U.S. Military Web Belts in World War II
The cotton web belt was a standard part of the uniform for the U.S. Army as well as the other services from 1937 onward. Web belts went through the same color changes as other World War II web gear, from khaki to OD #3 to OD #7.
U.S. Army officer wearing trousers with Belt, Web, Waist, Officers.
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U.S. Military Web Belts in World War II: Enlisted Men
Belt, Trousers, Cotton Webbing, Khaki with Enlisted Men's Open Face Buckle
Inset shows buckle detail.
The M1937 khaki web belt was used by Army enlisted men with all types of trousers. It had an open-face buckle of blackened metal, a tip of the same metal, was 1.25 in. wide, and lengths up to 60" can be cut to fit. The open face design was abandoned after WW II and the enlisted men used the same solid buckle as the officers after the mid-1950s.
Belts made during World War II are ink stamped with markings, "U.S.", then "JQMD 1943" in smaller letters, then the size printed at a right angle next to buckle (see photo,left). Of course the date and size will vary with the belt.
U.S. Military Web Belts in World War II: Officers
Officers used the same web belt, but with a different buckle and tip. During World War II the officer's belt had a solid faced buckle, with an adjustment bar that held the belt in one position. The same belt color was used with all uniforms, from summer khaki to winter dark OD wool. The buckle was gold colored metal, matching the belt tip.
Both the officers and enlisted mens' buckles had two simple mechanisms. A clamp held the buckle to the end of the belt and a second device held the belt closed when worn around the waist. With a new web belt, the end of the belt without the metal tip could be cut off to a length about six inches greater than the actual waist size, then clamped to the buckle. The complete belt then ran from the finished metal tip to the buckle. When the tip was slipped into the buckle and pulled through, a second clasp would hold it an any position so it could be tightened around the waist to fit exactly. The clasp for the officers' belt was a knurled bar in the back of the buckle, while the EM buckle clasp was a simple claw frame.
Brig. Gen. John Reed Kilpatrick, Commanding General of Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, Col. M. Crawford, Commanding Officer of Camp Patrick Henry, and their staffs are shown at Station Complement Parade, Camp Patrick Henry, VA, 18 October 1943.
Other Web Belt Usage in World War II
All the services used the web belt in World War II, but not in the same colors or buckle style. The USMC used khaki belts with an open face EM style buckle, but with gold color metal (not black). Certain U.S. Navy uniforms were worn with navy blue or black web belts. White belts were used for dress uniforms and certain ceremonial uses. The humble web belt was widely used in World War II and is still part of U.S. military uniforms in colors that match current requirements.
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