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What is the best way to apply a stencil to my helmet?
Take a look at Mark Bando's Trigger Time web site first. I always encourage doing some research first. There is an excellent sample on page 2 of the gear section that shows several original helmets. We shoot for the earlier (Normandy) style as a standard, so in looking at samples realize that later war (Market Garden jumps) showed helmets with somewhat smaller diamonds. This is consistent throughout the 101st. The 501st diamonds were basically squares turned on their sides and are about 2-1/2 " tall. Lay out three or so rows of the masking tape with the edges overlapping about 1/2" on a hard surface (I use a piece of glass, wood will do). Be sure and make it with space around the diamond maybe 7" x 7". Take a Sharpie and a ruler and draw out your diamond in the middle, and use a center line. Make the about 2-1/2" tall. Set your tick mark at 9 o'clock. Make it 1/2" square. It should center to the left tip of your diamond. Cut the stencil along your Sharpie lines with an xacto hobby knife. Remove the inner square and the tick mark. Slowly peel your outer stencil away. With the helmet resting atop a spray can or other prop, lay the back edge lower than the front as though it were being worn. Center your stencil points directly above the center point of your chin strap bale. The lower tip should be about 3/4" above the helmet brim. Stick down the stencil making sure that the top point of the diamond is centered above the lower tip. Just press it down in the areas immediately around the holes in the stencil. Take newspaper and tear a sheet in a few smaller pieces and use these to mask the remaining edges of the helmet using the tape from your stencil. I use Tamiya TS-3 Olive Drab for my helmets. I like to use Model Master camo grey spray paint for the diamonds. It's not pure white and doesn't look so stark. Shake the can, spray it from about 10" away from the helmet and just mist it. Keep the can moving. You don't want a hard perfect finish, you really want something a bit less stark. A few passes should be enough. Let dry about 5 minutes and peel away your stencil and paper mask slowly. I use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process and then move to the other side. After it all dries over night, I like to like buff the new stencil VERY LIGHTLY with a small ScotchBrite pad just to pick up the cork texture underneath and give it a field look. Don't rub from the stencil onto the Olive Drab though because it will ghost the Olive Drab. Just lightly rub the stencilled area.
What is an adapted ETO Class A Uniforms
Standard tan/khaki shirt/trousers/tie with wool IKE jacket PLUS wool garrison cap DO NOT CONFUSE THIS SET WITH THE COMMONLY WORN OFFICER'S "PINKS" & GREENS set! Remember as well that officers had many more options with the Pinks & Greens and Chocolate sets which allowed many mixed combinations. Photo documentation shows a regimental size photo of 505th paras post Normandy and they are all wearing their tan/khaki shirts with the standard wool IKE jackets. I think David Mann came up with this one.
What type of stencil goes on the helmet?
The airborne/glider assault units had what amounted to a deck of cards as the symbols for the regiments. The 501st does have the diamond while the 327th glider had clubs on the side of their helmets. Each regiment in the 101 and most other supporting units assigned to the 101 had helmet stencils. Artillery had a circle (ala canonball), the 326th Engineers had an E, and 101 HQ had a square. In addition to the stencil, they also had a tick mark at 12, 3, 6, or 9 o'clock around the stencil signifying which Battalion they belonged to. 12 is HQ, 3 is 1st Bat, 6 is second Bat (like Easy company), an 9 is third Bat. Since we portray I (or Item) company, we would be 3rd Bat and you need a tick mark at 9 o'clock on both of the diamonds on the sides of your hemet. Note: this means one is towards the front of the helmet and one is towards the rear. Check out Mark Bando's webstie at www.101airborneww2. com for more info on the 101st.
What is considered a correct period shelter half (pup tent)?
Here are some things to consider: 1. If the halves fasten together with buttons (NOT snaps), then it is appropriate for late WWII - 50s. The double-ended shelter half (the one with triangular extensions at each end) appeared in khaki by sometime in '43, I think. By late 44-45, the same item was being made in dark OD. 2. Poles for a WWII shelter half were three-section, either hinged or held together with pins and metal sleeves. By sometime in 1945, poles were being produced in single sections, with each soldier being issued three sections for his half of the shelter. I have no idea if the single section poles were painted or not. I've never seen a WWII three-section pole that was painted. Also by sometime in 1945, metal tent pins were being produced, although I don't yet know what they looked like. I've only seen a reference to FM 21-15, April 1945, referring to both pins and poles. 3. If you can see one patch on a tent section, you might want to open the package and look at the whole thing, if the dealer will let you do so. Never hurts to know what you're buying if you get the chance. 4. As a substitute, you might check Sportsman's Guide. They have some button-together Dutch shelter halves from the 1950s-60s that are reasonably close to a late WWII - Korea US model. I got one a couple months ago - came with painted aluminum single-section poles, two tarps, and metal pins - all for about $12 and in very decent shape. However, before going with the Dutch tent, better check with the 1st SGT or others about acceptability, since it's not USGI. I have paid around $15 each for my postwar (snaps instead of buttons like WWII) shelter halves. If it's serviceable (and a spray or two of Scotchguard never hurts) this is a good price. Be sure even if the rope loops around the edges aren't present that the loops are not torn through so you can add them. Be sure and get (or make) 12 WWII wooden tent pegs though. The modern steel/aluminum ones really don't fit a period look.
What types of handguns would a trooper cary?
The most common issue handguns in the US military in WW2 besides the M-1911 were the S&W Victory, the M-1917s (both Colt and S&W), the Colt model 1903 .32ACP (issued to General Officers), and a few Colt .38 Detective Specials issued to cloak and dagger types. Very early in the war, many different civilian weapons were bought by Uncle Sam straight off the shelves; this included handguns. Most of these civilian weapons were declared "Limited Standard" and were used to equip guards at installations stateside (both military and civilian) and even to equip State Guard units after the National Guard was activated. There were many privately acquired handguns carried by US troops in WW2. Any pre-1941 civilian handgun could be considered as an unauthorized weapon. Also, since the 501st was stationed in England before Normandy, it is conceivable that an enterprising trooper may have traded for an Webley or Enfield revolver or maybe even a Browning Hi-Power (Inglis made). Remember that few Paratroops (except for officers and crew-served weapons men) were issued sidearms. Most were obtained by midnight requesitioning or by private purchase.
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.
What are the difference types of barrel bands on the M-1 Carbine?
Buying a early barrel band can be a bit pricey. Another alternative is to take an existing band with the bayonet lug and use a hacksaw to remove it. I did that with mine, it is easy. Also if you ever want the bayonet lug, buying one with the lug is quite a bit cheaper.It’s my understanding that the bayonet lug indicates the early models made a trip back to the arsenal for refitting. According to Jane’s, All M2 and M3 models came with the lug, as well as many M1 and M1A1 models. My understanding has always been that occurred in very late in the war. III barrel bands were a very late feature. According to Bruce Canfield only a very few late production carbines left the factory with Type III barrel bands (mostly from Inland and Winchester). A rounded bolt was something fitted to carbines post-war. It was developed for the M-2 to strengthen the bolt for full auto fire. Other features commonly changed on carbines during rebuild were the rear sight and the safety. Look up Canfield's book " U. S. Infantry Weapons Of World War II" for a wealth of info about the carbine and other US weapons. Only Inland made the M-1A1 "paratrooper" folding stock version of the carbine.
Are the jump trousers worn higher or lower on the waist?
The 40's style (and later) was wearing trousers at the waist. These combat and dress uniforms are NOT worn like todays jeans, on the hips. I personally think that's why the IKE version (shortened jacket) looks so good and makes us all look taller. I also think that's why so many guys rip the crotches out of their M42 jump pants, they are wearing them too low, and usually without suspenders so the first time they crouch - RIIIIPPPP!!!!!
What is a Standard ETO Class A Uniform?
Standard OD wool service uniform with either 4 Pocket or IKE style jacket PLUS wool garrison cap
How do I get my boots broken in?
All I did with mine was hit them with coat of saddle soap and wear them for 4 nights at home. I have extremely flat feet and I'm famous for having new shoes hurt my arches (or lack of) so I threw in a set of the gel inserts and I honestly have never had a more comfortable set of boots nor ones that broke in as quickly. That following weekend I was at my first tactical with no issues of soreness at all.