U.S. Field Combat Clothing & Uniforms: World War II

There were a great variety of combat field uniforms developed, issued and used by U.S. Army Infantry, Airborne, Armored and other arms and services in World War II. The Navy and Marine Corps had their own, additional standards and issues of clothing and uniforms. Additional clothing and uniforms were provided for specialized purposes.

U.S. Army Uniform in 1939
U.S. Army Uniform in 1939.

Today in WW II: 25 Sep 1937 Devastating bombing of Nanking, China kills over six hundred civilians.  More 
25 Sep 1942 Due to failure at Milne Bay and Guadalcanal's drain on resources, Japanese Gen. Horii ordered to withdraw his troops from the Kokoda Track to beachheads at Buna, Gona and Sanananda.
25 Sep 1944 British troops, cutoff and suffering heavy casualties, begin withdrawal from unsuccessful Operation Market Garden positions.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

U.S. Field Clothing and Uniforms: WW II

Starting with the array of mounted and dismounted uniforms left over from the pre-war period, stardardization was needed to supply the huge manpower buildup of the pending global war. As the World War II progressed uniforms changed, driven by field experience and also by production requirements for efficiency and the need to preserve scarce materials.

US Army Uniforms 1941
United States Army Uniforms, 1941.

These pages of Olive-Drab.com will cover many of the variations issued and used during World War II, but by no means all. Keep in mind that as new items of clothing and equipment were developed, they only slowly made their way into general use. A year or more could separate the first use of an item by one unit and the receipt of the same item by another unit. Some units were still using pre-war equipment in 1945 while other units had the latest issue.

For an example of clothing issued, click here for the list of clothing for 1943 inductees at Camp Lee, VA.

World War II Field Clothing and Uniforms: Directory

The photos used as examples on these pages are drawn from wartime publications and archive materials wherever possible, to show the clothing and uniforms in use. The few exceptions are current photos of items known to be genuine examples from the war and not reproductions or similar items from other time periods. The same standards apply to pictures of labels or markings.

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

For good results, try entering this: army uniforms world war ii. Then click the Search button.

Militaria Bibliography

The pages of Olive-Drab.com that describe U.S. clothing and equipment from World War II have been developed with the guidance of the following list of publications. The two Historical Studies from the Quartermaster General are out of print but can sometimes be found as reprints or as originals from used booksellers or on eBay.