USMC WW II Combat / Field Uniforms

Like the Army, at the beginning of World War II the Marine Corps was using equipment that dated back to the WW I period with only a few improvements. The Service Uniforms were considered to be dual purpose for garrison and field duty, forest green wool in winter and khaki cotton in summer. Despite their shorcomings in battle, the first missions of World War II were fought in these uniforms. Only leggings were added to post duty clothing when going into combat.

Marines study parts of stripped weapon.  Note fatigues (left), khaki (right), boondocker shoes (right), early WW II pith helmet with USMC EGA, garrison caps with USMC EGA.  Camp Lejeune, New River, NC May 1942.
Marines study parts of stripped weapon. Note fatigues (left), khaki (right), "boondocker" shoes (right), early WW II pith helmet with USMC EGA, garrison caps with USMC EGA.
Camp Lejeune, New River, NC May 1942.

Today in WW II: 25 Nov 1941 Germans reach outskirts of Moscow but cannot sustain attack; Germans hold positions until Dec 5.  More 
25 Nov 1942 British SOE team and anti-Nazi Greeks blow up the Gorgopotamos railway viaduct, the first significant sabotage in occupied Europe [Operation Harling, Nov 25-26].
25 Nov 1943 Battle of Cape St. George between Buka and New Ireland, off Papua New Guinea, fought by US and Japanese naval forces.
25 Nov 1944 In Philippine waters, USS Intrepid [CV-11] hit by two Japanese kamikaze planes within five minute period, killing 69 and seriously wounding 85 of the crew.
25 Nov 1944 Most deadly German V-2 rocket attack in Britain happened at New Cross Road, destroying a Woolworths store and surrounding area, killing 160 people, seriously injuring 120 others.
25 Nov 1944 Japanese occupy Nanning, a transportation hub in south China, for the second time, in final stages of the Ichi-Go offensive.
25 Nov 1944 Last American airborne troops withdraw 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.

World War II Combat Uniforms & Clothing for the U.S. Marine Corps

In 1941, two piece sage green utility uniforms were issued to Marines for fatigue duty. These cotton herringbone twill (HBT) uniforms were designed for field work, but quickly became the battle dress uniform. By the time of the Guadalcanal invasion (August 1942) the HBT field uniform was in general use and continued, with modifications, through the war. The Service Uniform was reserved for garrison duty or leave and was not seen on the battlefield. In the photo, Marines in HBT fatigues wade ashore on Tinian, 24 July 1944.

At the same time as the HBT uniform was in use, a series of camouflage uniforms was developed and issued to Marines. Although often associated with the USMC, use of camouflage uniforms was sporadic, not universal, in World War II.

Click to link to the Olive-Drab page for more detail on some of the individual clothing types:

U.S. Marine Corps Eagle, Globe, and Anchor was stenciled on most Marine clothing and gear.
U.S. Marine Corps Eagle, Globe, and Anchor was stenciled on most Marine clothing and gear.

Marine in khaki uniform driving a USN jeep, pulling a glider at Parris Island, SC, May 1942.  Detailed analysis of this photo by Robert V. Notman in Military Vehicles Magazine, April 2005, came to the conclusion that this olive drab jeep with yellow markings is a Ford GPW from an early U.S. Army contract, with the markings repainted for U.S. Navy use.
Marine in khaki uniform driving a USN jeep, pulling a glider at Parris Island, SC, May 1942. Detailed analysis of this photo by Robert V. Notman in Military Vehicles Magazine, April 2005, came to the conclusion that this olive drab jeep with yellow markings is a Ford GPW from an early U.S. Army contract, with the markings repainted for U.S. Navy use.

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