Original Extensive WWII U.S. Army 1st Ranger Battalion “Darby’s Rangers” Grouping with Documentation- Attributed to Private John Nordland

Item Description

Original Item: One of a kind: This is absolutely one of the best groupings with rock solid provenance attributed to a member of Darby’s Ranger’s we have ever had the pleasure of encountering! Private First Class John J. Nordland, served as a member of the 1st Ranger Battalion (aka Darby’s Rangers”) in North Africa and Italy during the Second World War. This is an incredible grouping, which not only includes Nordland’s Dress Uniform, but also period photographs, additional insignia, copies of orders and paperwork, and his combat-worn field gear and M-41 Field Jacket! This particular set was obtained directly from the veteran in 2002, and has been in the collection of a long time collector until just recently coming to IMA.

The grouping includes the following:

  • Nordland’s uniform coat, or “A-Blouse” as they were often referred to, is unique in that it features “Double Patched” U.S. Made 1st Ranger Battalion Scroll on both the left AND right shoulder sleeves. A set of pinback “U.S.” and Infantry Branch insignia adorn the collar. His ribbons include the Good Conduct Medal, European Campaign with two Battle Stars, and a American Campaign Medal. The Good Conduct Ribbon and ETO Campaign Medal Ribbon are both mounted on the same bar, while the American Campaign Medal is separate (The included photograph of Nordland on his wedding day in 1945 features him wearing this exact uniform with just the Good Conduct and ETO Ribbons). This indicates that the American Campaign Medal was authorized later, and was likely added by Nordland at a later Date. Above the ribbons is a sterling “clutch-back” Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and above the right pocket is a pinback Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, along with a “Ruptured Duck” sewn above. On the left cuff are sewn two overseas bars, denoting a year spent overseas. The jacket is a typical U.S. Issue Jacket, size 38R, and dated January 13, 1942. Nordland’s GI Laundry number is written inside the lining of the jacket at the nape. The uniform in its entirety is exactly the way it came from John Nordland in 2002. Accompanying photographs show an elderly Nordland posing with this exact jacket in front of his home in Albert Lea, Minnesota. The Uniform grouping has been in a private collection ever since.
  • Two original photographs of Nordland posing with the above uniform in front of his home in 2002.
  • Original and 8x10” reprinted photographs of Nordland wearing the exact uniform above on his wedding day in 1945.
  • Bullion Italian-Made 5th Army Shoulder Sleeve Insignia,
  • 1st Ranger Battalion Scroll Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, Brown Letter Variant. Accompanying this rare variation patch are two photographs of Nordland posing with it on the front porch of his home in 2002!
  • 1st Ranger Battalion Scroll Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, US Made
  • Spare American Campaign, Good Conduct, and ETO Ribbons, Ruptured Duck Lapel Pin, St Christopher’s Medallion
  • Paperwork: Copy of Nordland’s National Archives Records Title Page, Copy of Nordland’s Title Page from the WWII Ranger Database, Two photocopied editions of the Ranger Association Newsletter, A Photocopy of Nordland’s Membership Card for the WWII Ranger Association, Photocopy of a 1943 Newspaper Clipping regarding Nordland serving overseas “somewhere in Italy” with the American Rangers, Photocopy of a July 25, 1944 Citation from the 1st Ranger Battalion authorizing Nordland to wear the Distinguished Unit Badge, a photocopy of a March 15, 1944 Citation from the 1st Ranger Battalion authorizing Nordland to wear the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
  • 1942 Edition of Get Tough by Captain W.E. Fairbairn
  • Kutmaster Fighting Knife with Original Sheath
  • Combat Worn M-1941 Field Jacket. This is the “real deal” Stained, tattered, sweat stained… exactly the way one would expect a real worn combat used garment to look!
  • Combat Worn M-1923 Cartridge Belt with M-1936 Field Suspenders. Condition matches the M-41 Field Jacket perfectly. Dirty, field worn. The suspenders have had the webbing taped with medical tape. Numerous field repairs to the belt… exactly as you would expect from an item with heavy field use.
  • GI Issue M-1937 “Special” Pattern Wool Shirt. Sie 14 ½-33. The “Special” designation indicated that this model was made with a gas flap, which is still intact.
  • GI Issue Khaki Necktie
  • GI Issue Leggings, Cut Down. Well used (They match the condition of the M-41 Field Jacket and the Combat Belt Rig). Another GI’s name appears stenciled in the leggings (not uncommon).
  • Enlisted Man’s Private Purchase Visor Cap. Size 7 ⅛.
  • HBT Fatigue Cap

It should be noted that Nordland is listed on the roster of the 1st Ranger Battalion on page 367 in Robert W. Black’s Book Rangers in World War II. In addition, John Nordland’s Obituary from his death in 2006 is still available to view online:

Some of the most sought after material in the field of World War Two collectibles are those associated with elite forces, be it American, German, British, and so on. Within the field of U.S. collecting, items attributed to U.S. Army Rangers are certainly some of the most sought after, and surprisingly the lesser found, of America’s elite forces of WWII. This material does not come up on the market often, especially as extensive as this!

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