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MARK R. HENRY, MIKE CHAPPELLTHE
US ARMY IN WORLD WAR II. NORTH-WEST EUROPE

Aboard ship off Normandy, June 1944: this 2nd Division MP checking the Army's official phrase book/travel guide displays the 'Indianhead' patch on his left shoulder and - just visible - painted above the 'MP' on his helmet.

St Vith, Belgium, December 1944: GIs from the 23rd Armored Infantry, 7th Armored Division take a watchful rest in the streets, covered by a whitewashed M4 Sherman. The GIs are wearing field-expedient white helmet covers and capes apparently made from bedsheets.

August 1944: soldier of the 26th Infantry, 1st Division, wearing the experimental load-carrying combat vest issued in some numbers to assault units of the 1st and 29th Divisions and Rangers for the D-Day landings, but not usually kept this long. On the Normandy beaches the pockets scooped up large quantities of water and wet sand; most GIs found it bulky, hot, burdensome and awkward, and soon discarded it or cut it down. Based on the British limited issue 'battle jerkin' - which the Tommies also disliked - the US cotton duck canvas version had four generous patch pockets on the front and a integral pack and 'butt pack' on the back; the side of the pack had a sleeve for the bayonet, and the shoulders had quick release straps. The vest was closed with buckled web straps at the waist and chest. Normal web belts were supposed to be worn under the vest - not over it, as here - so that it could be shed quickly in the water if necessary. (See Plate B2.)

Snatching a moment's rest during the savage fighting in the Normandy bocage, this battle-worn infantry sergeant from the 4th Division wears green HBT fatigues over his wool uniform (see Plate B3). He is armed with his M1, a spare bandoleer of ammunition and two 'frag' grenades. Like many GIs he seems to carry letters or photos from home stowed inside his helmet.

Operation Cobra, July 1944: two GIs from the 41st Armored Infantry, 2nd Armored Division watch over a seriously wounded buddy during the Normandy break-out battles. All wear the two-piece camouflage fatigues briefly issued to some units in Normandy (see Plate C3). The casualty has been treated and tagged by the medics. The Thompson gunner, probably a squad leader, also carries a fragmentation and a smoke grenade. (Photo Robert Capa, Magnum)

During the Battle of the Bulge a chaplain (second right, wearing an Air Corps flight jacket) stops to chat to men of the 2nd Bn/504th PIR. 82nd Airborne Division. Most of the paratroopers wear wool overcoats or raincoats (see Plate F2); some carry 'hobo' bedrolls slung with rope instead of packs.

Operation Market Garden, September 1944: a classic shot of an 82nd Airborne Division lieutenant and NCOs going over the orders before putting on their 'chutes for the drop over Holland. With the issue of the well-liked M1943 field jacket after D-Day the special M1942 paratrooper's jacket began to be a rarity. The buckle boots also began to replace the jump boots in the Airborne, much to the annoyance of paratroopers. Note (left) the white-painted horizontal NCOs' recognition stripe on the back of the corporal's helmet.

Part of a group photo of command and staff personnel from the 17th Airborne Division chuted up ready for Operation Varsity, the joint US/British drop across the Rhine in March 1945; after serving in the Ardennes this was the 17th's only airborne deployment. All wear the M1943 field jacket apart from (standing second left) one with the M1943 jacket's pile liner, and (kneeling right) the lieutenant in the old M1942 Airborne field uniform, as illustrated in MAA 347.

Germany, early 1945: officers of the 5th Ranger Bn still wearing their D-Day 'Sunoco' diamond-shaped Ranger shoulder patches, and probably also the orange Ranger diamond on the backs of their helmets. They wear 'tanker jackets' and matching trousers (left), an Air Corps flight jacket (second right) and a mackinaw. Among the visible weapons are a bazooka, a .30cal machine gun, two M1 rifles, an M3 'grease gun' and a Thompson, taped grenades and a captured P08 Luger.

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