Your First Impression

You have taken your first steps into World War II Reenacting and are now wondering…Whats next? This page is designed to guide you through the task of putting together your first kit. Your first decision needs to be whether you want to portray the 504th PIR or 325th GIR. Once you decide this, follow these guides below to start putting together your impression.


504th PIR Rifleman

This is the basic kit you will need to portray a rifleman in H Co. 504th PIR. This specific uniform and equipment were worn in Sicily and Italy, but were also seen on paratroopers in Normandy and through the end of the war. These items will enable you to fit in at all of our events. Items Required:

Uniform:

  • M1942 Jumpsuit (unreinforced): The main uniform of the paratrooper from stateside training through the Normandy campaign (the 504th retained their jumpsuits through the Holland campaign and they occasionally in evidence on troopers in Germany).
  • M2 Helmet (“D-Bale”)
  • Jumpboots (Corcorans): In russet brown. The pride of the paratrooper.
  • Silk scarf (optional)

Field gear:

  • M1936 Pistol belt
  • M1936 Combat suspenders
  • M1936 Musette bag
  • M1910 Entrenching tool (“T-handle shovel”) & carrier
  • M1910 Canteen, canteen cup, & carrier
  • Rigger-made ammunition pouches (“Rigger pouches”): Photographs show a bit of variation in the number of rigger pouches and how they were worn. It appears that 504th troopers preferred to carry 2 on each side of the pistol belt buckle in the front while 505th troopers might carry 1 in the front and 3 or 4 in the rear. This is an instance where personal preference and comfort could dictate how and where they’re worn.
  • Parachutist first aid pouch: This was worn in a variety of places, but mainly seen on the ankle or combat suspenders.
  • M1A1 Training gas mask & bag (not pictured): Due to a shortage of the service gas mask and the smaller size of the training gas mask, the paratroops in the MTO carried the training mask. These would often be discarded shortly after landing on the ground when it was apparent gas would not be used against them.
  • Spare magazine bag (not pictured: Although intended for Thompson submachine gun magazines, it appears that 504 riflemen obtained these to carry extra ammunition (riflemen with the spare magazine bag are often wearing fewer rigger pouches).

Weapons:

  • M1 Rifle (“Garand”)
  • M1905 Bayonet: This unwieldy 16″ bayonet seems to disappear from troopers as the campaign goes on.
  • M1918 Trench knife (“Knuckle knife”) in M6 scabbard: These holdovers from the Great War were issued to paratroopers in the MTO.
  • Fragmentation grenades

325th GIR Rifleman

This is the basic kit for a member of F Co. 325th GIR. This specific loadout was used by the 325th prior to Operation Overloard, however it can be used for most other impressions throughout the war. Items you will need are:

Uniform:

  • M1941 Wool shirt & trousers: The standard uniform of the U.S. Army in WWII.
  • M1941 Field jacket
  • M1938 Leggings: These canvas gaiters kept water, rocks, and debris out of the boots.
  • Service shoes, reverse upper (“Roughouts”): Roughouts are a very basic combat boot that could be more easily treated to repel chemical weapons. They were also cheaper to produce than the previous service shoes with their shiny finish.
  • M1 Helmet

Field gear:

  • M1923 Cartridge belt
  • M1936 Combat suspenders
  • M1936 Musette bag
  • M1910 Canteen, canteen cup, & carrier: Metal and black plastic caps are both seen.
  • M1910 Pick mattock/M1943
  • M1942 Carlisle bandage pouch

Weapons:

  • M1 Rifle
  • M1 Bayonet
  • Fragmentation grenades