This is a brief presentation designed to show some of the basic types of uniforms worn by U.S. Army soldiers. A couple of the more common specialist's uniforms are also included. It is not a complete display of all uniform types, but should give guidance in identifying the general appearance and key elements of Army uniforms of the era.
Summer Fatique Uniform Tropical Combat Uniform Summer Service Uniform

1. Summer Fatigue Uniform

A loose fitting jacket, trouser, and hat combo made of herringbone twill weave that was worn for chore work. The green HBT uniform replaced blue denim uniforms used for the same purpose. Fitted large, the jacket and trousers were often worn over other garments for protective purposes. The hat was later dropped in favor of a cap.

2. Tropical Combat Uniform

This is the same herringbone twill weave uniform shown in figure 1 except worn with the protective M-1 helmet. The HBT fatigue uniform did double duty as a warm weather/tropical combat uniform for lack of a better alternative.

3. Summer Service Uniform

Cotton khaki shirt and trouser combo worn in warm and tropical climates. Early uniforms included a brimmed hat. The shirt could be worn with a tie as shown, or with an open collar. Enlisted Men's shirts did not have shoulder loops.

Class B Field Uniform Temperate Zone Combat Field Uniform M-1943 Combat Field Uniform

4. Class B Field Uniform

Wool shirt and trouser combo worn in temperate weather conditions. Note the shirt collar is worn open for field wear. Laced khaki canvas leggings were worn to protect trouser and shoe openings. Later, the combat service boot with integral two buckle leather leggings appeared to replace this system.

5. Temperate Zone Combat Field Uniform

This is the wool shirt & trouser combo shown in figure 4 with the addition of a field jacket worn for warmth. Beginning in 1941, the olive drab field jacket replaced the wool service coat for campaigning. The field jacket concept was vastly improved with the introduction of the M-1943 Field Jacket - see figure 6.

6. M-1943 Combat Field Uniform

Water & wind resistant jacket and over-trousers for combat field wear. Note the jacket's longer length, darker color, and greater pocket area than the field jacket shown in figure 5. This jacket was much more durable and offered better protection against the elements than the old.

Field Uniform with Winter Coat Field Uniform with Winter Overcoat Winter Combat Field Uniform

7. Field Uniform with Winter Coat

Wool shirt and trouser combo worn with a heavy, blanket lined mackinaw coat for warmth. Early versions of this coat had a waist belt and shawl collar. Note the coat's light color; later this was darkened to olive drab shade 7, the shade of the jacket shown in figure 6, for better concealment qualities. This man also wears the knit wool cap, which was worn alone or under the M-1 steel helmet in cold weather.

8. Field Uniform with Winter Overcoat

Pictured is a heavy, full-length overcoat worn for maximum protection from the cold. It had a partial lining and relied on heavy 32 ounce melton wool to provide warmth. By 1944 the overcoat was replaced for field use by more advanced designs. Nevertheless, in 1944-45 it was pressed into combat in the ETO due to clothing shortages. The large double row of buttons, bearing the seal of the United States, were either gilt bronze or in later examples made of plastic to conserve metal.

9. Winter Combat Field Uniform

A three-piece uniform consisting of a jacket, overalls, and helmet. Construction consisted of a water repellent cotton twill outer and heavy wool lining. The jacket had an elastic collar, cuffs, and waistband to keep the wind out and retain body warmth. This uniform was originally developed for tank crews. Because of its warmth, the jacket became a popular item, being acquired and worn by all types of troops.

Ski Uniform Mechanics Uniform Parachute Jumper Uniform

10. Ski Uniform

This Ski Trooper wears the fur-trimmed reversible parka and white ski trousers for camouflage. Made of wind resistant and water repellent poplin, the parka was a pull over with a green side and a white side for camouflage in surrounding terrain.

11. Mechanics Uniform

A one-piece protective suit made of herringbone twill. These suits evolved with several different pocket arrangements and appearances. They were worn by various troops whenever the nature of work exposed their regular clothing to excessive soiling or tearing surfaces.

12. Parachute Jumper Uniform

A two-piece uniform consisting of coat and trousers to be worn over other clothing. The coat had 4 large expanding pleat pockets and an integral belt, while the trousers had two large, flapped cargo pockets on the side of each leg. The cotton twill used to construct this uniform proved to be too light for its intended purpose. As a result, to prevent tearing, these uniforms were often reinforced with elbow and knee pads, as well as pocket edging.

Jungle Combat Uniform Officer's Summer Service Uniform Officer's Winter Service Uniform

13. Jungle Combat Uniform

Depicted is a complete jungle uniform showing the camouflage one-piece suit, mosquito net helmet cover, mosquito protective gloves, and canvas boots. In use, the one-piece suit proved too hot and cumbersome to be effective for tropical combat use. Therefore, it failed to replace the two-piece herringbone twill uniform shown in figure 2.

14. Officer's Summer Service Uniform

A cotton khaki shirt and trouser combo for wear in warm & tropical climates. Similar in appearance to the Enlisted Man's uniform in figure 3, the officer's uniform can be identified by the shirt's shoulder loops and the trouser's rear pocket flaps (not shown).

15. Officer's Winter Service Uniform

The Army officer's winter service uniform was very distinctive for its "Chocolate" colored wool olive drab shade 51 jacket and contrasting "pink" drab shade wool trousers. Note the integral cloth belt; in early 1942 the Army switched to this belt from the leather Sam Browne belt and shoulder strap.

Front Cover of Uniform Pamphlet MORE ABOUT THESE IMAGES

These uniform images are from a pamphlet entitled "How to Recognize the Armed Forces of the United States". It was published in the French language and was intended to help Europeans readily identify United States servicemen through illustrations of the uniforms they were wearing. Also included were close-ups of insignia worn by the Army, Navy, and Marines. It was produced and distributed in the 1940's by the War Department Office of the United States Government.

Period materials are a good source of information to help understand and view accurate images of the uniforms and clothing worn by U.S. troops during WWII. These types of materials were plentiful during the time. As millions of men and women joined or were drafted into the armed services, all types of publications appeared to help citizens recognize and identify the various uniforms. There were magazine and newspaper articles, numerous small inexpensive books, and official publications, such as this, all to help the citizenry know who was who. These publications can still be easily found today in antique malls, resale shops, and online auctions.

The front and back covers of this pamphlet appear to the left and right respectively.

Back Cover of Uniform Pamphlet