Paratroop Gear WW2




Howard found this picture of the lay out of a Paratroopers gear from WW2.   I don’t know where it came from originally be we picked it up from

Obviously the belt is heavy modified by riggers.  Its said to be a radio mans gear due to the radio. but I think it may be an officer or Artillery observer, The small radio, from what I understand was about the same as a walkie talkie and was for use inside the smaller units,like and officer calling up his company commander not the one used by the regular radio men


  1. Technically, the name at the time for that radio was the “handy-talkie” because you could hold it in your hand and talk on it.
    The “walkie-talkie” was the backpack-size radio (if memory serves, BC-1000 was one such), so called because one could actually walk around with it, as opposed to earlier models that were not man-packable.

    I would tend to agree with the idea of this being a forward observer’s gear, a Pathfinder attachment, or something along those lines.
    Most infantry (paratroops included) didn’t carry machetes, unless they had a job requiring them to clear out undergrowth–and someone marking drop zones with what could be the signal panel up between the main and reserve ‘chutes might just have that need.

    Likewise, the cardboard cylinders look to be about signal-rocket (or flare) sized; they’re not big enough to be for grenades (hand or rifle), mortar bombs, bazooka rockets, etc.

    This is also a fairly early picture, probably pre-Normandy, in part because of the 16-inch bayonet M1905/M1942.
    Starting sometime in 1943, the M1 (and its cut-down older brother, known nowadays as M1905E1) 10-inch bayonet was issued, and a large proportion of the earlier patterns were recalled to be cut shorter at the arsenals and depots, and the saved or removed material recycled for other war production.
    Airborne troops were usually fanatic about large or bulky items, even to the point of shortening their entrenching tools and requesting a folding stock on the M-1 Carbine, so I have to wonder how likely it is that a paratrooper would be still carrying the earlier, larger, heavier bayonet even after the smaller model was being issued or converted. Especially since he also has the M1918 trench knife and the machete on his belt already.

    Then again, I don’t see a bayonet scabbard, so it’s possible that the bayonet is only there for the layout display, and he didn’t plan to jump with it, since he already had 2 fighting-capable blades.

    Every time I see this picture, I wish someone were making rigger clip pouches like those. Guy’s got 25 en-bloc clips for 200 rounds of ammunition right there on his pistol belt. Considering the standard cartridge belt carried 10 clips for 80 rounds, that’s a heck of a boost, but probably heavy as heck.

    Just wanted to toss in a little input from an occasional and appreciative reader.



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