OF THE 5th RANGER BATTALION:
- Due to flash
photography and monitor settings; the color in the photos may
be slightly different than the item actually is. Also; this is
not meant to encompass ALL types of gear, rather is is an overview
of the major items used by the Rangers and many other GI's in
WWII. For a vendors list on the XO's
Haversack and Carrier, Pack, M1928
M1928 haversack was first developed in WWI as the M1910
and is nearly identical with the exception of the
rear “Y” shaped rear straps instead of
the single strap; and the buckle closure on the Meatcan
pouch rather than the button closure. The haversack was
used to carry the blanket, rations, bayonet,
intrenching tool, toiletries and personnel
items. The addition of the carrier at the bottom of the
haversack extended the capacity to carry the shelter half,
and more; per field manual instructions. The carrier is
not required and is seldom; if ever used. The example
is a rare OD#7 (green) M1910 Haversack with an M1928 Meatcan
pouch. These were made on a trial bases usually from dyeing
existing packs. 99% of them are OD#3 (khaki) as seen at
right. The OD#3 khaki M1928 haversack is the type seen
in use by Ranger forces throughout the war, from the landings
in North Africa to the fighting into Germany. Only in
the last days of the war was the Haversack starting to
be phased out and replaced with new pack systems.
was also a British made variation of the haversack with
buckles and snaps in the British pattern. The snaps in
particular are distinctly different; being made out of
heavy gauge bent steel wire and blackened. Haversacks
were somtimes modified by cutting off the front belt support
straps and wearing them simply as a backpack. In this
manner, it could be slipped off quickly as needed. Click
the photo for more information on the Haversack.
Cartridge, Cal .30, M1923, Dismounted
10 pocket cartridge belt carried the infantryman's ammunition
(80 rounds for the M1
Garand, 100 rounds for the 1903 or 1903A3
rifle) as well as any number of items that could be fastened
to it using the M1910 wire hook and eyelets. The canteen,
first aid pouch, bayonet or fighting knife, and sidearm
holster were common. It was supported by the integral
suspenders of the M1928 Haversack
or the M1936 field suspenders.The
belt is similar in appearance to the WWI belt that features
bronze fittings for attaching the belt at the waist, while
the WWII version uses cast fittings. Pre-war and early
war models were OD#3 (khaki) while later models; starting
around the fall to winter of 1944 were starting to be
made in OD#7 green canvas.
regards to re-enacting; the cartridge belt is very important
as it carries your ammo and all other gear that attaches
to it. Getting a quality belt is worth the money and way
better than getting a sub-par reproduction and having
eyelets rip out, lift-the-dots fail, and fall apart altogether.
For M1 en-bloc clips; you will need to use spaces. More
info on that is listed in the XO’s corner here.
Pistol or Revolver, M1936
was a web belt issued to anyone who did not carry an
M1 Garand or 1903A3
rifle; including MG crews, those carrying the M1
Carbine or SMG, and medics. It was usually worn with
the pistol holster attached; and featured a female snap-button
on the front left hand side for snapping the M1912, M1918,
or M1923 magazine pouch or the Carbine magazine pocket
The belt was often worn in reverse; with the “US”
appearing upside down in photos; this was done for a few
reasons: One was to move the magazine pocket snap over
to the right hand side. Another was that the eyelets would
rip out after considerable use; so flipping the belt over
allowed the user to utilize the other eyelets to hang
gear from. Often gear was modified with loops to slide
over the belt; rather than hang from it.
Magazine, BAR, M1937
web belt for carrying 12 magazines for the Browning
Automatic Rifle. It had 6 pockets; 3 on each side
that held two 20 round magazines each. A loaded magazine
weighed around 2 pounds which made the total weight nearly
25 pounds for the belt, mags, and ammo alone. Some BAR
gunners wore it with the medic yoke rather than the M1936
suspenders; as the wider straps of the medic yoke
better distributed its heft.
Intrenching, M1943 & Carrier, Shovel, Intrenching,
in 1943, this shovel was much improved and more robust.
It can be used as a shovel or folded and locked to become
a mattock or pick. It can be carried in the same manner
as the M1910 E-tool in one of three
types of carriers: the common 3-posistion adjustable carrier,
the early fixed “low hanger” carrier, or the
seldom seen “middle hanger” carrier. Most
are OD#7 (green) or transitional but OD#3 (khaki) carriers
are around. These E-tools were issued in time for the
D-Day landings and were common after the fall of 1944.
It was not terribly uncommon for Rangers to saw around
6 or 8 inches off the end of the handle to make a more
compact tool that could be easily carried on the belt
or pack. Sometimes the M1943 Intrenching tool was packed
without a carrier at all. The blade would be folded and
it would be tucked into the belt or web gear as shown
Intrenching, M1910 & Carrier, Shovel, Intrenching,
M1910 “T-handle” shovel was carried over from
WWI and was used throughout the war. Its canvas carrier
attaches to the Haversack under
the meatcan pouch, or to the eyelets of the cartridge
or pistol belt. T-handles were not as common after the
fall of 1944. These shovels are quite rare now; and originals
are generally in rough shape as they do not hold up well.
Most retain little or no paint; as it wears off with use.
Intrenching, M1910 with Carrier & Axe, Intrenching,
M1910 with Carrier
pick mattock (or sometimes called the pick-mattox) is
carried as shown, disassembled in 2 parts in a web carrier
on the standard M1910 wire hook. It was used to break
up hard earth or frozen ground.
The M1910 Axe pictured here has a late pattern 1944 dated
carrier that is closed with a lift the dot snap. Earlier
pouches were mostly OD#3 (khaki) and closed with a web
strap and buckle identical to that on the meatcan pouch
on the M1928 Haversack.
Both the Pick-mattock and Axe were carried in a limited
basis during the war; the standard being the M1910
or M1943 Intrenching tool. The pick
and axe were prescribed on a basis of one pick and one
axe per 12-man squad; but this field-manual declaration
was deviated from.
to cut thru barbed wire and other entanglements; the cutters
were carried in an open top pouch from the 1910 metal
hook. The grips were thick plastic material and the date
was stamped into the head of the cutter. These were a
common, practical item and were carried by many Rangers
on D-Day usually on the assault vest but sometimes without
the pouch; tucked inside one of the pockets. A variation
with a larger, strengthened cutting head and a flap on
the pouch was also made in limited numbers.
Pictured is an excellent example of the change in color
of web material that was used during the war on many items;
not just the M1938 wire cutter pouch. From left to right;
they are dated ’42, ’43 and ’44 respectively.
The earlier pouch is made from the OD#3 (Olive Drab) shade
of cotton duct web, commonly called “khaki”.
The middle is a “transitional” pouch, illustrating
the use of both types of material during the move to the
new OD#7 colors; while stocks of OD#3 still existed. The
last is a OD #7 green pouch from later in the war when
the new duct material was really beginning to see widespread
use. Another example of the use of materials in manufacture
is available here.
Magazine, Double-Web M1923
was the newest type of M1911 & M1911A1 magazine pouch.
Unlike the M1912 and M1918, it had only a single lift
the dot snap mounted on a sheet metal riser between the
pockets. It did retain the button at rear on the inside
of the belt loop to snap to the M1936
pistol belt and held two standard 7-round magazines.
Oddly enough; the British produced a version of the M1912
magazine pouch up until 1944 from British webbing using
lift the dots; long after it was replaced by the M1918
and subsequent M1923. Any of the pouches Model 1912, 1918,
or 1923 are acceptable for use.
Magazine, Double-Web, Carbine, Caliber .30, M1 & Pocket,
Cartridge, Cal. .30, M1, Carbine or Rifle
first model M1 Carbine magazine pouch held two 15 round
magazines and slid over the pistol belt. It could be snapped
to the button on its front. It was typical to see these
also on the stock of M1 Carbines; as they could be slid
over the weapon once disassembled from the muzzle end.
The two pictured on the left are both dated 1943. The
one at far right is the newer model; with eyelets at the
bottom; two simple web loops on the back in lieu of the
full back with snap and it accepts both M1
Carbine 15 round magazines and 8 round M1
Garand en-bloc clips. It could not be fitted on the
stock as with the earlier model. Five magazines and two
pouches were standard issue but more were frequently carried.
When empty, magazines were not discarded.
Ammunition Magazines, (3-Cell) & Case, Magazine, 30-Round,
with Shoulder Strap
left is a 3-cell 30 round Thompson
or M3 Grease
gun magazine pocket. Each pouch is individually closed
with a lift the dot snap. It is carried on the belt by
means of the wide loop on the back. These were made in
both OD#3 khaki and OD#7 green (pictured) canvas. There
was also a 5-cell pouch that held 5 twenty-round magazines;
typically used with the M1928A1 Thompson.
the right is 30-round stick magazine case; that could
hold 6 mags for the Thompson or M3
Grease gun. It was slung over the shoulder and had
no belt loop. Grenades and other ordnance could also be
carried in the bag if desired.
were frequently used by Army Rangers; as the 30-round
Thompson magazines were preferred.
Carrying, Ammunition, M1
the “GP” bag for General Purpose, the bag
was made to hold a can of .30 Cal MG ammo. It was used
however for holding everything from ammo to toilet paper.
The bag could accommodate 11 rifle
grenades or 28 fragmentation
grenades w/o the fiber tubes. It had a short strap
that looped around the bottom with clips on both ends
for attaching to the GP strap. It also had two pairs of
D-rings on its rear; one pair on each side; for strapping
the bag to the wearer or to a vehicle in any number of
fashions. This bag was the most common of any general
purpose carrying solution during the war. It was used
more often and for all number of purposes over the 3-pocked
grenade carriers or a M1936 Musette
bag slung on the shoulder.
closed by a single strap and buckle on the front; and
had a collapsible inner cloth pocket that could be used
to separate the bag into two parts. The material itself
is very durable and it will stand up on its own empty.
It is dated on the inside under the lid and can be encountered
in the typical shades of canvas and often as a transitional
item; with solid OD#7 green bags existing as early as
1943. It’s a very useful piece of equipment, then
As a side-note; these are not to be confused with the
Satchel Charge bag. The bag used for demolitions in that
role was of much lighter weight construction and closed
with a pair of string ties on the front. While the GP
bag was very rarely used in that role; it is not one in
the same with the satchel charge bag.
Strap, Carrying, General Purpose pictured at right was
used to carry the GP bag over the shoulder. It could also
be used with the M1936 Musette bag (the pocket on its
side was for carrying this strap when not in use). The
early model had D-Rings on the end and was OD#3 (khaki)
while the later model had snaps on the ends. They were
adjustable using the slide buckle out to about three feet
to R) Holster, Hip, M943; Holster, Pistol, Cal. 45, M1916;
and Holster, Shoulder, M3
left is the leather belt holster for a 4” barreled
Victory model Smith & Wesson revolver in .38 Smith
& Wesson caliber. Shoulder holsters were more common,
mostly in the PTO among Marines and flyers, but the Victory
did see action in the ETO; with this simple holster. The
leather thong is for securing it to the thigh; but unlike
the M1916 holster; it lacks the slots at rear to wear
on the trouser belt and must be hung from the eyelets
of a web belt.
is the M1916 holster. It was the standard leather holster
for the M1911
.45 ACP pistol. It had the standard M1910 wire hanger
for wear on the belt; with a slot in the rear for use
on the M1937 Web Waist belt if needed. The holes at the
bottom were using a leather thong to tie the holster to
the thigh. Only right-hand draw models were made.
Rangers circa January 1945 can be seen in photos wearing
the M1916 holster with the flap removed as a cross draw
rig. The holster would be worn on the left side; and drawn
across the body with the right hand.
M3 Shoulder holster was originally intended for airmen
who carried the M1911
but it quickly found its way into the hands of tank crews,
the airborne forces, and infantrymen altogether. It was
used frequently by officers; and many surviving examples
bear the owners name and/or ASN written on the item. The
M3 was a cross draw shoulder rig with a one-piece metal
buckle for the shoulder strap. A lift the dot snap secures
the sidearm in place; while a belt loop at bottom keeps
it fastened to the trouser belt.
First-Aid Packet, M1942 & First-Aid Packet, Carlisle
small web pouch carried the Carlisle bandage and had a
single lift-the-dot snap. It is very similar to the M1924,
being only slightly larger. The M1910 First Aid packet
pouch was made up until 1942 and was a WWI carry-over;
with 2 button closures on the flap. A British version
of the pouch was also made; using British webbing and
a horribly stiff snap-button.
Bandages were in a sardine can-like brass box or post
1941 a tin box was used. They were painted gloss orange/red
if they contained the sulfanilamide powder but were not
labeled as such; or OD green if the label was present.
There was also a plastic variant made to save on tin use.
Each box contained a single field dressing and a packet
of sulfanilamide powder which was used to prevent infection.
An additional Carlisle bandage was sometimes carried in
a shirt or coat pocket; but other than that men were dependent
on the combat medics for treatment should they be wounded.
The dressing got its name from the place of its development:
Medical Dept. Equipment Laboratory at Carlisle Barracks,
Pennsylvania. Hence; the Carlisle bandage.
An original unused bandage may be carried; but for re-enacting
it is recommended that you carry modern personal medical
supplies in it instead. Items like band-aids, Tylenol,
burn ointment, Neosporin, gauze, tweezers, and medical
tape can be carried in an open, empty Carlisle tin; or
in lieu of that an Altoids tin can be painted OD green
and used. Some events may use a special hit system with
“hit cards”, medics and bandages. In that
case you may want to bring your own field dressing should
you be “hit” and carry it in your pouch. A
3 inch wide by 3 foot long strip of white muslin cloth
Canteen, Dismounted, M1910 & Canteen, M1942 and Cup,
M1942 Stainless Steel
canteen set consists of the carrier, the canteen, and
the cup. Carriers can be OD#3 (khaki) or OD#7 (green)
in color; the earlier models up to late 1944 being OD#3
(khaki). The bottle screw caps can be plastic (late war)
or aluminum (early-pre war). The cups are either rolled
edge (early) or flared edge (late) and are stainless steel.
Canteens are carried on the cartridge or pistol belt using
the M1910 wire hanger and corresponding eyelets, usually
on the rear most set to the left or right of center. The
M1941 carrier with reinforced web is recommended as wear
and tear on the carrier is considerable. Flared rim cups
do not transfer heat to the lips as does the rolled rim
Many canteens and cups still exist and are serviceable
after a good cleaning. The cork seal in the cap is usually
dried, cracked, or missing; and can be easily replaced
with a new one.
As a historical note; Rangers in North Africa and Italy
often carried multiple canteens; with one or even 2 on
the belt and an additional one on the hanger for the intrenching
tool on the Haversack (with the meatcan pouch removed).
Medics were also required to carry two canteens.
Meat, M1942 with Fork, Knife, & Spoon, M1926
is the standard mess kit for the WWII infantryman. The
meatcan consists of two sections, the top section fitting
on top of the long handled pan for when food is being
served. The knife, fork and spoon could also be hung from
the handle for sterilization of the whole set in hot boiling
water. The meatcan is carried in the outer pouch on the
haversack, with 3 small internal
slots for the knife fork and spoon; the knife being issued
with a leather sheath to keep it from poking a hole in
the canvas haversack. The mess kit was either carried
by the GI or kept at the field kitchen depending on the
unit. Rangers usually did not carry the meatcan on patrols,
on watch, while on perimeter or so on; as it was bulky,
noisy if not secured and carried properly, and it reflected
light. The worst thing to do is to carry your utensils
loose inside it.
Re-enactor wise, the meatcan is a handy item since we
usually do not have field kitchens and depend on ourselves
for food. You can cook out of it, prepare your rations
in it, or wash out of it. Items like French bread, summer
sausage, and cheese can be wrapped in wax paper, butcher
paper or cheese cloth and kept inside it. Keep in mind;
you don’t want to carry anything in that will rattle
if you shake it.
Canvas, Dispatch, M1938 & Binoculars, M3, 6x30 with
Carrying Case M17
carried by officers and occasionally NCOs, the map case
and binoculars are limited issue items.
The M1938 Dispatch case (or simply Map case) was the standard
map and document holder throughout the war. It had two
large internal compartments, one for holding the clear
plastic insert with red grid lines for maps, and several
smaller pockets for a ruler, pencils and so on. The strap
featured a sliding web shoulder pad and attached via its
snaps to the 2 D-rings on the rear of the pouch.
M3 binoculars were the standard binoculars for ground
troops and typically carried only by officers. The case
was all-leather and marked Case, Carrying, M17 with a
strap and wide belt loop on the rear. The binoculars themselves
were dated on the right hand side; next to the eyepiece
under the manufacturer’s name. These replaced the
Type E Signal Corps binoculars issued from WWI up to 1941-42.
TL-122B and later TL-122C angle-head flashlight was of
plastic construction and had a sliding switch with a push-button
above it for use communicating by Morse code. It could
be clipped to the trouser belt, web gear or such by means
of the metal hook on its back. Spare bulb and color filters
were kept in the base.
To limit the amount of light put out by the TL-122, GI's
and Rangers alike would sometimes cut-out the round, red
Lucky Strike cigarette logo that was on a pack of cigarettes
and poke a tiny hole in it with a pencil. The logo was
the same diameter as the flashlight lens. This would be
placed behind the glass lens of the light; allowing only
a small dot to shine thru. Doing so decreased the risk
of exposing your position at night should you need the
light to check a watch, read a map or compass, check a
weapon or so on. The TL-122A was the same overall design;
but had a brass or tin body painted OD green with black
Helmet, Steel, M1
M1 steel helmet replaced the M1917A1 helmet in June of
1941. The shell is an OD#7 green color with a rough textured
finish. Shade variations exist on original helmets from
a light pea-green to almost black. WWII early war production
shells can be identified by the location of the seam on
the rim. Front seam helmets were made earlier in the war;
with the seam being moved to the rear on shells made after
1944 and post-war models. The method of chin strap attachment
is via a tack stitch to the loops of the shell. The loops
are properly termed "bales". A fixed loop; or
bale, spot welded to the shell signifies earlier manufacture,
while a swivel bale denotes later manufacture after October
1943. The steel shell was worn over the liner. There were
multiple types and makes of liners, with many variations;
too many to list here. The most common type was the compressed
canvas resin impregnated liner with an HBT suspension.
Earlier types were paper-fiber with rayon suspensions.
in WWII, specifically those in the 2nd and 5th Battalions;
painted orange diamonds with a "2" or "5"
in the center on the back of the steel pots for the D-Day
invasion so that their unit could be quickly recognized
by others behind them. Many of the Rangers did this; but
not all of them. A horizontal white bar denoting an NCO
or a vertical white bar denoting an officer may have also
been used on the rear of the helmet. Several variations
of placement and size existed. Any M1 steel helmet with
appropriate liner that is original WWII manufacture or
refinished helmet is acceptable for use in the hobby.
Front seam, swivel bale helmets with correct HBT suspensions
are preferred. Orange diamonds with the black "5"
in the middle are also preferred, especially for D-Day
events. New members that do not want to apply the diamond
themselves may have it done for free by other members
at their first event.
to R) Goggles, M1944; Goggles, Polaroid, All Purpose,
Type 1021 & Eye shield, M1 (Air Spray)