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What do I need to carry in the butt-trap of my M-1 rifle? What kind of cleaning kit is period correct?
During WWII, the items carried in the butt-trap were a combination tool/chamber cleaning tool (early M-3 type with cloth jag instead of a wire brush), a small tub of "Lubriplate" weapons grease, an oil and thong case (in either a nickel-plated brass or plastic), a pull-through, a bore brush and a few cleaning patches. The rest of the cleaning kit was carried in a waterproof case in the pack. The case contained a M-10 cleaning rod with patch tip and handle, a small can of bore cleaner, a small can of gun oil, more cleaning patches and a M-31 action brush. The cans of oil and bore cleaner were also made to be able to fit in the pocket of the 10-pocket rifle ammunition belt. If you aren't a stickler for historical accuracy, put the M-10 cleaning rod and handle in the trap as it does a much better job of cleaning the bore although using the pull through won't erode the muzzle like reapeatedly using the rod will. Carbines, BAR's and machine guns had their own cleaning kits with specialized tools for the weapons they were issued with.
Are the M7 Shoulder Holsters incorrect to be worn by Airborne troops or is it okay to wear either the M3 or M7?
The M-7 holsters didn't become widley issued until late 1944. Wearing one for a Normandy impression may not be totally accurate as far as strict authenticity is concerned. However, a brown GI shoulder holster is a brown GI shoulder holster as far as most of us are concerned. Besides, the M-7 is more comfortable to wear.
What are the different types of wool shirts?
Wool shirts were ussally designated as the M37 Wool Shirt. There are two versions, one with a "gas flap" and a later version without. Officer shirts had the eppilates while the EM did not. The Wool shirt was the basic shirt of the US Army. It was worn as a combat uniform under the m41 Jacket, M42 Jacket and M43 Jacket. It was also the shirt that was used under the Class A jacket along with the tie. Most are a more shade of chocolate or brown while Korean War versions are more of the greenish look.
Does anyone know the dimesions for the wooden blocks that can be put in the cartridge belt to better accomodate blanks?
.75" x .75" x 1.5" Verify on hardscrabblefarm.com
What is the difference between fixed and swivel bale helmets?
The first M-1C's were fixed bale and were used along side of the M-2's in Normandy. The M-2 used the fixed "D" bale. The problem with the fixed bale helmets (both M-1C and M-2) is that the bales broke off easily. By the time of Market Garden almost all jump helmets were M-1C's. Also many "Leg helmets were used both with and without airborne liners.
Should Glider troops wear the Glider Wings instead of Jump Wings?
Glider troops do wear glider wings and to my knowledge there were no glider wing back ovals. I will guess that is an airborne only thing and probably just another thing that fed the fire of animosity between the paratroopers and the glider-riders. I have never seen any documentation in any of my references.
What is the proper length for a for a military tie?
Uniform ties in WW2 were very short by todays standards. Normally the tie tip was level with the bottom of the shirt pockets and several inches short of the man's waistline. If you look at pictures on WW2 Marines (who didn't tuck in their ties or "field scarves"), you can see what I mean. It's really hard to tell from pictures of soldiers from WW2 because they would tuck their tie inside their shirt between the second and third button when the service coat is not being worn.
If I wanted to purchase a Revolver, what kind should I get?
The US issue Smith&Wesson Victory Models had a 4 inch barrel and are chambered for .38 Special. The other Victory Models (5 inch barrel and/or chambered for .38 S&W) are Lend Lease guns made for our allies even though they are US Property marked. If you can find a 4 inch barreled .38 S&W, it will still work as a blank firing gun. The .38 S&W cartridge is shorter than the .38 Special but most blank maunfacturers carry blanks for both calibers. The .38 S&W was issued by the British Commonwealth forces and called the .38-200. The US military issued several Colt .38's of different types from the Late 1800's through to the Model of 1908. Also, .38 revolvers were issued to soldiers other than combat troops (Pilots and aircrews, MP's, CID, couriers, Marine Embassy Guards, Air Force Security Police, etc.) up until this day. The Victory Model S&W is virtually identical to the S&W Military and Police (pre-Model 10). Most were parkerized and they had a lanyard loop on the butt. The serial number starts with a "V" (for Victory). Some are marked "US PROPERTY" or "PROPERTY US NAVY". Also Smith&Wesson M1917 and Colt M-1917 .45ACP revolvers were issued in limited numbers as well. An issue M-1917 will be stamped "Model 1917 US Army" on the butt, have "United States Property" stamped under the barrel, and be chambered for .45 ACP. Paratroopers (really any WWII US soldier or Marine) tried to get thier hands on any type handgun that they could. Many carried civilian handguns obtained outside the supply system and captured enemy handguns were popular in the ETO (in the PTO, Japanese handguns were considered a liability rather than something useful).
What is a Class C Uniform
Standard tropical or "khaki" shirt/trousers/tie.
What was the Chaplin's role in the Army?
Although Chaplains held officer rank, they could not command troops in the field. They had no formal military training. Their rank was in a sense honorary. They learned how to be chaplains and not soldiers. They truly were men of God and not men of war.