The uniforms of the 106th
The purpose of this page is to display the different examples of uniforms used by the 106th Infantry Division.
The uniform items displayed on this site are in the webmaster's collection. Other sources are credited underneath.
The early Service Dress Uniform
The Class A or dress uniform consisted of a wool garisson cap, a pair of OD wool trousers, a wool shirt with a khaki cotton tie and a 4 pocket wool tunic. For footwear Service Shoes were used. Later in the war the 4 pocket coat was replaced by the Wool Field Jacket M1944, also known as the "Ike Jacket". Enlisted men wore the US collar disc on the right side of the Service coat and the arm of service disc on the left. Enlisted men were also authorised to wear a service stripe for each 3-year period of service. These were placed on the bottom of the left sleeve. Above the service stripes were the overseas bars. One bar stood for a 6 month period of overseas service. Ribbon bars were pinned above the left hand pocket of the Service coat.
The Service Coat pictured above was issued to Sergeant Anderson, who served in one of the 106th's Infantry Regiments. The coat is dated 1942 and shows the Golden Lion patch mounted on the left sleeve. The 4 Overseas bars indicate a period of 2 years of overseas service, and the service bar stands for 3 years of service in the Armed Forces. A marksman badge with a rifle tab can be spotted on the flap of the left pocket. Above are ribbons for the following decorations: "Good Conduct Medal', 'American Campaign Medal', 'European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign medal' and a 'WWII Victory Medal'. The collar discs are of the early screwback type. The inside of the coat is stencilled with the soldier's name and Laundry code.
Above the right-hand pocket there is a Ruptured Duck badge sewn on the coat. This indicates an honorable discharge from service in the US Army.
Here a picture of PFC John Snyder. He was a member of 423/E and was taken prisoner on December 19th, 1944. He spent the rest of the war in Stalag IVB.
On this picture, taken early in 1943 we can see PFC Snyder wearing the Service Coat as Class-A uniform. He is also wearing a "Sam Browne" leather garrison belt.
Picture courtesy of Sandy Snyder
The M1941 Field Uniform
In 1941 the US Army adopted a new field uniform which made a clear dictinction between the Service and the Combat uniform.
The new M1941 Field Jacket was short windbreaker-style jacket made out of cotton polpin, with a flannel lining. It had buttoned tabs at the waist and sleeves for adjustment, a front closure with zipper hidden by a buttoned placket and a buttoned tab under the collar. Shoulder loops were added on the Second pattern jacket and they deleted the buttoned flaps for the slash pockets.
This was part of the standard issue uniform and the men of the 106th wore these jackets during training at Jackson-Atterbury. Some men wore them while being overseas, but most men preferred the new M1943 uniform which provided better cover from cold weather.
Here a picture of T/4 Richard A Widmer. He was an armorer in the HQ Company of the 422nd Infantry Regiment. Captured on December 19th, 1944 he spent the duration of the war in Stalag IVB and VIIIA.
This picture was taken during training at Camp Jackson in 1943. It shows Widmer wearing the M1941 Jacket over his wool shirt and trousers.
The HBT Field Uniform
The old fatigue dress in blue denim was replaced by new HBT sets in 1941. The first pattern HBT (Herringbone Twill) Jacket has two pleated style pockets, a narrow waistaband down at the hem and adjusting buckles at both sides. It also uses the new metal "tack-on" buttons seen on most HBT clothing. This perticular example has a 1942 dated QM tag in the right breast pocket. On the jacket there is a machine sewn 106th Division patch and a set of Corporal chevrons.
From the Webmaster's Collection
The HBT sets were used extensively by the men of the 106th during training at Camp Jackson and Atterbury in 1943-44.
Here a picture of PFC Howard Rickey, aide to General Perrin dusting the mud of his galoshes during manoeuvres in February 1944.
He is wearing a First Pattern HBT jacket along with a Second Pattern pair of HBT trousers.
© The Cub February 18th, 1944 edition.
The M1943 Field Uniform
In 1942 the US Army started to design a new Combat Uniform for the troops overseas. There were numerous complaints about the older M1941 Jackets, stating that they were too cold in winter and too hot in summer.
A new universal uniform had to be devised to give the troops what they required. The new M1943 uniform was made up of a number of new items such as: a cotton Field Jacket and trousers, a high neck sweater and Two Buckle Combat Boots.
The new M1943 Field Jacket was made out of cotton sateen fabric and featured 4 pockets. Two large cargo-style pockets on the chest and two inner pockets on the hip supplied the GI with sufficient storage capabilities. The Jacket was fly fronted and closed by large brown plastic buttons. The inner lining was light colored poplin and featured a draw cord for easy adjustment.
This example is dated 1943 (early!!) and is ID'd to an unknown Army Captain. His laundry code starting with O for Officer and his name and rank are stencilled on the inner liner.
This was the jacket the men of the 106th wore in Belgium during the Battle of The Bulge, together with the Wool Field trousers and the Highneck Sweater.
Signal Corps footage shows 1st Lieutenant Ivan "Ike" Long and the men of his I&R Platoon of the 423rd Regiment at Sankt Vith on December 21st. They were the first group of Lionmen to break trough the encirlement on the Schnee Eifel and made it back safe to the friendly lines after a long walk trough the enemy's backyard. This picture clearly shows Long and the others wearing the M1943 uniform. Lt. Long has a squad whissle attached to the flap of his shirt pocket. His dog tags are slung between the closure of his shirt to prevent them from rattling, which could betray them on their way trough enemy held territory. A "Golden Lion" patch can be seen on his left shoulder.
Picture by US Army Signal Corps
The IKE Service Uniform
The official nomenclature calls it the "Jacket, Field, Wool, OD M-1944", but it is known as the "IKE Jacket". This jacket was part of the new uniform designed by the US Army in 1944. It was meant to be used as a field garment, much like the British BD (Battle Dress) and was mostly copied from the latter. In the ETO, the IKE became a winter liner for the M1943 Field Jacket (cfr supra). The IKE would also be used as an excellent replacement for the Service Coat and was used by many as Class A Uniform.
This specific example was once the IKE Jacket worn by 1st Sergeant Harold J Jensen. He was a member of the 424th Infantry Regiment. He entered the Service on August 29th, 1939 and was honorably discharged on October 18th, 1945. Among his decorations are: the Army Good Conduct Medal, The American Defence Service Medal, The American Campaign Medal, The EAME Medal with three bronze service stars, the WWII Victory Medal and the Belgian Fourragere hanging from his right shoulder. This decoration was granted to the entire Regiment for their actions during the Bulge. Also note the Combat Infantryman's Badge worn over the left breast pocket. This is the most respected and coveted badge for an infantry soldier to be bestowed with. Mr Harold Jensen passed in January 1979.
Here is a wartime picture of John Schaffner, he was a member of "A" Battery, 589th Field Artillery Battalion. He was one of the men who held the crossroads at Baraque Fraiture AKA "Parker's Crossroads". One of the most important actions during the Battle of The Bulge. This delaying action helped to get the men of the 82nd "All American" Airborne inket time on the line. This picture, taken early in 1945 shows Corporal Schaffner wearing the IKE Jacket. Mr Schaffner is currently the 106th Infantry Division Association Historian and a very dear friend.
Picture Courtesy of John R Schaffner.