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MARK R. HENRY, MIKE CHAPPELL
THE US ARMY IN WORLD WAR II. THE PACIFIC

GUADALCANAL, 1942-43

1: Infantry private, 23rd Infantry Division, October 1942

The 'Americal' was the first Army division to be deployed to Guadalcanal in support of the battle-worn Marines. This private still wears the one-piece HBT overall suit; most men found this to be too hot, and hard to remove when (the very prevalent) dysentery came calling. He has dispensed with his leggings, and is typically accoutered for combat with the minimum of web equipment; note that like the figures on Plate A he still has the World War I patterns of canteen and first aid pouch on his rifle cartridge belt. Like the vast majority of GIs during the war he has decided not to buckle his helmet chinstrap; he would rather hold the helmet in place while running than risk a broken neck. Unlike his Marine comrades this GI is armed with the M1 Garand semi-automatic rifle; on Guadalcanal the Marines quickly saw the value of its high rate of fire, and 'obtained' as many as possible. He also carries a fragmentation grenade in his right breast pocket.

2: Rifle grenadier, 25th Infantry Division, 1943

This 'sad sack' is wearing one of the handy new ponchos based on the USMC design; in its role as rainwear this green shelter-half, which had a myriad of uses, could be snapped along the edges to form loose sleeves, and covered both man and equipment. He is armed with the M1903A3 modification of the Springfield, the most discernible difference being the new placement of the rear sight; note also the rifle grenade launcher attachment at the muzzle. The short T-handled shovel of World War I was used throughout the war, although its (theoretical) replacement - the folding- head tool based on the German model - would soon arrive. The 25th 'Tropical Lightning' Division, with its prewar Regular Army cadre, would win a Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions in the Guadalcanal campaign.

3: Infantry sergeant, 23rd Infantry Division, 1943

Although he has tucked the shirt into the trousers, his first pattern HBT two-piece uniform is identifiable by its pleated breast pockets. Because its green colour faded quickly with use it was sometimes overdyed a blackish green. This NCO shows no insignia; he is armed with a M97 Winchester pump-action 12 gauge shotgun, a .45cal pistol, and an early war MkIIA1 fragmentation grenade painted yellow all over - this was soon reduced to a narrow yellow stripe around the top of the grenade body. Shotguns were used by the Army and Marines throughout the Pacific campaigns, but in very limited numbers and not without some controversy.

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