This is the average gear a WW2 soldier carried
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This is the average gear a WW2 soldier carried

It’s estimated that over 16.1 million American’s served during World War II. They fought in some of
the most brutal conditions and intense battles in
our nations history. Including D Day, The Battle
of the Bulge and Iwo Jima. And they did it with
equipment that is far less sophisticated than what
modern day troops carry. Let’s take a look at
the standard issue gear that U.S. troops carried
during World War II. The combat pack was a waterproof backpack that contained everything the troop needed to sustain himself in the field. Including toiletries,
socks, a few rations, personal items, and things
that struck their fancy. You know, like pictures
of their sweethearts. And if they didn’t have their
own sweethearts back home, a movie star would do. Fun fact, anything that
looked like two round objects earned the nickname Mae West. See if you can figure out why. The cartridge belt had pouches
that could hold ammunition. A rifleman’s eight-round clip
could fit into each pouch. The belt also had fortified holes along the bottom for additional attachments. Including a small first
aid pouch which would contain one or two battle
dressings for self aid. The sterile dressings were
designed for hemorrhage control. Another attachment was the
bayonet which could attach to the rifle itself or be
used in Hand-to-hand combat or as a utility knife or an absolutely terrifying back scratcher. The canteen would also attach to the cartridge belt via the canteen cover. A pouch that included the
canteen itself, a canteen cup, and a mess kit complete
with knife, fork, and spoon. It wasn’t uncommon for a
forward deployed troop to eat and drink all of his
rations from this container. As many meals served on the front lines came from a large communal pot. Early World War II canteens
were made of aluminum but as the war raged on the aluminum was urgently needed for aircraft. In 1942, other materials were explored including stainless
steel, low quality metal with porcelain enameled coating and even some plastic
which is of course what our modern military uses today. And drinking from them is disgusting. And I hate it. It does beat the
contamination that occurred when porcelain enamel chipped however. A true indication of the
age of trench warfare. Troops carried an
entrenching tool attached to their belts or combat packs. It was used as a shovel to
dig foxholes or trenches. Could fold and serve as a pick or it could drive stakes into the ground. If the shit hit the fan, it could also be used as a fighting stick. It wasn’t the most effective Malay weapon but it was handy, heavy, and sharp. Now the helmet itself was
comprised of two parts. The plastic liner and a
one-size-fits-all steel shell. The liner helped the helmet fit properly. And the steel offered protection. It was dull by design but
troops were also issued fabric covers for increased camouflage. Many would also use nets or vegetation for added concealment. World War II production
helmets did have chin straps but many soldiers wore them unfastened or even looped behind the helmet. This seems counterintuitive
but they found that during hand-to-hand combat,
the helmet could be used against them by the enemy
who could pull on it and throw troops off balance. The helmet also had
pragmatic uses during camp. It could carry water, be used
as a wash basin, or as a seat. And if you had two, it became an excellent Mae West impression. One of the largest items troops
carried was the cargo pack which contained a two man
tent, tent pins, and a blanket. Depending on the time year,
an infantry soldier would also carried clothing layers to include long johns, ponchos, and a raincoat. Their weapons varied as
well but the M1 Garand rifle and the M1911 pistol
where also common issue. A soldiers load during World War II ranged from 65 to 85 pounds
depending on his weapon. Today, troops carry around
95 to 125 pounds of gear. It’s the addition of
body armor, technology, and improved first aid gear
happen to add into the load. But before we start
comparing apples to oranges, let’s just remember that
it was the devastation and hardship of the World
Wars that built America’s foundation of military superiority. We’re stronger today because
of what they endured. It’s amazing what you can
accomplish with just a pair of wool underwear, asbestos gloves and an iron will to kill The Führer.


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