Here’s some cool photos of unique equipment being used by paratroopers of the 509th PIR/PIB. In the first 2 photos it was actually still the 2nd Battalion 503rd PIR, being redesignated to the 509th in route to North Africa. Some of the interesting gear are rifle grenade bandoliers and M1905 bayonets. Then a regular stocked M1 carbine prior to a jump. Not the norm but it was a thing especially early on since the folding stocks weren’t being made yet. Then some pistol grip M1928A1 Thompson action. People only ever seem to remember the 101st and to a lesser extent the 82nd, and forget the that there are a number of airborne units out there. (Not to denigrate them but it does go to show what good publicity will do). Go check out the website for tons more. It’s a pretty deep rabbit hole. 509thgeronimo.org. Most of the good stuff is under the history section.
All have sidearms as weapons were going to be dropped separately. Good shot of an M1903 with M1 Grenade Launcher attached. Rigger made rifle grenade bandolier and ammo pouches. Some have sewn on rank but the sergeant has drawn/painted on chevrons. he also looks to have a Thompson judging but the Kerr sling and lack of a barrel sticking up from behind.
Some good shots custom bandoliers and classic airborne rigger pouches. Interesting seeing the old M1905 bayonets in use, but this early in the war the “M1942” would only just be being produced and the M1 wouldn’t be on the scene for another 2 years.
You can see the leg ties used to hold the bayonet and rope down and the wood grips one the bayonet.
Here is where I snagged these from. the 503rd PIR, 2nd Battalion, Headquarters page.
Theodore Fina has his uniform camo painted and a pistol grip fore end on his Thompson. He also has the stock removed from his M1928 Thompson. Removing the stock and using it from the hip only seems to have been popular with the early paratroopers.
Richard Fisco has what looks to be a home made vertical foregrip one his M1928.