Items on this page are NOT for sale.
This page will offer basic historical and practical
information on the field gear worn by the US Marines in WWII.
For more detailed and extensive info, I highly recommend Alec Tulkoff's book "Grunt Gear".
The United States Marine Corps used a plethora of different
gear during WWII. In addition to specific gear made for the Corps, an
enormous amount of "Army" gear (both WWI and WWII manufacture)
and uniforms were utilized. This can lead to immense headaches for reenactors
and collectors who are seeking the "correct" combination.
Manufacture: Further muddling the mess, the gear that is "Corps specific" exhibits further distinct variations in and amongst itself. The Marines procured gear both from outside contractors (i.e.: Boyt) as well as made their own "in house" at the Depot Quartermaster at Philadelphia (referred to as "Depot" gear). Depot made gear often uses WWI hardware, distinctly gold or pea green duck canvas and is generally of poorer quality than that made by the regular contractors. This is not terribly relevant for reproduction gear, but it can cause many mistaken assumptions concerning "what's right" amongst collectors.
Markings: I know, all wannabe Marines are obsessed with that pigeon clutching a golf ball logo. It's apparently what makes a Marine a Marine. If that's not around, a nice "USMC" stamp (the bigger the better) is often required to prevent hyperventilation, fits of rage and sexual assault by gangs of horny sailors. Sorry, but one of the signature traits of WWII USMC gear was it's frequent lack of markings. Get over it.
ATF's repros: As rule, I prefer to copy the contractor made gear as it uses identical fabrics and hardware (with a few exceptions) to that of the Army items. The depot made items also suffered from faulty designs (usually fasteners) which led (and would lead to were we to duplicate them) to failures under even moderate use.
Q: Does your USMC gear match? If it doesn't, I will be very unhappy. You don't want that 'cause then I will tell my mother and she will come down there and put out your eyes with knitting needles.
A: Dearest USMC Khakinazi
WWII USMC Fieldgear Details
Early in the War, the M1910 Haversack was worn. Both "US" marked and Marine contract M1910 haversacks exist. The Marine contract packs differ only in their complete lack of markings (no "US" on the flap) but they are otherwise identical to those worn by the Army.
M1936 Field Bag: In 1940, the Marines ordered about 15,000 Army pattern bags, with "USMC" markings on the inside of the flap.
USMC Musette Bag: Known as the "Field Bag", the Marines made some changes to the M1936 pattern. Longer shoulder straps and a different divider were added.
Officially the M1941 Pack System, this was designed specifically for the Marines and replaced the Haversacks in 1943.
Just for fun, the Marines used 4 "patterns" of canteen covers, plus M1910 "army" covers making a total of 5. The 5 styles used are as follows:
1st pattern: Similar in appearance to the M1910 cover, but without the insulation. "Durable" snap closures
2nd Pattern: Same as the 1st, but with Lift-the-Dot fasteners.
3rd Pattern: New, cross flap design with lowered hook. Did not appear in quantity until 1945.
4th Pattern: Same as 3rd, but with an oval drain hole in the bottom.
M1910: Same cover used by the Army. Marked "US".
Unless you're doing a 1945 impression, the M1910 or 1st and 2nd patterns are "most correct".
First Aid Pouches: Again, lots of variety.
M1910: Two snap pouch. Same as used by the Army in WWI and early WWII.
USMC: Similar to the M1910, with the addition of binding tape and 2 eyelets on the back.
M1942: Same pouch used by the Army. Marked "US".
M1910 (T-handle): Both Army and USMC patterns used. The USMC pattern differs only in lack of markings and the shorter Marine pattern belt hook. Additionally, there are some Depot made covers using different 5/8" web and WWI pattern slides.
Camo T-handle Carriers: Some units used field made camo covers manufactured from shelter half fabric. Hardware and details varied.
M1943: Used the same carrier as the Army. No specific USMC model.
M1936: Some Army suspenders were used. No specific USMC model of these.
M1941 Pack suspenders: Made in conjunction with the new pack system. Specific to the Marines. Unmarked.
Same as the Army. The Marines used belts marked "US", USMC" or blank, unmarked ones.
In addition to wearing Army M1928 belts, Marine contract belts existed. They were identical to those used by the Army, save for USMC stamps on the inside (invisible when worn) and closed belt keepers instead of "C" keepers on the rear.
Used both WWI and WWII Army issue belts as well as a with USMC stamped on the back or (rarely) on one flap.
Both "US" marked Army contract pouches and identical ones marked "USMC" or sometimes just an "NOM" (Marine Corps contract number) number on the back.
Both USMC and Army contract 20 and 30 round mag pouches. USMC contract 5 cell pouches for the 20rd. magazines were marked "USMC" and had the posts of the lift the dots mounted about an inch higher so the pouch would hold Reising SMG mags.