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Reinforced Uniforms in WWII
During early airborne operations in North Africa and Italy, the M1942 uniform was found to be lacking in several areas, most notably strength. The fabric is relatively thin (originals were not made from denim as some characters assume) and some seams should have had extra material added. The knees and elbows wore out easily, the pockets sometimes blew out due to the opening shock of parachutes and the single stitch in the crotch seam led to an awful lot of "free balling".

Sometime prior to Overlord, divisional riggers were directed to fix these problems. The riggers of the 82nd and 101st each came up with a similar though not quite identical fix. Heavy olive drab canvas was used to make elbow and knee patches, and reinforce the edges of the cargo pockets. Leg ties were added to the trousers to help compress the bulging hip pockets. Small variations exist in the way they are stitched between the 82nd and 101st, but they are essentially the same. Each paratrooper was to turn in one of his two issue sets for reinforcing prior to the Overlord jumps. Just for fun- the stitching on original reinforcing look like crap- the sewing was done in a hurry, and not by "London tailors". Ours are not sewn as unattractively as the real ones, but just FYI.

What's "correct"? Either uniform or a mix. Many paras did not receive them back in time for the jump, so some had them, others did not. In other words, either style (Standard, reinforced, or a combination) is correct for the period.

506th Jackets: Many troopers went further and added extra pockets (both inside and out) to their jackets so they could carry more stuff. Pockets were cut from old uniforms and stitched (often by hand) to the jacket they were going to jump in. We copied one of the more common styles, and added pockets to the upper sleeves. This was not exclusive to the 506th (nor did everyone in the 506th do it)- it was simply an easy way to name it.

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