About M1943 Field Uniforms
This page features photos and information about original
WWII US M1943 Field Uniforms. Most of this information I have learned
from examining original uniforms, both ones I own as well as those of
other collectors, and searching through period photographs. I consider
these the most accurate means of determining what was and was not worn
during the war. However, one must realize, that not every variation or
modification was photographed, much less survived the conflict. This
information is for public consumption and you may link and copy photos
without restriction. Likewise, if there are errors or you have some more
info, feel free to send it over.
History: The M1943 Field Uniform was
the result of several years of experimentation and development by the US
Army Quartermaster. It replaced the completely inadequate M1941 Field
Jacket (which was more suited to a day on the golf course than combat in
the ETO.) It consisted of a 4 pocket jacket and matching trousers made
from windproof sateen cotton. The uniform was designed as a layered
meant to be worn over the wool shirt and trouser and in
conjunction with a wool sweater and liners in colder weather. The
uniform was first issued to elements of the 3rd Infantry Division
fighting at Anzio in Italy in February/ March 1944 for field testing.
Despite the high praise the jacket received from those who wore it,
General Omar Bradley considered it unsightly and inferior to the wool
overcoat. Resistance by Bradley and other commanders in the ETO resulted
in the uniform not being issued until shortages of all field jackets
finally forced them to relent in the Fall of 1944. The supply situation
for clothing for troops already in the ETO was described as "critical"
and "very critical" until the end of January 1945. (Shipments of
ammunition, fuel and food took precedence over clothing). Thus, troops
fighting at Aachen, Hurtgen and the Battle of the Bulge will be seen
wearing a mix of M41's, Tankers, M1943's and wool overcoats. The
exceptions to this were the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions who were
almost entirely re-equipped with the uniform just prior to operation
"Market Garden" and troops in new units coming from the US. By February
1945, most troops in the ETO had finally been re-equipped with the new
The field uniforms outer components, the jacket, hood
and trousers are all made from a tightly woven cotton twill, often
called "sateen". When new it has a shiny finish, which rapidly wears
off. These are designed to be windproof but not waterproof. (Soldiers
were issued rubberized raincoats and/or ponchos for wet weather).
Original Field Jackets are relatively plentiful. Mint condition and
large sizes are more difficult to find. The earliest examples I have
seen have pattern dates from the Fall of 1943, although the initial
contracts were issued in May or June. Small changes were made during
each contract, but they are minute- the button under the collar is
lowered 1/2", size labels are changed, spec labels moved, cuff stitching
altered slightly and so forth. The most obvious change was the addition
of the "how to use" label on the Feb. 1944 contract. A diagram was
added to the label in 1945 and later the instructions were printed
directly on the lining.
All M43 Jackets are made from od#7 sateen cotton twill cloth. The
shade varies quite a bit from jacket to jacket- some are very, very dark
green, while others are nearly field gray. This simply a production
variation- it happens with fabric to this day. Jackets made up until
late 1944 usually have od#3 colored lining- it appears to be the outer
fabric previously used for M1941 Jackets. It is quite likely that this
was deemed an acceptable means of using up material left over from
production of the previous field jackets. By late 1944 or early 1945, an
od#7 lining fabric seems to have largely replaced the lighter color
Unissued early production jacket.
Spec label from early jacket.
Unissued 1944 production jacket.
Some"Pattern B" jackets are dated as early Nov. '43.
Instruction label found in jackets made from Feb. 1944.
Shade variations- all jackets are mint condition.
The lining color also varies quite a bit. Darker lining appeared in late '44 or early '45..
Early production jackets also tend to have lighter
colored buttons, while later ones have darker od buttons. Aside from the
labeling and button shades, WW2 M43's are very consistent in materials
and pattern. The pocket lining also varies- most jackets use white
twill, while others use od7 HBT.
There has always been a bit of consternation about the sizing of these
jackets. Many people have insisted that they are much too large- but
they fail to understand that these were designed to be worn with (or
without) a liner. The M1943 Field Uniform was a layered system. The
intent was for the soldiers to be able to adjust to different
temperatures by adding or removing layers of clothing, rather than
having to change (and carry) different jackets or coats. (As had been
the case with the M1941 Jacket and the wool overcoat). Normally, jackets
are cut 5-6 inches larger than the marked chest size. For example, a
size 38R would actually measure 46 inches in the chest. However, M1943
Field Jackets are
6-8 inches larger than the marked size in
order to allow for the thick liner, plus wool shirt, sweater and
underwear. That's why M1943 Field Jackets seem "too big". So, if you
find an original M1943 Jacket with no discernible markings, just measure
the circumference of the chest, and then subtract 8. That' ll be the
size. WW2 production jackets are made in even chest sizes (36, 38, 40
etc) and in short, regular and long lengths. Sometime after the War, the
sizing scale was changed to the lettered sizes- S, M, L, etc.. This was
due to the fact that these do not need to be as closely fitted as
previous uniforms. Fewer sizes mean fewer supply headaches.
The hoods vary similarly to the jackets. Early hoods have a printed
label sewn into the neck, while later ones have the instructions printed
on the fabric itself. Most have spec labels. The hood is attached to
the jacket by buttoning it to the epaulets.
Hoods vary in shade and fittings.
WWII production hoods usually have instruction & spec
labels. Postwar hoods have the information printed directly on the
Hoods came in small, medium & large. The range of jacket
sizes each fits is stamped on the hood. In practice, the hoods will
usually interchange between sizes. The "medium" will fit about any size
Field Jacket Liners
The liners are made from a heavy cotton poplin shell with a pile
lining. Cuffs, waistband and neck are elasticized wool knit. The liners
are much rarer today than the jackets. The only real variation I have
seen is the shade of od from which the shell is made. Most are od#7, but
I have seen a few that were nearly brown or pea green. The liner is
heavy- these are similar in thickness and weight to a tanker jacket. It
is not uncommon to see them being worn as a coat on their own- even
though the regulations (and the instructions) forbid it. Incidentally,
the "Ike" Jacket was originally intended to be the liner for this
jacket- a few wartime photos seem to bear out that this did indeed occur
in some cases. M43 Jackets have no provisions to attach the lining to
the jacket.WWII production liners are rather difficult to come by and
large sizes can be pricey.
M43 Field Jacket Liner
Thick pile lining.
Label styles vary between manufacturers.
Not all liners have
the instruction label.
Made from the same cotton sateen as the field jackets and hoods. The
lining and pocketing fabric was white twill in early trousers, while
late production ones sometimes used shell fabric or od#7 HBT. Most
trousers use the same buttons as the jackets, but a few models from
1944-45 use the 13-star tack buttons used on HBT's. Field trousers
issued to Paratroopers were often modified by having cargo pockets added
to the thighs. The pockets were made from od #7 canvas, not the sateen
twill the trousers were made of. Like the jackets, early trousers have
no instruction labels, then labels were sewn in, and finally the
instructions were printed on the lining fabric directly. The exact
wording varies, but basically they advise the soldier that these are
oversized (1 inch) to allow them to be worn over "woolen or pile"
trousers is cold and windy weather and to therefore, be sure to get
trousers in their normal waist size. Sounds like my website doesn't it?
M1943 Field Trousers.
trousers with white twill.
Late 1944 trousers with