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"US Paras Uniform - D-Day / Carentan ???" Topic

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DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian28 Oct 2019 9:02 a.m. PST

I note that the Artizan painting guide says that the US Paras at D-Day would be in the brownish uniforms going back to Tunisia and Italy. It also suggest green patches on the knees, etc. Then discusses maybe a mix of Green/Middlestone.

PDF link

The Offense Miniatures, which I just received and are really nice, have those patches, and their Gallery photos appear to be similar to the Artizan guide with green patches and brownish uniforms.


Before starting painting, I thought I would see any there are any comments about this on TMP.

Personal logo jrbatso Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 9:53 a.m. PST

Brownish uniform is correct for Normandy. Not sure of date of change but green is correct for Market Garden and beyond.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 10:13 a.m. PST

The M1942 uniform was worn up to and including the Normandy jump and campaign. As part of the effort to standardize US uniforms the M1943 uniform was adopted by all forces including the airborne. The new uniform was welcome by the airborne forces as the M1942 was widely criticized as having a rather conspicuous color and distinct lake of warmth. Unlike their infantry brethren the airborne completely switched over to the M1943. There was never enough of the new uniforms for the rest of the ground forces and the ubiquitous M1941 uniform could be found up to the end of the war in many units. For me the M1941 sort of screams GI :)

I should add that the airborne modified the standard M1943 uniform by having additional cargo pockets sewn on the trousers. These were usually a slightly different color.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 11:17 a.m. PST

Hmmm, so perhaps my Sicily paras can be used for D-Day as well.

That is excellent news.

Doc Yuengling28 Oct 2019 11:43 a.m. PST

I have my American AB from Aritizan painted with a foundry khaki, with a brown wash.
Knee patches in OD green.
For my AB in Bastogne, I used the Aritizan US in winter coats.
If I was going to be absolutley realistic (eyes rolling thinking of buying another batch of figures), I would paint more in the Olive green (M1943) uniform for Market Garden games. At one point I had a mix of both, but had painted over uniforms for a bunch of figures (30) for a large Normandy skirmish game.

But I would suspect that they may have continued using what uniforms where on hand (M1942 vers 43) Or at least I will use that as an excuse until I get some more painted.

Marc 33594 Thank you for the feedback and comments

I have seen some of pictures of glider troops in what looks like M1941 uniforms with leggings for Normandy.. so there's that. Did they continue the use, until replaced?
The 327th, 325th, and 401st served in Normandy, Holland and Bastogne.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 12:51 p.m. PST


Up to and including D-day US Glider troops wore the same uniform as the infantry to include leggings, wool trousers and the M41 jacket. In July of 1944 the Glider forces received their Glider wings. They were also issued jump boots and given the $50 USD a month bump in monthly pay the paras received. The Glider forces upgraded to the M43 along with the airborne element. This also included the new Combat Service boot M-1943 with its two buckle ankle support. The boots were to replace the beloved jump boots and were not looked on kindly by the airborne. To my knowledge the 3 units above had made the switch over along with the rest of their division by Market Garden so no continued use of the M1941 uniform. Of course for December 44 both airborne and glider used the regular GI cold weather gear.

If a regular unit upgraded to the full m-1943 uniform, other than unit patches (and some helmet markings) and the added cargo pockets the airborne favored, there would be little to distinguish airborne from glider from infantry.

Andy ONeill28 Oct 2019 12:59 p.m. PST

Para 1942 uniform colour is one of those things that's there's more opinions and less proof than you might imagine.

The uniform was a sort of fawn khaki colour which seems to have varied considerably in tonal value and perhaps hue. A sort of stone or pale green are widely considered "valid" as well as tan. This is something people disagree on though. Some people saying no green some saying any green degraded towards brown in the years since ww2. Khaki is an odd colour though and can seem a bit green to some but brown to others

Bright mediterranean sun, low quality dye and variations in washing almost certainly factored.

Surviving high quality colour film of us soldiers shows a huge variation in "uniform" colour of us infantry so likely the same applies to paras.

The re-inforcement patches at knee and elbow were added by company assets and also seem to have varied in tone. A green canvas ( not od ) is usually ascribed.

Veterans liked to differentiate themselves by keeping hold of older lighter faded uniforms.

At least that's what i understand to be the real world story.

Tom Weiss' interpretation looks nice on 28mm


jdginaz28 Oct 2019 3:50 p.m. PST

I've seen several original M42 uniforms the color of those were khaki with a touch of green. A 50/50 mix of Vallejo 988 khaki and 886 green grey is pretty close.

jdginaz28 Oct 2019 3:53 p.m. PST

BTY, they are not Paras they are Airborne.

Fred Cartwright28 Oct 2019 4:52 p.m. PST

BTY, they are not Paras they are Airborne.

US ones are, but Brits are Paras! Like the recce/recon thing just another of the joys of sharing the same language!

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 6:36 p.m. PST

I suspect the green patches were to cover up all the grass stains, on the knees and elbows, which are near impossible to get out of clothing, prior to the advent of ultra-modern detergents.

And, yes, I know about the "Airborne" issue, but paras is shorter to type, and separates them from the glider troops too.

Skarper28 Oct 2019 10:28 p.m. PST

On the Paras/Airborne thing – I thought the PIR were fiercely proud of being paratroopers while the GIR were merely 'Airborne'.

Did the GIR receive the M43 uniforms prior to Market-Garden, or before the Bulge?

Legion 429 Oct 2019 2:15 a.m. PST

As I posted on another thread. In WWII US ABN Divs had both Parachute Troops and Glider borne Troops. Generally it worked out to 2 Parachute Inf Rgts(PIRs) and 1 Glider Inf Rgt(GIR) per Div.

In some cases as in the PTO GIRs became PIRs because of the lack of gliders. The wooden gliders had a very low recovery rate. IIRC the last Gliders in the US Army were used in an FTX in '47 … Then eventually all Inf Rgts in the ABN Divs became PIRs.

Then came the helicopter.

In the Korean war '50-'53 the Helicopter became primarily used for Medevac and Observation. The French in their war in Algeria in the '60s started to use Helos for troops insertions as well. On a small level.

In the early '60s the US ARMY exercised and perfected Air Assault Ops with entire units being carried into battle by Helicopters. And before the unit the 11th ABN [Test] Div was deployed to Vietnam from Ft. Benning, GA. Was reflagged as the 1st Air Cav Div. Then other units like the 101 ABN became an Air Assault Div., as it is today. With all assets being capable of being deployed by helos.

The USMC also does a number of Air Assault operations as well.
And had 2 ParaMarine Bns, IIRC in WWII. But never did any combat jumps AFAIK.

Today the US ARMY 82d ABN Div retains it's airborne status by having all it's elements being able to be deployed by Parachute or Helicopter.
I was fortunate to have been awarded both Parachute and Air Assault Wings. Having graduated from both courses. The Air Assault Wings have sort of replaced the Glider Wings …
[Yeah … I'm bragging ! ]

Also note the US military Jungle Fatigues and later BDUs were based on the first uniform the Army Parachute units were issued in WWII. Pockets, everywhere !

I suspect the green patches were to cover up all the grass stains,
Those were put there at the elbows and knees to reinforce those areas. As those are heavy wear points. Basically to try to prevent getting holes in the uniform which would make it "unserviceable".

I believe Marc and Andy are correct about the WWII Uniforms for the PIRs and GIRs.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2019 6:12 a.m. PST


According to my sources the glider troops received the M43 uniforms at the same time as the airborne elements prior to Market-Garden.


They were to reinforce those areas. You will note on most of the cargo pockets added they too were usually a darker green.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2019 10:41 a.m. PST

Paratroopers, and/or Paratroops are acceptable terms.

Shortened to "Paras" for convenience.

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2019 1:44 p.m. PST

I read about an OSS officer who had completed parachute training at Ft. Benning, and was very pleased that he was thus authorized to wear jump boots in the summer/autumn of 1944. Were other odd units or individuals authorized the use of parachute uniform components?

Yeah, this is the kind of minutiae we love to collect.

jdginaz29 Oct 2019 1:44 p.m. PST

Shortened to "Paras" for convenience.

Don't tell a US Airborne Vet that, those that I'll met wouldn't agree.

Andy ONeill29 Oct 2019 2:29 p.m. PST

My understanding is the patches were purely reinforcement. The original material was fairly thin stuff and had often seen some wear.
Some pockets were also reinforced with a strip.
I dunno about any added cargo pockets.

This representation in the link is in a colour would be hotly disputed by some as too dark and "new". The re-inforcements seem accurate to me though.

Afaik the original design trousers already had cargo pockets.

Legion 429 Oct 2019 3:14 p.m. PST

Were other odd units or individuals authorized the use of parachute uniform components?
AFAIK only those who were/are with an Airborne unit can wear Jump Boots. Was the OSS considered a jump qualified unit ? Maybe … that was one of the ways they could be inserted.

I think you are correct on all that Andy. The patches were for reinforcing as I said.

The original US Paratrooper combat uniform had the cargo pockets on the trou. And 4 pockets on the Jacket. Like the US Jungle fatigues and BDUs. I have seen some photos of some smaller pockets being sown on the sleeves of the jacket. Can't remember where ?

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2019 3:32 p.m. PST

Uniform guide of the 101st, meant primarily for re-enactors, if you read down on pants you will see a discussion of the addition of cargo pockets to the M43 pants. The earlier M42 also had pockets sewn on in addition to the cargo pockets which came with the original pants.


Legion 429 Oct 2019 3:38 p.m. PST

Neat link !

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