M42 jacket

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U.S. paratroopers wearing M42 jacket reporting on the situation during the Battle of Normandy in 1944.

The combination of the Coat, Parachute Jumper and the Trousers, Parachute Jumper (known as the M42 jump uniform to collectors) and the high lace up Boots, Parachute Jumper collectively made up the uniform used by American paratroopers during the earlier and middle part of World War II.

M42 Jump Uniform description[edit]

The M42 color was Olive Drab #3. The coat consisted of four front patch pockets with two button snaps on each, along with a unique dual-zippered knife pocket located on the upper lapel which was designed to contain a switchblade pocketknife. The trousers had four internal pockets and two large patch pockets located one on each thigh. The thigh pockets were also closed by two button snaps each. Due to the somewhat fragile nature of the uniform, however, the M42 was often reinforced with thicker, tougher canvas on the elbows, crotch and knees. The M42 was mostly worn by Paratroops assigned to Airborne units. The M42 was eventually phased out in favor of the new M1943 Uniform which was a darker green, OD #7. Despite this, various individuals chose to keep their M42s in order to show their veteran status.

The Corcoran jump boots were initially replaced by the Combat boots. This particular change was ferociously challenged by the airborne, as the double-buckled cuff at the top of the boots could allegedly sometimes catch parachute static lines and seriously injure a jumper, though they also preferred the Corcoran boots for the status that they gave above regular infantry. During operations, especially at night, adhesive tape or socks over the buckles were used to avoid any line entanglement or metallic shine reflection and the sound of buckles or loose lace ends.

See also[edit]