78 years ago today, June 6th 1944, Operation Overlord, or as it is commonly known, D-Day commenced. The largest amphibious operation ever and arguably the most famous battle of World War II among western nations. The battle has been covered so many times and in such detail I will skip the overview and dive right in to the gear.
Below is a general spread of equipment that would have been worn or carried by US troops. I biased it towards the 4th Infantry Division but really it would be applicable to any unit. (Basically what would make this lean towards the 4th is the plain helmet with green 3/4″ netting. The other units like the 29th and 1st tended to have division insignia on them and helmet scrim in some units.)
Starting from the top left we have the M1 helmet, service shoes, M1938 leggings, M1938 raincoat and M1928 haversack.
Below that we have (on the left) the M1941 field jacket, HBT jacket (dark shade) and M1937 wool shirt. Then an M1926 lifebelt. Below that is the M1923 cartridge belt. The shorter M1 bayonet was the norm by this point in the war. They were usually worn on the belt instead of the haversack as they weren’t long enough to fit into the retainer tab. But you still see some men with them on the haversack. The black bag on the right is an E7 carrier for the E6 assault gasmask. (Later redesigned as the M7 and M5).
The bottom has the M1 Garand and waterproof bag (they also came in clear as well). The brown paper item is a gas brassard. K-rations were issued instead of C-rations. Both the M1910 “T handle” and M1943 folding entrenching tools are pictured but the M1943 seems to be the more common from the photos of the operation.
Here’s how it would look all together. There were some variations on this but this it probably the most common look of the day for any American unit. The 29th and 1st divisions seem to usually be without the HBT fatigues while the 4th seems to have had much wider use of them. There are some pictures of men of the 4th Infantry Division with there HBT fatigues even being worn over their field jackets.
This is a great video of some original color footage from the landings and being explained but the guy who actually filmed it.
4th Infantry Division – Utah Beach
29th Infantry Division – Omaha Beach
1st Infantry Division – Omaha Beach