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ON4051

Original U.S. WWII 29th Infantry Division M-1941 Field Jacket

Regular price $395.00

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The 29th Infantry Division (29th I.D.), also known as the "Blue and Gray fought in World War II. The division's 116th Regiment, attached to the First Infantry Division, was in the first wave of troops ashore during Operation Overlord, the landings in Normandy, France. It supported a special Ranger unit tasked with clearing strong points at Omaha Beach. The rest of the 29th ID came ashore later then advanced to Saint-Lô, and eventually through France and into Germany itself.

Olive Drab Cotton Field Jacket (also known as OD Cotton Field Jacket, Parsons Jacket, M-1938 or M-1941) was a field jacket used by US Army soldiers, most famously during the beginning of World War II. In 1941 it started to be phased in as a replacement for the wool four pocket service coat, but around 1943 it was replaced in turn by an improved M-1943 model. Due to wide adoption, M-1941 is usually recognized as a symbol of the World War II American G.I.. The jacket was made in a lighter shade of olive drab called OD number 3.

This example is offered in very good condition with intact wool liner, all buttons and only very minor flaws and an small area of fraying on the collar. Features a WWII issue 29th Infantry Division patch on the left shoulder.

History of the M41 field jacket:
When the US entered the war in 1941, the OD cotton field jacket was the standard outer garment for all army personnel, except those that had other specialist clothing (such as paratroopers, who wore the parachutist's coat and trousers (M-1942/43) Tankers, who were issued the famous (and widely sought-after) tankers jacket, or in extreme cold-climate conditions (parkas in cold weather, etc.). As a result, the field jacket could be seen worn in every theater of war and by nearly every type of soldier, making a rather ubiquitous symbol of the World War II American G.I..

Throughout the course of the war, the OD cotton field jacket proved to be an inadequate outer garment. The jacket's thin lining provided poor insulation during cold weather and the light cotton shell provided little protection from wet weather and wind. In addition, the lighter shade of OD 3 faded quickly and resulted in a beige color, thus compromising the effect of camouflage (many troops in the field found this out the hard way, and often turned their jackets inside-out because the wool lining was a darker shade of OD and didn't gleam in the sunlight like the poplin shell did.

The OD cotton field jacket was officially replaced as standard with the adoption of the M-1943 uniform ensemble, which included the much improved M-1943 field jacket. The OD cotton field jacket was redesignated limited standard and issued until supplies were exhausted. Photographic evidence shows that soldiers continued to wear the older jacket all the way through the end of the war, due to supply shortages and squabbling between the Quartermaster Corps, and field commanders who all had their own ideas of what the troops should "look like".

History of the 29th ID in World War II:
The 29th Infantry Division, under the command of Major General Leonard Gerow, was sent to England on 5 October 1942 on RMS Queen Mary. It was based throughout England and Scotland, where it immediately began training for an invasion of northern Europe across the English Channel. In May 1943 the division moved to the Devon–Cornwall peninsula and started conducting simulated attacks against fortified positions.

Operation Overlord
The cross-channel invasion of France finally came on June 6, 1944, D-Day, otherwise known as Operation Overlord, codename for the Allied invasion of Normandy. The 29th Infantry Division sent the 116th Infantry to support the western flank of the veteran 1st Infantry Division's 16th Infantry at Omaha Beach. Omaha was known to be the most difficult of the five landing beaches, due to its rough terrain and bluffs overlooking the beach, which had been well fortified by its German defenders of the 352nd Infantry Division. The 116th Infantry was assigned four sectors of the beach; Easy Green, Dog Red, Dog White, and Dog Green. Soldiers of the 29th Infantry Division boarded a large number of attack transports for the D-Day invasion, among them Landing craft, Landing Ship, Tank and Landing Ship, Infantry ships and other vessels such as the SS Empire Javelin, USS Charles Carroll, and USS Buncombe County.

As the ships were traveling to the beach, the heavy seas, combined with the chaos of the fighting caused most of the landing force to be thrown off-course and most of the 116th Infantry missed its landing spots. Most of the regiment's tank support, launched from too far off-shore, foundered and sank in the channel. The soldiers of the 116th Infantry began to hit the beach at 0630, coming under heavy fire from German fortifications. Company A of the 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry, from the Virginia National Guard in Bedford, Virginia was annihilated by overwhelming fire as it landed on the 116th's westernmost section of the beach, along with half of Company C of the 2nd Ranger Battalion which was landing to the west of the 116th. The catastrophic losses suffered by this small Virginia community led to it being selected for the site of the National D-Day Memorial. The 1st Infantry Division's forces ran into similar fortifications on the eastern half of the beach, suffering massive casualties coming ashore. By 0830, the landings were called off for lack of space on the beach, as the Americans on Omaha Beach were unable to overcome German fortifications guarding the beach exits. Lieutenant General Omar Nelson Bradley, commanding the American First Army, considered evacuating the survivors and landing the rest of the divisions elsewhere. However, by noon, elements of the American forces had been able to organize and advance off the beach, and the landings resumed. By nightfall, the division headquarters landed on the beach with about 60 percent of the division's total strength, and began organizing the push inland. On 7 June, a second wave of 20,000 reinforcements from both the 1st and 29th Divisions was sent ashore. By the end of D-Day, 2,400 men from the two divisions had become casualties on Omaha Beach. Added to casualties at other beaches and air-drops made the total casualties for the Normandy landings 6,500 Americans and 3,000 British and Canadians, lighter numbers than expected.

Breakout
The division cut across the Elle River and advanced slowly toward Saint-Lô, fighting bitterly in the Normandy hedge rows. German reserves formed a new defensive front outside the town, and American forces fought a fierce battle with them two miles outside of the town. German forces used the dense bocage foliage to their advantage, mounting fierce resistance in house-to-house fighting in the ravaged Saint-Lô. By the end of the fight, the Germans were relying on artillery support to hold the town following the depletion of the infantry contingent. The 29th Division, which was already undermanned after heavy casualties on D-Day, was even further depleted in the intense fighting for Saint-Lô. Eventually, the 29th was able to capture the city in a direct assault, supported by airstrikes from P-47 Thunderbolts.

After taking Saint-Lô, on 18 July, the division joined in the battle for Vire, capturing that strongly held city by 7 August. It continued to face stiff German resistance as it advanced to key positions southeast of Saint-Lo. It was then reassigned to V Corps, and then again to VIII Corps. Turning west, the 29th took part in the assault on Brest which lasted from 25 August until 18 September. After a short rest, the division returned to XIX Corps and moved to defensive positions along the Teveren-Geilenkirchen line in Germany and maintained those positions through October. On 16 November, the division began its drive to the Roer River, blasting its way through Siersdorf, Setterich, Durboslar, and Bettendorf, and reaching the Roer by the end of the month.

From 8 December 1944 to 23 February 1945, the division was assigned to XIII Corps and held defensive positions along the Rur and prepared for the next major offensive. The division was reassigned to XIX Corps, and the attack jumped off across the Rur on 23 February, and carried the division through Jülich, Broich, Immerath, and Titz, to Mönchengladbach by 1 March 1945. The division was out of combat in March. In early April the division was reassigned to XVI Corps, where the 116th Infantry helped mop up in the Ruhr area. On 19 April 1945 the division, assigned to XIII Corps, pushed to the Elbe River and held defensive positions until 4 May. Meanwhile, the 175th Infantry cleared the Klotze Forest. After V-E Day, the division was on military duty in the Bremen enclave. It was assigned to XVI Corps again for this assignment.

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