101st Shoulder Patches

There are so many myths and variations of the airborne patches, I thought it only fair that they get there own page, lets start with the 101st Infantry Division Patch. The first and most important thing to know is that there are over a dozen different manufactures of wartime time patches. These were made in the US and in the UK, most have minor differences, other have some big differences. All, however are correct in that you would simply be issued a patch, or you could purchase spare patches from the PX. The type 8 was made under instruction of one officer and he had enough made for every officer at that time to purchase some. Eventually the left overs went down the ranks to the other troopers. Richard Winters wore this type of patch, it is very distinctive.

Don't forget you'll need more than just one of these, one on your M42 Jacket, one on your shirt and if you plan on getting an A-Class to wear in the evenings... or getting married in like I did, then you'll need another for that too! The don't all have to be the same type, you can mix and match, or if you want them all to be the same, that's fine too!

To make things easy. I will use the same letters that the best manufacturer of reproduction patches uses to identify each patch. That being GreenArmyProducts

EXTRA EXTRA.... when you see this, you know you've all not been paying attention or reading the website properly.

Right... back to basics, if you have a patch already. Unless it is either an original or from Green Army Productions, it is almost certainly 100% shit. Best case situation is that it might be good enough to go on a spare shirt. If you don't understand the difference between a good copy and a crap one then I can only advise you to start doing some research, 'Eagle Patch Corner' on the 'Bando' website is a good starting point, then to buy a book on them which does highlight all the minor differences. Or wait until our own books is finished and published as it includes the information and more that you'll need. You can ask me if a patch is OK and I will simply tell you, "yes" or "burn it", but I am not going to go into the minor points of eyes, beak shape, neck size when you have the information you need; it is usable or it is not. 

So when you need a patch, do not repeatedly ask "is this one OK" and link every reproduction company in existence or every patch on eBay.... you have 2 options (yes I'm being a big meanie)
1. BUY FROM Green Army Productions (not a type 8)

2. Learn the differences between fakes, reproductions and wartime originals and then, and only then; buy an original. Just because a dealer says its original... doesn't make it so.

A (220) - British made 


This patch is made of cotton thread, embroidered on black wool felt. Black linen is used on the back. 

C (222)


This patch is made of cotton thread, embroidered on cotten canvas.

B (221) 


Made of cotton thread, embroidered on cotten canvas.

D (223)  


Made of cotton thread, embroidered on cotten canvas.

E (224) 


This patch is made of cotton thread, embroidered on cotten canvas.

F (225)   


Made of cotton thread, embroidered on cotten canvas. See notes on 'White Tongue'

G (226) 


This patch is made of cotton thread, embroidered on cotten canvas.

I (226) 


This patch is made of cotton thread, embroidered on cotten canvas.

H (227)   


Made of cotton thread, embroidered on cotten canvas. See notes on 'White Tongue'

J (227) - aka type 8   


Made of cotton thread, embroidered on black velvet.

White Tongues

Firstly and most importantly, "NO, they are not Pathfinder patches!", they were not specially made for Pathfinders, they do not make you a Pathfinder, they are not a special Pathfinder patch and secondly "NO, they are not Pathfinder patches!" 

I hope that cleared that up a little. With that being said, some Pathfinders I'm sure would have been given a white tongued patch, also so was plenty of non-Pathfinders. This was simply an error on the part of one British manufacturer who ran out of red cotton and used white instead. Yes, it's a simple as that. This odd variant was created by a simply problems of stock control, later on pink tongued versions would also appear, these were also NOT a special patch for any other elite unit. They were not 101st Intelligence patches, they were also not only issued to the guys who handed out the mail. I'm hoping I'm making all this pretty clear :) It's one of those nonsense things that dealers who have lots of one item they can't sell make up to make this weird variant, suddenly seem interesting, exciting and suddenly worth more money! This happens a lot when dealing in militaria, be-wary of the sellers who use phrases like "super rare prototype model" as that usually means, something that isn't right, but looks like something wartime that we all recognise. Any way, we're drifting off topic. If you re-enact 101st, or want to re-enact 101st then any of the patches above are great. If you are join us, then try and find something that nobody else has a version of, two many of the same unusual less commonly seem patches looks odd too. Or play it safe and order anything that looks something like 'C' or 'I', Green Army Products clearly isn't the only place to get 101st patches, but I kid you not when I tell you they are the best. I am weirdly obsessed with the patches I have got from them.

Garrison Cap Patches

Now this only a recent decision in our unit to all wear the early and lets face it nice and more popular (both then and now) blue parachute patch. Not the combined Parachute and glider patch that no paratrooper was happy about wearing, after all the gliders were loving name 'death crates', Parachutist were known to draw cartoons of crashed gliders with the occupants all dead on the ground. So when this combine patch was requested to be worn by all members of the 101st, it was first ignored by most paratroopers, it wasn't until August 1944 that is was ordered to be worn instead of the old one. Even then some troopers still managed to stay under the radar and didn't change. Others took a dim view of the patch and would wear it not level, so it looked like the glider was plummeting straight towards the ground... such was the view of these planes!

Even the early blue Parachute Patch came in a series of variants, not including the red ones for field artillery. It came in a nice felt type, type A in both light blue and type B which came in the normal light blue and an odd looking dark blue. Although this looks very wrong, it was both made and worn. However if you opt for this dark blue patch, expect to be answering questions about its colour for ever more. I can almost guarantee that nobody will believe you it was worn war time, they are sure to tell you its wrong and probably that it never existed! So be warned


Left - Felt version
Bottom Left - Type A
Below - Type B dark and light, note the shape in the parachute has slightly changed


In case you're very new to militaria, each garrison cap only gets one of these patches. I am going to cause lots of trouble here, but there is no correct side to put the patch. I know... shock horror, what did this heathen just say! What rubbish, I know your thinking. You probably think that every re-enactor I have ever seen always wears it on the left side (the side without the fold), they all probably told you that's where the patch goes and the biggest fable, 'only officers wore a patch on the right side' half of the enlisted soldiers who put a patch on a cap did indeed put it on the left hand side of the cap... its just a shame that the other half put it on the right! Have a look at period photographs, in fact I will include some as I can only imagine the hate mail I will get for saying things like this. In fact... once my new patch arrives, I'm putting it on the right side of my enlisted-mans cap... just to spite all you non-believers!

Ignoring the officers who almost always wear it on the right side of the cap. The middle photo is PFC and its the early patch on the right.

Cpl McGahan - Right side of the cap

Pfc Almeida - Right side of the cap

Pfc Armentrout actually wears it on the left side! The photo is reversed, note the fold is on the opposite side, verifying that this isn't just a weird cap. His jump wings are also on the wrong side of the coat. So when viewing wartime pics for things like this, make sure the photograph isn't reversed :)

Trooper Morass - patch on the right side again.

Sgt Parsons Sr - also wears the patch on the right side of the cap. A variety of ranks and a mixture of different units in the 502nd. These are not unique to the 502nd, or the 101st. These can be found right across all units.


Pathfinder Patch

Firstly 'NO IT DOESN'T HAVE A WHITE TONGUE!' There is one other airborne patch that I need to mention and that is the Pathfinder Patch. However, this was not on any combat jacket, so don't go getting all excited before you know what it is. This patch was awarded to those who jumped into the Normandy Campaign as a member of a Pathfinder team. Some Troopers were assigned to these at the last moment and although not trained in any sort of Radar signalling, they were there as more of a support/security role, they still were awarded and eligible to wear the patch.

Again, our friend at GreenArmyProducts makes three versions of these as like all the other Airborne patches, there were even variations of even the rarest patches!

These were worn on the lower left arm, just above the overseas service stripes. It was not just sewn on like the big rectangular patch shown right, it was trimmed around the design, how close depended on the individual.

Note - this is only for reference... WE ARE NOT PATHFINDERS!


Rank Patches

Rank patches are worn on the combat M42 jackets and the A-Class. When you first join the unit you will most likely be a regular straight out of basic training private. Which does have some advantages as you won't have to do any sewing of rank chevrons, which is a pain as it can take a couple of attempts to get them properly level and looking good! Rank chevrons can be found in both reproduction and originals. The reproductions are like everything else... very hit and miss. However, originals of most lower rank chevrons can be found if looked for and usually for the same price as good reproductions. Depending how lucky you get of course. For really good chevrons its always worth contacting GAP and asking what they have in stock, are planning to remake or even can make! if you ask nicely enough!