Original 502 photographs
A good selection of wartime photographs of the 502; both pre Normandy jump and from in Normandy.
The 502 was visited by Eisenhower whilst the troopers were preparing to get all their kit sorted. He had his usual following of officers, officials and cameramen. So this moment was well captured. As luck would have it, the troopers in some of these can be identified as 2nd Battalion. The 2nd Battalion was identified by the bandage tied around the left shoulder through the epaulette. This is the same unit that we represent; a very easy and good attention to detail is this identify marker.
Another photo from the same event, there will be a few of these. Showing the use of felt shoulder pads on the M1936 Suspenders, Rigger Pouches, Gas Mask Bag, Gas Brassards. Also oddly the trooper at the far left can just be seen wearing a cartridge belt.
Below - contains a nice photos of a GP Bag being worn on the front, as well as two vastly different examples of the amount of scrim worn. Also a jump rope can be seen at the front left.
A nice handy photo for reference for a back shot. Showing items in the musette bags, like the folded raincoat front left, spoon sticking out the small side pocket, the trooper at the far right has so much in his pack that looks almost solid that it sticks right out from his back and looks really uncomfortable. A British Hawkins mine can be seen on his leg. One thing these 502 photos show very clearly is that all helmets had nets and scrim.
As well as every helmet having nets and scrim, it soon becomes clear from photos like this that almost every trooper has the felt shoulder pads on them. If not everyone did. 4 sets can be seen out of the troopers in this photo alone...
The next few photos start to show the guys before the go on the planes, doing the finally adjustments and adding of harnesses and chutes.
The above photo shows a junior officer and is a fantastic guide on what I should be aiming for and how exactly to wear it. Sadly I have no idea what is worn on the reverse as photographs just don't work like that! However there would certainly have been a canteen, first aid pouch and possible the a set of wire-cutters that were fairly often worn by officers or Senior NCOs. Interesting to see a Rigger pouch being worn sideways on the suspender strap. A really odd thing is that his binocular case has had the long strap removed and they seem to just be floating in place. The case does have a loop on it for wearing on a belt, but that is nowhere even close be being in the right place to be on his M1936 Pistol Belt? So rather puzzling. I will have to have a play with mine and see if I can work out how exactly he has done that. However, it is a great guide for a 502 junior officer to start with.
I'm sure the above comes from that video footage taken of the 502nd, showing some interesting little details. The one trooper has his chemical eye shields on his helmet and the trooper at the front has what I suspect may be det-cord on the outside of his helmet.
Below shows the 502 after capturing some German large calibre gun. None of them are carrying their musette bags, so we can assume that they have been dropped somewhere safe. The kit worn seems minimal and effective for combat. All the extra bits like drop ropes, gas mask bags and probably the E-Tools too have been dropped. Yet the trooper front left seems to be carrying around an .30 cal ammo can.
The colour photo above shows the troops from one of the 101st medical units being transported by jeep. Still being worn are some rubberized gas mask bags and one trooper has a pair of eye shields on his helmet.