THE M1943 COMBAT UNIFORM – ADVANCEMENTS IN GI CLOTHING

In 1943, the U.S. Army developed a new combat uniform to be standardized for all its branches of services. The new uniform was based on the “layering” principle of body protection consisting of outer and inner garments versatile enough to be used in varying types of weather.



The outer M1943 Jacket was manufactured out of a 9-ounce, olive drab colored cotton fabric known as five-harness sateen. It had four large pockets, an internal drawstring and buttoned up under a hidden flap for a smooth front.  A hood could be attached to buttons on the collar and shoulders.

506th parachute infantry, 101st airborne division holland

Members of HQ Company, 506th PIR wearing M1943 combat uniforms in Holland during September 1944.

The uniform had a matching pair of trousers and cap that were made out of the same cotton material.

A inner pile jacket was also manufactured to add extra warmth in cold climates.

The M1943 boots (known to the GIs as “Combat boots”) added a leather flap with double buckle adjustment tabs to standard ankle boots that replaced cumbersome canvas leggings.

The M1943 combat uniform was first field tested by units of the 3rd Infantry Division at Anzio, Italy in early 1944. However, the uniform did not become widely available in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) until the Fall of 1944.

 



Write up on the new M1943 combat uniform From the July 11, 1944 edition of Stars and Stripes:

70th infantry division 274th infantry m943 field jackets

Soldiers of F Company, 274th Infantry Regiment, 70th Infantry Division wearing M1943 Field jackets.

GI’s In Italy got their first look at the new American combat uniform on a combat patrol that had returned from the battle lines.

They found that the new outfit included a dark green water-repellant pair of trousers with large pockets on each leg; a paratrooper style half-length jacket with a drawstring instead of a belt, four pockets, two high and two low, and buttons on an inside flap to prevent their catching on objects while crawling. The material is cotton, known as five harness sateen. The whole thing is worn over regular woolen trousers and shirt, and in very cold weather a pile fabric underjacket is added for warmth.

New boots, which are merely the same old GI brogans with an added six-inch leather top, replaced leggings.

The American combat uniform is already in use in parts of Burma, Alaska, the Southwest Pacific, Greenland and the ETO but still hasn’t been produced in sufficient quantities to supply the whole Army in any theater.

m1943 combat uniform jacket and trousers boots

THE ARMY’S NEW COLD-CLIMATE COMBAT UNIFORM uses the “layering” principle of protection. The outer layer consists of a field jacket and trousers of a nine-ounce dark-green cotton fabric known as five-harness sateen, designed to provide maximum protection against wind and water. Regular woolen trousers and shirt are worn beneath, and the sweater-type underjacket of pile fabric is added for extra warmth in very cold weather. The cap is of the same material as the field jacket and outer trousers. The boots shown are the combat boot, with the leather turned flesh side out and a wide cuff at the top.

m1943 field jacket 5th infantry division

M1943 Field Jacket with detachable hood worn by a soldier from the 5th Infantry Division.

m1943-jacket

Reverse of jacket.



m1943 tag

Instruction tag in the jacket

m1943 tag

Instruction tag and manufactures tag inside the hood



m1943 trousers

M1943 Field Trousers

m1943 pants

Front of the Field Trousers showing adjustment straps and covered button fly.

m1943 hat

M1943 cap

m1943 hat

Interior of cap

m1943 double buckle combat boots

M1943 double buckle “Combat Boots”



For More on the M1943 Combat Uniform Check out:

U.S. Army Uniforms of World War II


GI Collector’s Guide: Army Service Forces Catalog, U.S. Army European Theater of Operations


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