thompson SMG magazines.

 

M3 Knife, Trench with modified M6 Scabbard.  British web straps have been added to strap knife to leg.  Invasion First Aid Packet has been added to sheath.  (Reproduction items are knife, sheath, and invasion first aid packet)

 

M1A2 Training Gas Mask and Carrier.  This was used as a lightweight mask issued early in the war to Airborne Troops. 

 

The M5 Gas Mask with M7 Waterproof Carrier was one of several variations issed to Invasion Troops.  This was frequently discarded before, during or immediately following the Invasion.  The few Soldiers found to still be wearing them in combat would more likely be using it to carry personal items and locally aquired refreshments.

 

The M2A2 Gas Mask

 

M1A2 - IXA1 Service Gas Mask.  This is the prewar issued gas mask (March 1940) that many Soldiers first trained with and carried in the early part of WWII

 

The Hood, Wool, Protective was to be worn over the gas mask to protect the head and neck.

 

Cover, Protective, Individual was basically a large green plastic bag with a clear plastic window that in the event of gas attack would be pulled over your body and equipment to protect from blister agents.  More commonly it was either discarded, used as either a ground sheet or cover in rain.

 

M1934, Blanket, Wool, OD

 

The Duffle Bag carried items for going overseas and also used to carry excess items the Soldier would not carry into combat.  Usually a small rear detachment of personnel stayed behind with the extra equipment and made sure it got to the next location where Soldiers woulld be able to get to their extra items.

 

M-1943 Can, Meat

 

Rope, Parachutist, 30 foot was issued to aid Soldiers down from trees (Reproduction)

 

Holster, Assembly, Parachutist Rifle was used to carry the M1 Garand Rifle when jumping.  This was introduced mid-war and was not used for North Africa (Reproduction)

 

M17 Carrying Case for the M3 Binoculars

 

Sand Bag. Airborne Soldiers were instructed the carry one each on their ammo belt.

 

Tent, Shelter, Half. Although designed so that 2 Soldiers could button two together to make a complete tent, Airborne Soldiers either discarded it due to weight or would use it for a ground sheet or additional warmth.  (Poles not shown)

 

K-Rations.  Breakfast, Dinner, Supper meals were specially designed for Airborne Soldiers to reduce weight and provide necessary nutrition.  These meals were advanced technology for the time.  The US army was the best fed Army in the world.  In comparison, the German Army issued Bread, Can of Lard and occasionally supplimented with cheese or meat. (Reproduction)

 

Compass, Pocket.  Also sometimes issued to NCOs and Officers

 

M2 Parachutist Knife.  Issued and carried in a special pocket on the M42 Jump Jacket in order to give quick access to cut free of suspension lines if entangled.  The T-5 parachute did not have a deployment bag so there was a greater chance of suspension lines getting caught on Soldiers equipment when the canopy deployed.  (Reproduction)

 

Personal hygene items carried in the field.  Tooth powder, Comb, Huck Towel, Razor, Soap in dish, Insceticide Powder Louse

 

Foot Powder a must for Soldiers

 

Squibb Tooth Powder

 

Dubbing was applied to shoes to protect from mildew and to repel water

 

Morphine Syrette was issued to each Soldier to relieve pain if wounded (Reproduction)

 

Waterproof Matches

 

T-5 Reserve Parachute

 

SE-11 Signal Lamp was used to aid units in assembly on drop zone

 

AL-140 Signal Panel was used for daylight marking of Drop Zones and Glider Landing Zones

 

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