During WW2 the US Army realised that a combat soldier needed his jacket to be light and durable with functional pockets. They issued them in a plain colour (with the odd exception) and they were not designed to carry very much equipment in the pockets. The soldiers also wore a webbing set, which was designed to do that. The most practical element of their jacket was functionality, so designers moved away from the old-fashioned greatcoats and heavy wool jackets.
The system of layering was the preferred method of keeping a man warm because it offered freedom of movement. During WW2 the whole concept of the combat jacket was born and it generated changes that are still around today.
Shown below are some WW2 US combat jackets for sale, but in a future article we will be covering other variations. WW2 US Army and Navy combat jackets are a pretty wide subject to cover, so in this article we are going to focus on just a few examples for sale right now.
US Army M41 Field Jacket
Up first are two jackets from the same seller, IMCS Militaria in Holland. They have on offer a standard issued US Army M41 field jacket. It has a button front and cuffs, as well as a hidden zip running the length of the front opening. The two angled slash side pockets offered the soldier the ability to keep small objects close-by if needed, and also to keep their hands warm in cold weather.
This combat-worn example is still in great shape and is priced at €475.
European Theatre US Army Jacket
Also from IMCS Militaria in Holland is this “ETO” jacket (European Theatre of Operations). It was made for the US Army by a British company. With supply issues, so many men and so much material coming over to the UK in time for D-Day, a deal was done to produce a UK version of the US M41 from British battledress material. They had to be ready for the US troops when they arrived and it effectively became a hybrid of both the British and US army jackets.
They were apparently quite popular amongst the men and there are plenty of examples photographed being worn. There are enough pictures out there to suggest that they were widely worn during cold periods. What the Americans thought of the rough battledress material is another matter. But when you are cold, a warmer jacket will most likely be the preferred option.
There were two models of the the ETO jacket manufactured before production ceased towards the end of the war. The first pattern is shown here and then there was a later second pattern, which had a simplified design with patch-style upper front pockets, similar to the British Army battledress. A telltale indicator that this jacket is British-made is the War Department issue stamp and the ‘N’ year letter code. The ‘N’ stamp indicates a production year of 1943.
This model of jacket is becoming harder and harder to find. This example is in very clean condition and you can instantly see the similarities with the US M41 jacket. It is priced at €450.
Herringbone Twill Sniper’s Jacket
Another US tunic that was manufactured by the British is this rare HBT Snipers Jacket. For sale by Selles Militaria Antiques in France for 2,975€, this is one of the rarest US Army jackets produced during WW2 and it is highly sought after by collectors.
The camouflage colour is printed onto both sides to represent summer and autumn colours; very much in the style of German Army reversible winter coats. The British issue stamp “M” indicates that the jacket was made in 1944 but it is missing the maker’s white label, which would be named to one of the two companies that were contracted to make them. Either M. Belmont & Co. Ltd or Denham Ltd. of Tredegar. An original label would read ‘BLOUSE, SUITS, SNIPER, USA ETO’ along with the maker’s name, WD Arrow and date.
The rarity of the jacket comes from the fact that it was issued for a very limited period during July and August 1944. Some US troops thought that this camouflage was actually German issue, which caused some confusion and friendly fire incidents at the time. A short time later it was phased out and they stopped issued this jacket. This inevitably means that very few of them ever come up for sale.
US Navy M41 Jacket
The US Navy took the M41 jacket development a little further and an official Naval version was created. It was manufactured in a darker material, without any epaulettes and it does not have the army type adjustable cuffs either.
This Naval M41 jacket is currently for sale from Battleflag Militaria in the UK and it is priced at £215.
US Navy M41 Jacket
Another US Navy M41 jacket for sale; this time in Europe. It is located in Holland at Clements Militaria priced at €495. It is a great condition example with a lot of the original dark colouring still remaining. Very often they were washed heavily, removing the information from the internal label – and also resulting in a much lighter exterior colour.
These jackets were very popular with navy units on D-Day and fortunately this one has a good zip, the internal label still intact and still legible.
Thank you for reading this post. For more US Winter Gear for sale CLICK HERE.
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