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Young people find it challenging to navigate the history of the Second World War. Almost no WWII veterans left who could have become the voice of events long past. The incredible examples of courage and bravery displayed by ordinary American soldiers are slowly being erased from the population's memory. Our article will allow the young generation to get acquainted with the uniform and personal protective equipment of the U.S. Army during WW2. You will have the opportunity to compare the level of equipment of our great-grandfathers and the modern army. You will understand how high a price our respected veterans had to pay. The military traditions and history of the U.S. Army uniform are a means of transmitting national memory and identity, a reason to be proud of your country and its history. Please do everything you can to ensure that the thread of memory is never interrupted and that the horrific echo of war never reaches our doorsteps.
America maintained a policy of non-intervention until December 7, 1941, when Japanese warplanes launched a powerful strike on the Pearl Harbor military base in Hawaii. The losses of the United States were: 2,403 killed and 1,178 wounded, 18 warships, 347 aircraft. After the asset freeze and petroleum product embargo, Japan was eager to find sources of crude oil in Southeast Asia. To do this, it was necessary to eliminate the influence of America in the region, which she did by destroying the military base. The United States had no chance of remaining neutral in the future. Japan's appetite was only warming up and assumed complete control over the territory. On December 8, 1941, Congress declared war on Japan. Germany and Italy supported the ally and declared war on America. Congress reciprocated. So Pandora's Box was opened, and the United States was involved in ww2.
Two camps were outlined: the troops of the allied powers and the Axis countries. America allied with Britain, France, the USSR, and China. The axis consisted of Germany, Japan, and Italy.
By the beginning of the war, America had 2.2 million soldiers, but only minor divisions were well prepared for combat. An aviation brigade of 1,100 aircraft had a lot of obsolete equipment. And the ships were barely enough to accompany the allied convoys.
World War II occupies a special place in the minds of Americans, not only because of the actions of the army but because of the support of the population. The American nation rallied and worked as a single living organism, concentrating on victory and enduring hardships. The country lived in austerity. Most of the food, gas, and clothing were issued by cards. Women housewives went to work at the machine instead of men conscripted into the army. The whole country collected scrap metal to meet the needs of the front.
Equipment production was set up in the shortest possible time, practically from scratch. Every hour a brand new B-24 heavy bomber rolled off the assembly line. And every week, a ship or a submarine was launched from the shipyard.
America has achieved a leading role in manufacturing aircraft, ships, and weapons in just four years. It surpassed all Axis countries in aircraft production combined - 34,000 B-17, B-29 and B-24. A fleet of 6 thousand ships gave an advantage in two world oceans. Essex-class aircraft carriers and Iowa-class battleships, Gato-class submarines, P-51 Mustang fighter, B-29 heavy bomber, M1 rifle have become the pride of the American military industry.
The United States provided the Allies with tanks, aircraft, ammunition, food, fuel, and money. The total amount of the equipment is equivalent to 4.9 trillion. $ at the rate of 2020. This amounted to 74% of the GDP of the whole of America. About 20 percent of the UK's ammunition came from the United States. As part of the British air force, three flight squadrons with combat aircraft and pilots from America. There were also three squadrons of 30 aircraft in China under the general name "Flying Tigers." They destroyed about 300 enemy aircraft, losing 14 pilots. America carried out naval operations in two oceans, used troops in Europe, Britain, North Africa, and Japan.
Despite the successes in the European direction, the United States suffered significant human losses in the war with Japan. This stimulated Congress to look for a quick way out of the situation. The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki simultaneously destroyed personnel and equipment, shocked Japan, and led to its complete surrender.
Thus, America and the allied forces won a complete victory, ending six long years. More than 16 million Americans fought in World War II, with an estimated casualty of 405,399 killed and 671,278 wounded.
World War II uniforms offered the highest degree of practicality, comfort, and camouflage in different climates and different landscapes. It differed in material, color, footwear and served other purposes. There was a military uniform for the continental climate of America, Europe, and the hotter weather of the Pacific Islands.
The US infantry wore olive wool uniforms in the winter and khaki cotton in the summer. During the ww2 period, the military uniform underwent three changes: adapting to the change in the theater of operations and striving for a soldier's mimicry against the landscape's background.
In 1941, the US Army winter uniform consisted of an olive (OD 33) Mackinaw, Roll Collar, or M1941 Field Jacket with four buttons and four pockets. It was complemented by woolen trousers and a long-sleeved woolen shirt in a shade lighter (OD 32). The shirt could have been chinos in OD32 but could not be worn without a coat. For wearing in combat conditions, the collar under the tie was abolished. The old cut and black woolen tie have been preserved for formal occasions. After 1942, the OD 3 was replaced by the khaki tie for all-season wear. The brown leather belt has been replaced with a fabric belt to save money.
Garrison cap, used in the camp but not on the front lines. The hat was made of olive-colored woolen twill or khaki cotton, edging along the edge of the side flaps. The color of the edging depended on the type of troops. The Soldier's Unit Insignia (DUI) was worn on the left front of the curtain. After 1943, signs were not produced for reasons of economy.
The set was complemented by ankle-length boots made of thick reddish-brown leather. The soles and heels were synthetic rubber instead of the first leather soles. In the early years of the war, canvas leggings protected the legs. But in 1943, they were replaced by boots with leather cuffs and buckles. The Pacific soldiers were given olive-gray canvas jungle boots with high lacing and black rubber soles. In winter, the Continental infantry used the Shoe Pac, rubber boots with felt lining. But they often caused frostbite during periods of observation or rest. In 1944, the M-44 boots, high leather boots with laces, showed the best performance and replaced all previous shoes.
The infantry's summer military uniform consisted of a khaki cotton shirt and matching trousers. After the 1942 invasion of the Philippines, it was replaced by a herringbone twill uniform for better heat dissipation, faster drying, and better protection from insect bites.
In 1943. the shade OD3 was too prominent in the European landscape and was replaced by the darker olive-gray shade OD7. The mold was first designed as a multilayer system. It consisted of an M-1943 jacket with a detachable hood and trousers lined with cotton twill and a warmer winter coat. It could be completed with a warm sweater or insulated linings, depending on the temperature.
There were attempts to introduce camouflage uniforms on the Eastern Front, but the Allies often mistook US troops for German forces and fired them. The camouflage of the Second World War undoubtedly gave the best camouflage but was rejected by the command because of the similarity with the military uniform of Germany.
The M1 helmet made of manganese steel protected from shell fragments was wear-resistant and did not interfere with the view of the area. The helmet has been finished with sand or cork to prevent glare. A camouflage net was included in the kit. The helmet was lined with cotton, impregnated with plastic, which gave shape. The fastening system allowed you to customize the helmet to fit your shape. Note that the helmet was not bulletproof and saved the soldier from light damage.
During World War II, the U.S. infantryman was equipped with a bandolier, a belt with awnings for a pick or shovel, a flask, a backpack, a tent, and a sleeping bag. A cloth bandolier with six pockets, worn with a shoulder strap. It was used for the M1 Garand and M1903 .30 ammunition clips. The M1923 belt had pockets for additional ammo.
The infantry most often used M1 rifles, a Thompson machine gun, a Winchester 189, and an M1911 pistol. The rifles were supplied with a bayonet knife. In addition to weapons, the soldiers carried grenades, cartridges for guns, and provisions. For reconnaissance purposes, individual groups were equipped with night vision devices.
The M1 Garand was the first standard semi-automatic rifle called by General George S. Patton "the greatest combat weapon ever made." This flattering epithet was deserved, as the weapon possessed a rate of fire and accuracy unattainable for analogs.
The Thompson submachine gun is a clear soldier favorite for close combat and urban environments. It was compact, lightweight, and had excellent performance. It was used by everyone from reconnaissance to ordinary privates throughout the war.
The "trench gun" Winchester model 189 was produced in a million copies. It could be attached with a bayonet, and it had a powerful fire and a short barrel, which was ideal for battles in urban settings, trenches, and close combat. It was often used to shoot down enemy grenades in the air.
The M1911 pistol and the M1917 revolver were the most common weapons from 1911 to 1986.
The bayonet-knife for the carbine, Bayonet, U.S. M4, has been in service since 1943.
If the infantryman was not armed with a bayonet knife, he was given a knife. KA-BAR met more often than others. Some marines used it until the war with Iraq.
The MK2 hand grenade was in service with the infantry, had a range of up to 35 yards, but could not penetrate armor. It was used against enemy personnel. A hand grenade launcher was used as an alternative to the hand grenade. The M7 grenade launcher was attached to the M1 Garand rifle and made it possible to replace hand grenades with heavier ones with an increased range of up to 250 yards.
The U.S. infantry during the ww2 could carry a combined weight of equipment and ammunition of up to 60-75 pounds. Crossing rivers, the soldiers often drowned under the weight of the cargo. The warriors traveled thousands of kilometers on foot in the wild heat and frost, often with a limited food supply, sleeping under the open sky. The uniforms were far from perfect. It was torn at points of load, was erased on the elbows and knees, did not dry well, did not repel water, and weighed a hell of a lot. At the same time, the soldier was not protected from shells and bullets. But despite all the difficulties, our great-grandfathers won the war, going through it with dignity and courage.
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