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ON7978

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Original U.S. WWII 554th Bomb Squadron B-26 Marauder Painted M41 Field Jacket

Regular price $1,995.00

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is an M41 field jacket worn by an officer during World War II who was assigned to the 9th Air Force, 386th Bomb Group, 554th Bomb Squadron.

The jacket itself features some of the most artistically excellent, stunning and vibrant hand-painted features we have ever encountered on a WW2 jacket. The reason is that a talent artistic did most of the painting. In fact the art is so good and detailed we though it might have been done well after WW2. However, we found a nearly identical jacket in the Imperial War Museum of the UK which can be seen at this link. The IWM jacket is equally as stunning and also signed by the same artist. The artist signed his work HUGO, ST TROND. 1945. Indicating that the paintings on the jacket were done in St Trond, Belgium by the artist named Hugo. Jacket features the following:

- Left Chest: Hand Painted full color 554th Bomb Squadron insignia which features a black panther with blood dripping from his mount in front of a mountain sunset signed HUGO.
 
- Right Chest: 34 Hand Painted Yellow Bombs which indicated successful bombing missions.

- Right Chest: Incredibly detailed Hand Painted B-26 Marauder with tail number 43-34139 with name "Ginnie" at the nose.

- Left Shoulder: Embroidered 9th Air Force insignia patch.

- Epaulets features white embroidered Lieutenant bars.

- Reverse: Incredibly detailed Hand Painted B-26 Marauder with tail number 43-39563. The 544th BS was based in St. Trond Belgium in the Spring of 1945. The art is signed: HUGO, ST TROND. 1945.

We have not been able to identify the owner of this jacket nor either of the tail numbers on the planes. However, the artist work is constant with other know examples and the jacket is certainly from the WW period.

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.

History of the 544th Bomb Squadron:
Activated as a B-26 Marauder Medium Bomber squadron in late 1942, it trained under Third Air Force in southeastern United States. It was reassigned to European Theater of Operations in June 1943, first as part of the VIII Air Support Command, then of the IX Bomber Command in 1944. Engaged in tactical bombardment of enemy targets in Occupied Europe initially from stations in England, after D-Day it moved to Advanced Landing Grounds in France and Belgium, advancing eastward along with the Allied ground. The squadron supported Eighth Air Force strategic bombardment missions over Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe, striking enemy airfields to obtain maximum interference in Luftwaffe day interceptor attacks on heavy bomber formations returning to England. It also participated in Western Allied Invasion of Germany, March–April 1945, combat ending with the German capitulation in May 1945.

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".

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