What World War II Soldiers’ Battle Gear Look Like

In 1775, soldiers wore hunting shirts to distinguish themselves from the British at the Siege of Boston.

When World War II began in Europe in 1939, the uniforms worn by the soldiers were, in many cases, not much different from those their fathers had worn in the First World War. But the mass slaughter of World War I had caused such public outcries that care of the soldiers became a major concern for military planners.

Great improvements in the design of military uniforms were made and designed that offered greater protection from the elements and better blending into the background. The two biggest changes that took place during this time were the evolution of uniform variations for specialist troops and the development of camouflage.

In collaboration with Daily History, we give you below 30+ Military Uniforms worn by soldiers during World War II:

82nd Airborne, Sicilly, 1943

1 – M2 helmet with camouflage net
2 – M1942 jacket
3 – M1942 trousers
4 – M1934 wool shirt
5 – boots
6 – M1936 main belt with M1916 holster for the Colt M1911 pistol
7 – M1936 webbing
8 – M1A1 carbine
9 – M2A1 gas mask
10 – M1910 folding shovel
11 – M1942 canteen 12 – M1910 bag
13 – dog tags
14 – M1918 Mk I knife
15 – M1936 backpack

 

Sergeant, UK 1st Airborne, 1944

1 – MkII helmet- jump version, with camouflage net
2 – Battle-dress
3 – M41 “Denison smock” jacket
4 – face camouflage net
5 – toggle rope
6 – boots
7 – M37 leggings
8 – M37 webbing
9 – Sten MkV SMG with bayonet
10 – M36 grenade

 

Private, Volksgrenadier division, Italy/Greece, 1944

1 – M-40 helmet
2 – M-43 summer jacket
3 – ski trousers
4 – shirt
5 – socks
6 – boots
7 – M-41 leggins
8 – main belt
9 – ammo pouches
10 – M-38 webbing
11 – military songbook
12 – M-24 grenade
13 – face net
14 – M-38 gas mask
15 – 7,92 mm Mauser 98k rifle
16 – M-84/98 bayonet
17 – “Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen”- Infantry assault badge

 

US infantry, 1942-1945

1 – M1 helmet
2 – M1934 shirt
3 – M1934 sweatshirt
4 – M1941 trousers
5 – service boots
6 – M1938 leggins
7 – M1926 life belt
8 – M1937 ammo belt
9 – M1924 personal dressing
10 – M1910 canteen
11 – gas mask bag
12 – M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle with M1907 belt
13 – armband
14,15 – obvious
16 – shoulder badges: A – 1st Armoured B – 2nd Arm C – 3rd Infantry E – 34th Inf F – 1st Inf

 

Italian engineer, Northern Africa, 1942

1 – Steel helmet with enginners badge
2 – tropical sweatshirt with engineers badges on the collar tabs
3 – leather belt, webbing and ammo pouches
4 – shorts
5 – shirt
6 – 6,5 mm Carcano 91/41 rifle
7 – Model 1891 bayonet
8 – 6,5 mm ammo
9 – SRCM 1935 grenade
10 – T-35 gas mask
11 – breadbag
12 – canteen
13 – protective goggles
14 – leather boots

 

SS-Reiter (Private), 8. SS-Kavallerie Division “Florian Geyer”, summer 1944

1 – M-40 Feldmutze field cap
2 – M-40 helemt with SS badges
3 – Feldbluse 44- new sweatshirt,
inspired by the British battle dress,
cavalry markings on the shoulder straps.
4 – trousers
5 – M-35 belt
6 – wool shirt
7 – M-39 webbing
8 – “Florian Geyer” division armband
9 – woollen gloves
10 – Panzerfaust 60
11 – 7,92 mm Sturmgewehr 44
12 – M-84/98 bayonet
13 – tarpaulin ammo pouches
14 – M-24 grenade
15 – Waffen SS payment book
16 – M-31 canteen
17 – M-43 leather boots
18 – leggins

2nd Lt, 1st Infantry Division, Polish People’s Army (USSR), 1943

1 – wz. 1937 field “rogatywka” cap
2 – Model 1936 drill jacket, wz.1943 military eagle on the buttons
3 – Soviet breeches
4 – Model 1935 officer’s belt
5 – synthetic leather holster for Nagant revolver
6 – synthetic leather map pouch
7 – leather boots
8 – Adrianoy compass
9 – binoculars
10 – 7,62 mm PPSh-41 SMG
11 – decorations: Cross of the Valorous,
“Zasluzonym na Polu Chwaly” medal

 

Major, Polish Air Force in the UK, 1940- 1945

1 – RAF officer’s cap with Polish wz.1936 air force eagle
2 – RAF officer’s jacket, Polish major insignia on the collar tabs, British Flight Lieutenant insignia on the sleeves.
3 – Officers’ trousers
4 – Shoes
5 – Briefcase
6 – Silver Cross of the Virtuti Militari Cross
7 – Infantry Officer’s School Badge
8 – Observer badge
9 – British Navigator’s wings

 

Polish Infantry – Private, 1939

1 – wz. 1939 “rogatywka” garrison cap
2 – wz. 1937 “rogatywka” field cap
3 – wz. 1937 steel helmet
4 – wz. 1936 jacket
5 – dog tag
6 – WST wz. 1932 gas mask in a tarpaulin bag
7 – personal dressing
8 – leather ammo pouches
9 – wz. 1933 breadbag
10 – leather main belt
11 – wz. 1938 canteen
12 – wz. 1928 bayonet cover
13 – folding shovel in a leather cover
14 – wz. 1933 backpack with blanket
15 – standard army biscuit
16 – wz. 1931 mess kit
17 – spoon + fork kit
18 – owijacze – belts of cloth used instead of socks
19 – boots
20 – GR-31 grenade – frag
21 – GR-31 grenade – concussion
22 – 7,92 mm Mauser 1898a rifle
23 – 7,92 mm ammo clips
24 – wz.1924 bayonet
25 – wire cutting shears

 

Polish Cavalry Officer, 1939


1 – wz.1935 “rogatywka” garrison cap
2 – wz.1923 forage cap
3 – round cap of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment
4 – wz.1937 “rogatywka” field cap
5 – wz.1936 officers’ garrison jacket,
6 – memorial badge of the 21st Uhlan Regiment
7 – dog tag
8 – wz.1936 officers’ field jacket
9 – 9mm wz.1935 “Vis” pistol
10 – personal dressing
11 – wz.1936 officers’ main belt
12 – leather holster for the wz.1935 pistol
13 – officers’ boots with spurs
14 – officers’ field bag, B-type
15 – binoculars
16 – strap for wz.1935 pistol
17 – wz.1921/22 officers’ sabre

 

Polish Uhlan, 1939

1 – wz. 1937 “rogatywka” field cap
2 – wz. 1932 forage cap
3 – “Adrian” French steel helmet
4 – wz. 1936 jacket
5 – wz. 1931 canteen
6 – dog tag
7 – leather ammo pouches for Mauser ammo
8 – main belt
9 – RSC gas mask with canister
10 – wz. 1924 bayonet cover
11 – folding shovel in a leather cover
12 – boots with spurs
13 – wz. 1931 mess kit
14 – personal dressing
15 – wz. 1934 cavalry sabre
16 – 7,92mm Mauser 1898a rifle
17 – wz. 1924 bayonet
18 – 7,92 mm ammo clips
19 – fork + spoon kit

 

Major, maintenance units of the 1st Polish Armoured Division, German, 1945

1 – M 37/40 battle dress, maintenance units banners on the collar tabs
2 – black shoulder strap of 1st Armoured Div
3 – 1st Arm Div badge
4 – Silver Cross of the Virtuti Militari Cross
5 – M 37 webbing
6 – 11,43 mm Colt M1911 pistol
7 – Officers’ boots
8 – leather vest
9 – drivers’ gloves
10 – armoured units’ training helmet
11 – AT Mk II motorcycle helmet
12 – Mk II helmet
13 – leggings

 

2nd Lt., AAA of the 2nd Polish Corps, Ital, 1945

1 – M40 battle dress, AAA colors of the collar tabs
2 – American woollen shirt
3 – M40 overcoat
4 – M42 beret
5 – boots
6 – M37 breadbag
7 – dog tags
8 – ribbons of the Monte Cassino Cross
9 – 2nd Polish Corps Artillery memorial badge
10 – Polish-English pocket dictionary
11 – Propaganda leaflet

 

Lieutenant, 1st Polish Airborne Brigade, Arnhem, 1944

1 – British beret with Polish eagle and rank insignia
2 – “Denison smock” Mk I Jacket
3 – “Oversmock” vest
4 – Officers’ boots
5 – trousers from M37 Battle dress
6 – British map pouch
7 – captured German ammo pouch used as a cover for a flashlight
8 – webbing, belt and holster for Enfield No2 revolver
9 – 9mm Sten Mk II SMG
10 – AT Mk II airborne helmet

 

Major, 1st Polish Armoured Division (UK), 1942-43

WW2 1st Polish Armoured Div – Regimental Day
1st Polish Armoured Div – Regimental Day
1 – British forage cap with a Polish wz.1940 military eagle and major’s insignia
2 – British officer’s jacket
3 – British trousers
4 – Officer’s belt
5 – Shirt and Tie
6 – Officers’ boots
7 – Black shoulder strap of 1st Armoured Div
8 – 1st Armoured Division Badge
9 – Banners of 1st Independent HMG Batallion
10 – 1st HMG Batallion’s honorary cord

 

Partisan of the Peasant Battalions (Bataliony Chlopskie) Poland, 1942

1 – wz.1937 “rogatywka” cap
2 – jacket
3 – trousers
4 – boots
5 – improvised armband
6 – 9 mm MP-40 SMG

 

Soldier of the Warsaw Uprising, 1944

1 – German “Gladiator” helmet
2 – Wehrmacht sweatshirt in “Sumpftarnmuster” camp
3 – Polish wz.1933 main belt
4 – Polish breeches
5 – German pre-1939 boots
6 – Ak (Home Army) armband
7 – 9 mm Sten Mk II SMG
8 – German ammo pouches for MP-38/40 mags

 

Private, 1st Polish Army, Kolberg, March 1945

1 – wz.1937 field “rogatywka” cap
2 – Soviet M 1940 helmet with Polish wz.1943 military eagle
3 – Model 1937 overcoat
4 – Model 1936 tarpaulin jacket, infantry banners on the collar tabs
5 – M 1935 drill trousers
6 – owijacze (leggings)
7 – Soviet main belt
8 – boots
9 – German M-09 ammo pouches
10 – pot
11 – self-made spoon
12 – 7,62 Mosin 1891/30 rifle with bayonet
13 – F-1 grenade
14 – RPG-1 anti-tank grenade
15 – oiler for the Mosin rifle
16 – Maxim HMG ammo belt container
17 – canteen

 

Private, Polish Army in the USSR, 1941

1 – wz.1937 “rogatywka” field cap
2 – Model 1937 overcoat
3 – main belt
4 – Model 1904 ammo pouches
5 – felt boots
6 – tarpaulin gloves
7 – 7,62 mm Tokarev SVT-40 rifle

 

Private, 1st Grenadier Division, Polish Army in France, 1940


1 – Model 1919 beret
2 – Model 1918 French forage cap
3 – French Model 1915 “Adrian” helmet
4 – Polish “rogatywka” cap
5 – ammo clip
6 – ammo pack
7 – leather webbing
8 – Model 1916 ammo pouches
9 – Model 03/14 main belt
10 – 8 mm Berthier 1892 carbine
11 – Model 1938 privates’ jacket
12 – Model 1922 trousers
13 – Model 1935 gas mask with leather bag
14 – calendar
15 – Model 1893 backpack
16 – blanket
17 – Model 1935 mess kit
18 – Model 1935 cup
19 – canteen
20 – Model 1917 boots

 

SS-Reiter (Private), 8. SS-Kavallerie Division “Florian Geyer”, summer 1944

1 – M-40 Feldmutze field cap
2 – M-40 helemt with SS badges
3 – Feldbluse 44- new sweatshirt, inspired by the British battle dress, cavalry markings on the shoulder straps
4 – trousers
5 – M-35 belt
6 – wool shirt
7 – M-39 webbing
8 – “Florian Geyer” division armband
9 – woollen gloves
10 – Panzerfaust 60
11 – 7,92 mm Sturmgewehr 44
12 – M-84/98 bayonet
13 – tarpaulin ammo pouches
14 – M-24 grenade
15 – Waffen SS payment book
16 – M-31 canteen
17 – M-43 leather boots
18 – leggins

 

Waffen SS Sturmmann (Corporal), Normandy, 1944

1 – M-40 helmet with SS badges
2 – M-43 SS Feldbluse, Sturmmann’s insignia on the collar tabs and left sleeve, Iron Cross 2nd Class ribbon on the button
3 – trousers from the Drillichtanzug 43 uniform, in “Tupfenmuster” camo
4 – SS main belt with webbing
5 – Patronentasche für MP-Magazine, ammo pouches for MP-38/40
6 – map pouch
7 – 9 mm MP-40 SMG
8 – breadbag, canteen, Zeltbahn tent cloth
9 – boots
10 – gas mask canister

 

SS- Haupsturmfuhrer (Captain)

1 – M-38 SS officers’ jacket, with SD rhombus on the left sleeve, silver chevron on the right sleeve means that the uniform owner joined NSDAP before 30.01.1933
2 – Schirmmütze officers’ cap
3 – M-44 officers’ trousers
4 – M-34 officers’ belt
5 – Decorations:
– Iron Cross 1st Class
– ribbons: “Kriegsverdienstkreuz” (war service cross), medal for the winter campaign on the eastern front 1941/42, bronze SA sport badge
6 – Ehrendegen des Reichsführers-SS, “Reichsfuhrer’s Honorary Sword”
7 – Totenkopfring der SS

 

Fallschirmjäger Unteroffizier (Corporal), 1944

1 – Fallschirmschützen-Stahlhelm 38 jump helmet
2 – Fallschirmschützen Bluse camouflage sweatshirt in “Splittermuster” camo, rank insignia on the sleeves, Luftwaffe eagle on the right breast
3 – M-37 trousers
4 – M-38 gas mask in a tarpaulin bag
5 – 9 mm MP-40 SMG
6 – ammo pouches for MP-40, main belt and webbing
7 – M-31 canteen in “Fliegerblau”- “aviation blue”
8 – M-31 breadbag
9 – folding shovel
10 – Ziess 6×30 binoculars
11 – boots

 

“Linse” boat operator, K-Verband, Flotille K-211, Baie de Seine, France, 1944


1 – Fallschirmschützen-Stahlhelm 38 jump helmet
2 – life jacket
3 – Kriegsmarine leather jacket, “K-Verband” badge on the sleeve
4 – leather trousers
5 – Kriegsmarine sweatshirt
6 – “Schiffchen” forage cap
7 – payment book
8 – leather-canvas shoes

 

German cavalry sergeant major (Oberwachtmeister), 1939-40

1 – M-35 steel helmet
2 – feldgrau jacket with gold (“Waffenfarbe Goldgelb”) markings of the cavalry
3 – Steingrau cavalry breeches
4 – black leather belt
5 – holster for Luger P-08 pistol
6 – leather webbing- “Koppeltraggestell”
7 – cavalry boots with spurs
8 – M-38 gas mask
9 – anti-mustard gas cloth
10 – trumpet

 

Private first class (Matrosengefreiter) Kriegsmarine landing units, 1940

1 – M-35 helmet with Kriegsmarine decal
2 – privates’ and NCOs’ jacket, Matrosengefreiter insignia on the sleeve
3 – standard trousers
4 – boots
5 – M-38 gas mask with canister
6 – leather main belt with ammo pouches
7 – M-31 tarpaulin breadbag
8 – mess kit with cup
9 – Mauser 98k rifle

 

Private, Luftwaffe, France, 1944

1 – M-40 helmet
2 – Einheitsfeldmütze M-43 field cap
3 – M-43 sweatshirt in “Sumpftarnmuster” camo
4 – trousers
5 – webbing
6 – 7,92 mm Mauser 98k rifle with bayonet
7 – M-31 breadbag
8 – M-31 canteen
9 – M-39 boots
10 – dog tag
11 – “Esbit” pocket heater

 

Panzertruppe lieutnant, 1939

1 – officers’ cap with with pink band of the armored corps (“Waffenfarbe Rosa”)
2 – black officers’ jacket, Prussian Death Hussars’ Totenkopf on the collar tabs.
3 – grey shirt
4 – armored troops’ trousers
5 – officers’ boots
6 – headphones
7 – laryngophone
8 – protective goggles
9 – M-34 leather belt
10 – leather holster for Luger P-08 pistol
11 – leather gloves
12 – standard grey socks
13 – M-31 Meldetasche- map pouch
14 – Zeiss 6×30 binoculars

 

Luftwaffe Hauptmann (Captain), FW-190-A8 pilot, Jagdgeschwader 300 “Wilde Sau”, Germany, 1944


1 – LKp N101 headphones
2 – Nitsche & Günther Fl. 30550 goggles
3 – Drager model 10-69 oxygen mask
4 – Hankart watch
5 – AK 39Fl. compass
6 – 25 mm Walther Flarepistol M-43 with ammo belt
7 – holster
8 – FW-190 parachute
9 – aviation boots
10 – M-37 Luftwaffe breeches
11 – Luftwaffe leather jacket with Hauptmann’s insignia and Luftwaffe armband

 

Sergeant major (Feldwebel), Luftwaffe, Africa, 1943

1 – M-41 field cap with Luftwaffe eagle
2 – M-41 Luftwaffe tropical jacket, yellow collar tabs of the flying personnel
3 – linen trousers
4 – main belt with holster for the P-08 pistol
5 – “Afrika” armband of the Luftwaffe’s African theater units
6 – leather gloves
7 – oxygen mask (bomber version)
8 – linen pilots’ cap with earphones
9 – life jacket
10 – leather boots
11 – aviation goggles
12 – Kappmesser M-37 knife
13 – “Hankart” watch
14 – compass
15 – map
16 – Deutsches Kreuz in Gold- Golden German Cross, established 1941
17 – Iron Cross 1st Class
18 – Luftwaffe pilot badge
19 – bomber crew badge
20 – pilot’s military ID

 

Unteroffizier (corporal), Wehrmacht Propagandakompanie, 1943

1 – M-42 helmet
2 – M-43 summer jacket
3 – shoulder straps with Unteroffizier’s insignia and bright yellow colors of the signal troops (used by the PK until 1943, later changet to grey)
4 – trousers
5 – Leica camera
6 – infantry assault badge
7 – “Propagandakompanie” armband
8 – belt
9 – holster for Luger P-08 pistol
10 – map pouch
11 – woollen socks
12 – leather boots

 

Schtzupolizei hauptwachtmeister (Master sergeant), 1943.

1 – M-40 steel helmet
2 – Bergemutze M-43 field cap with green markings (“Waffenfarbe Hellgrun”) of the mountain units
3 – M-40 police jacket, Schutzpolizei emblem on the sleeve
4 – mountain troops’ ski trousers
5 – leather belt
6 – hoster for P-08 pistol
7 – 9 mm P-08 pistol
8 – payment book
9 – dog tag
10 – Meldetasche map pouch
11 – M-39 grenade
12 – leggins
13 – mountain boots
14 – 9 mm ammo pack

 

German corporal (Unteroffizier), 1939-1940


1 – M-35 field jacket with Unteroffizier’s insignia
2 – M-35 steel helmet with Heeres markings
3 – Zeltbahn M-31 tent cloth in “Splittermuster” camo
4 – Grey (“Steingrau”) trousers
5 – Leather belt
6 – Anti-mustard gas cloth
7 – M-38 gas mask
8 – M-24 grenade
9 – Black leather ammo pouches
10 – M-31 aluminium canteen
11 – Boots
12 – 7,92 mm Mauser 98k rifle
13 – Seitengewehr 84/98 bayonet
14 – Wire cutting shears

 

Afrika Korps private, 1941

1 – M-35 steel helmet in desert camo
2 – M-40 olive jacket with white markings (infantry)
3 – M-40 breeches
4 – M-40 shorts
5 – main belt and webbing
6 – brown leather ammo pouches
7 – Tropenhelm cork helmet with Heeres insignia
8 – M-24 grenade
9 – 7,92 mm ammo pack
10 – 7,92 mm Mauser 98k rifle
11 – Seitengewehr 84/98 bayonet
12 – breadbag
13 – brown bakelite canteen (“coconut”)
14 – M-31 mess kit
15 – M-31 tent cloth
16 – tropical boots
17 – RAF aircraft recognition book

 

USMC private, Pacific, 1944

1 – M1 helmet with cover
2 – sweatshirt and trousers
3 – dog tags
4 – main belt with two canteens, personal dressing, ammo pouches and compass
5 – M41 backpack with blanket
6 – USMC leggins
7 – US Navy boots
8 – Mk II frag grenade
9 – 7,62 mm (.30) M1 carbine
10 – Collins knife-machette

 

Corporal, US Military Police (MP), 1945

1 – M1 helmet, ebonite
2 – woollen shirt
3 – M38 jacket
4 – white MP cord
5 – whistle
6 – armband
7 – belt
8 – gloves
9 – Colt M1911A1 pistol
10 – trousers
11 – “Baush and Lomb” sunglasses
12 – MP forage cap
13 – wooden baton
14 – “Victory” matches
15 – white leggins
16 – boots

If you enjoy this incredible collection of Military Uniforms worn by soldiers during World War II, please share this with your friend who may also like this!

Sources: WarHistoryOnline, MilitaryModelling

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