Equipment gasbuddy trip


A few gadgets used by 101st paratroopers on the Normandy invasion jump: in the rear, a detailed map of the Carentan France area, showing Drop Zone ‘D’-this was issued to Fred Baynes of 2/501 in a white cloth bag with British markings on the bag. The M-2 switchblade knife was carried in the upper chest, dual-zippered knife pocket of the M42 jump jacket. This example features brown, picked bone handles and was made by the George Schrade Co. in Bridgeport, CT. It is marked ‘PRESTO’ on

D-Day CRICKET Lore I thought the TT crowd might enjoy seeing this photo of 3 genuine crickets. At left is one of the hoard purchased by Sparky Patterson from a young man who grew-up in Normandy. This guy’s father was employed by the American Battle Monuments Commission and he spent countless childhood hours metal detecting and digging in France. This example has been in a fire and was probably salvaged from the trash pit at the ‘Ghost Ridge’, near the Colleville-St Laurent cemetery.

The example at right was acquired recently from the son of Captain George Lage, 2nd battalion sugeon of the 502 PIR. It is one of the examples made by the ACME Thunderer Whistle Co. in England, nickel-plated and maker-marked. These had been produced for the commercial toy market, prior to the spring of 1944. When American QM personnel asked ACME to manufacture 7,000 more in a hurry, that company sold all the nickel-plated and maker-marked examples they had in stock, then went into speed production and made the balance of the required number out of plain brass, and without any markings. When crickets were issued to 101st Airborne personnel for use on D-day, the maker-marked examples were mixed-in with the more numerous brass ones and there seems to be no pattern, as to who received the ACME- marked examples.

I know that Gene Madison of HQ/501 was issued a marked cricket, as well as Frank Hoffman of E/502. electricity prices by country Both those guys were enlisted personnel. Now we also know that Doc Lage in HQ/2 502 PIR received one as well. I know Mike Detrez has a couple marked crickets with vet provenance in his collection but I don’t know who they came from or which sub-units they are attributed to.

Inevitably, some of the ACME-marked specimens which were sold into the toy market before June, 1944, are in circulation and aside from direct veteran provenance, there is no way to tell them apart from Doc Lage’s. Sparky found an Internet seller in Texas recently, who had a small batch of nickel-plated, marked ACME crickets for sale. Although identical to the one illustrated above, that batch had no connection to ever being used by paratroopers.

Four Original D-Day Crickets A top view of four other original crickets from the webmaster’s collection. Specimen at left was used by Eugene Beach of 2/501 LMG platoon. Specimen 2d from left is from Sgt Bill Knight C/506th, who landed at Ravenoville. Part of the cord with which Bill hung it around his neck for D-Day is still present. The rather large, crude hole in the top was made with a M2 jump knife. electricity lesson plans 4th grade The specimen 2d from right belonged to radioman T-5 Dick Rowles of E/501-It has a rather neat and centered nail hole punched through the top. The specimen at far right was carried by C.C. Moore of F/501, and was polished, in order to discover what it would have looked like when issued.

On the Normandy jump, many individuals stashed all their spare equipment and even their weapons in a British made leg bag as shown above. The bag could be lowered on a 15 foot rope to dangle below the jumper after his parachute opened, so he would be free of the weight of it when landing. However, the vast majority of men who jumped with leg bags in Normandy had them torn-off by the opening shock of their deploying parachutes. The

This daredevil, Dick Knudsen of F/506th jumped into France with a Brit-made leg bag containing his bazooka rocket launcher. gas and water When his chute opened, he didn’t have time to release the bag before hitting the ground. Upon landing several hundred yards from St Mere Eglise, he broke his pelvis. Knudsen laid unaided in no man’s land for several days before being discovered and evacuated. photo c/o Charles Young 439th TCG

Equipment Bundle Light Lights, like the gadget pictured above, were attached to equipment bundles to aid in locating them at night. This specimen comes from Sgt Ed Benecke of A/377th PFA Bn., and note the 3/4" web tape ties original to the piece. A closeup of the nameplate on the same light. This was activated by 2 C-cell batteries, and the contacts were seperated by a piece of cardboard attached to a cord, which pulled the seperator out as the bundle left the airplane. Overall length is about 10 inches.

examples seen in wear by 101st troopers, have clear plastic lenses, but tinted versions for sun protection were also worn. The 101st DivArty medics shown in Holland above, are wearing both types. Ed Hughes of F/501 gave me a set with clear plastic lenses and stated that they were NOT worn on the face during jumping. The main reason they were issued, was that the troopers complained about dust being blown up from the roads when they were riding in the back of 6×6′ trucks. A commonly-seen helmet ornament, especially during Market-Garden, few photos show them being actually worn on the face. vintage photo courtesy Nadine

Here’s a closeup of what the M43 goggles with clear plastic lenses look like. gas arkansas These fragile items are dated 1943 and are made of thin leather with elastic strap construction. The bottom edge is lined with a narrow fleece strip to pad the nose and cheek. These are ink stamped "AO 1943" (made by American Optical co., like many other types of goggles). Because of their fragile construction, worn examples are seldom seen, although cases full of the tinted ones were discovered less than 20 years ago and were frequently seen for sale at collector shows. Not limited to Airborne troops, the last pair I got belonged to a 94th Infantry Division vet.

Eyeshield, M-1-The Missing Link The missing link in gas warfare equipment is the ‘Eyeshield, M-1’, which came 3 to an envelope, in the cardboard container shown above. Of the 3 pr enclosed. one had clear plastic lenses and the other 2 had tinted lenses. As you can see, the directions on the envelope tell what to do in event of a gas attack. It is probable that these kits were issued in, or with the assault gas mask bag, like the paper gas detection brassard. It is also probable that the few which can be seen in wear by 101st troopers in Normandy, were utilized as sunglasses or perhaps dust goggles, as were the M43 goggles.

Various versions of the E&E kit existed but this was the type issued to Paratrooper officers for Normandy. I suspect leftovers were issued to EMs until they ran out. The example shown was issued to CWO Charles Carlsen of the 501 Rigger Section. there is a cloth map of France, showing escape routes to Switzerland, a small steel hacksaw blade in cardboard container, a tiny compass, and (missing) French paper currency. 3 main gas laws The brown kraft paper envelope bears a large red ‘F’for France. Small enough to conceal in a human anus, the compass became known as the ‘asshole compass’. Below is a black and white photo of the hacksaw blade and asshole compass. These are a bit larger than actual.

Sound-Powered Phone This type phone was used on the OPLR (Outpost Line of Resistance), where being quiet was essential to survival. Instead of cranking a handle to generate electricity and ring a bell at the other end, the user whistled softly to alert the soldier at the other end, who always had the phone close to his ear,(in theory). This set-up operated without electronic amplification and was a forerunner to the fiber optic wires used in the 21st century. Note the plastic cupped section over the mouthpiece, to facilitate the whistle alert system.

The actual phone depicted above was retained by Lt. Don Hettrick, who used it at Bastogne, in connection with his duties as a Forward Observer for the 377th PFAB. One afternoon, when Don whistled into the phone to alert a member of his team to relay a fire mission to the Fire Direction Center(FDC), all he heard on the other end of the line was loud snoring.

Compass and Case Most 101st troopers who carried a compass were issued the black metal Corps of Engineers type compass shown above. This was carried in a creosote-treated green canvass pouch, which attached to the lower front of the pistol belt or cartridge belt. The set depicted above was worn throughout WW2 by radio operator Sgt Gordon Yates of Co. H 506th PIR. Yates was awarded the Silver Star for his work during the battle of Opheusden, Holland in October, 1944.

Compass Type M2 The steel compass shown above was intended for use by artillery observers and is of much heavier construction than the Corps of Engineers compass (which was encased in a thin, non-magnetic metal, electrostatically painted black). This larger compass, along with it’s leather carrying case, was salvaged from a fallen U.S. artillery observer (from a VIIth Corps artillery unit in Normandy), by Lt. John Reeder of HQ/506th. Lt. Reeder wore the pouch on the lower front of his suspenders as is depicted on numerous Normandy photos made by his camera.

RIGGER MADE MAP POUCH When not busy packing or repairing parachutes, the Riggers were quite handy at improvising pouches and cases for weapons, ammo, grenades, medical supplies, maps etc. The pouch depicted above was Rigger-made and used from Holland to Austria by Sgt Tom Enright, 1st platoon F/501 PIR. This pouch secures to web belts or suspender loops by a metal hook at the top and by tie laces at the bottom. It contains a leather-edged, acetate insert. npower electricity power cut Sgt Enright added his initial and partial serial number with an ink stamp device.