Painting US Airborne troops
Painting US Airborne troops
The M1942 Uniform
The design included features such as pockets cut on the diagonal to allow easy access while wearing webbing equipment and large, expanding, bellows style leg pockets that became a trademark of the wartime US airborne trooper. The M1942 uniform was used only by Paratroopers and wasn’t issued to Glider troops. The Paratroopers taking part in combat jumps in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Normandy wore this uniform and even one battalion that jumped during “Market Garden” in Holland was still wearing this uniform.
This uniform was made from light cotton that was a pale greenish-tan colour and I must admit to spending an awful lot of time experimenting to achieve, what I hope to be, the closest match possible.
I don’t usually mix different colours to achieve my basic uniforms but this uniform, unfortunately, seems to defy any single colour in the entire vast Vallejo range. Eventually I settled on a mix of Middlestone VP882 + 20% US Dark Green VP893.
The other colours I chose are:
The M1942 uniform was practical to wear in combat when it was warm but it offered no protection from the elements when the weather turned nasty. Also, being made from lightweight cotton, the knees and elbows tended to wear out quickly so many an airborne trooper bribed his unit parachute rigger to sew patches over the elbows and knees. The material commonly used for this was cotton duck from old parachute packs and was olive drab in colour.
I’ve painted patches on the elbows and knees of this figure over an otherwise standard M1942 uniform with US Dark Green no.893. You could even mix these with “unpatched” troopers for a bit of variety.
The Glider borne troops were basically standard infantrymen who woke up one day to find themselves called Glidermen, there were no calls for volunteers here!
With a job equally as dangerous as their Paratrooper brothers they were denied the extra “jump pay” until just prior to the “Market Garden” landings when, finally, they achieved official recognition of the hazardous nature of their job. The uniform worn by these intrepid airborne soldiers was almost exactly the same as the “leg infantryman”.
The only allowance for airborne duties was the issue of jump boots to some fortunate troopers and other than that this figure has been painted as an ordinary infantryman in the M1941 uniform.
The colours I chose are:
|The M1943 Uniform|
After the US Airborne forces were withdrawn from Normandy they were refitted and brought back up to strength ready for the next mission. This included the widespread issue of the brand new M1943 olive drab uniform to the veterans of the 82nd and 101st divisions. This wasn’t just a paratroop uniform but the beginning of the US Army’s push to standardize the combat uniform. All airborne units received the M1943 uniform, even the Glider troops, but the paratroopers were quick to modify theirs by adding bigger leg pockets.
The new airborne divisions arriving fresh from the States already wore this new uniform and it was the uniform seen dropping from the sky, or climbing out of a glider, during “Market Garden” in Holland and “Varsity” over the Rhine and into Germany proper.
This figure is painted as wearing the new M1943 olive drab uniform. The uniform colour I used is US Dark Green VP893. The rest is the same as for the earlier paratroop uniform colours details.
as the US Army used pretty much the same colour of Olive drab on everything.