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

PHILIPPINES, 1944-45

1: Officer, Ranger or Scout unit

This officer wears the newly available two-piece version of the M1942 camouflage jungle uniform. By the final year of the war most GIs received - and preferred - the standard green HBTs, and use of the camouflage uniform became uncommon. Long range reconnaissance scouts did use this uniform quite frequently, however, and preferred the soft fatigue cap to the steel helmet. This man wears no insignia, but is probably an officer in the 6th Ranger Battalion, or perhaps a member of the 6th Army's small 'Alamo Scouts' unit? He wears the newly issued buckle boots, which would rapidly become the common issue footwear in this last year of the war. Magazine pouches for his M1 carbine are carried on his pistol belt and the butt of the weapon. Instead of an issue machete he carries a local bolo for cutting trail through the jungle.

2: Battalion commander, 11th Airborne Division

The Corcoran paratrooper boots are the only features that might identify this man as Airborne - for ground combat he has removed the special chin harness from his helmet liner. Nor does he wear any visible insignia to mark him as a lieutenant-colonel or major commanding a battalion, though his shoulder-holstered pistol suggests that he is an officer. This sort of smudgy helmet camouflage pattern was painted on by several units in the last year of the war. His M3 fighting knife will soon be replaced by the M1 carbine bayonet; and note the large green pouch of the jungle first aid kit.

The small 11th Airborne Division retained its 8,200-man establishment throughout the war; it first saw action as reinforcements on Leyte in November 1944. MacArthur also had at his disposal the independent 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, which jumped at Nadzab (1943), Noemfoor (1944), and - most famously - at Corregidor in February 1945.

3: Private, 26th Quartermaster War Dog Platoon

This left-handed private listening to a SCR 536 'handie-talkie' radio appears to be serving as a HQ runner. He too has a camouflage-painted helmet, and wears a late pattern HBT shirt, but still has the older issue ankle boots of 1941, with toecaps, and trousers without cargo pockets worn rolled over web leggings. He is armed with an M1 Garand and a MkIIA1 'pineapple' grenade. An immediate-use clip of Garand rounds was often carried jammed on to a web suspender, as here; interestingly, this GI has a complete clip of red-tipped tracer rounds (black tips identified armour-piercing ammunition). The platoon/company level SCR 536 (Set, Complete Radio) AM radio had a range of about two miles and was preset to a single frequency. It had no external switches and was turned on simply by extending the antenna.

Medium-sized dogs from one to five years old, measuring 20ins (50.8cm) at the shoulder and weighing at least 50lbs (22.7kg) could be 'recruited' for service in the 'K9' Corps; German Shepherds were the preferred breed, though the Marines liked Dobermans. Interestingly, the Quartermaster Corps provided both the dogs and their handlers. War dogs were trained for use as scouts, couriers, pack animals and to guard POWs. After hard service many dogs were found to be too sensitive to prolonged artillery fire, with disease (heartworm) and fatigue also taking a toll. (Dogs were not eligible for the Purple Heart...)

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