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Women’s M-1943 Field Uniform (1944 - 1945)

Within the women's branches of the U.S. Army, clothing designated as M-1943 was the first winter field uniform designed with women in mind. Throughout most of the war, army nurses used the men's olive-drab field jacket (M-1941), but these were often unavailable in the small sizes that women needed the most. Therefore, during the uniform modernization in late 1943, a women's version of the jacket, trousers, and boots was introduced under the designation M-1943.

Trousers Liner, Jacket Liner, Jeep Cap.png


Women's M-1943 jacket liner, liner trousers (first pattern) and wool "Jeep Cap." These uniform components could be worn alone or as an additional layer to provide warmth under the M-1943 women’s field uniform.


A complete women's M-1943 field uniform consisting of outer trousers, jacket and M-1 helmet. A liner, wool cap and wool scarf worn under the uniform provided further protection against the cold.

The M-1943 uniform first reached military nurses serving in Italy. The first pattern of the outer trousers can often be seen, for example, in photos from Anzio in Italy from the early months of 1944. In photos from other parts of Europe, women's M-1943 uniform can be seen only towards the end of 1944 (Battle of the Bulge).

Tent mates in front of a WC-54 Ambulance. From L to R 2d Lt. Dorothy F. Levitsky, 2d Lt. A

Fellow tentmates in front of WC-54 ambulance. From left to right: 2nd Lt. Dorothy F. Levitsky, 2nd Lt. Angeline F. Paul, 1st Lt. Ellan J. Levitsky, 2nd Lt. Agnes C. Stern. Source:


At the end of 1943, field jackets were designed for women serving in the U.S. Army, based on the existing men's M-1943 field jackets. They were made of cotton satin and poplin in an olive color. Both of these materials are wind-resistant, and partially resistant to water and moisture. The jacket's design allowed for the adjustment of the collar, which could be fastened high around the neck when needed. Similar to the men's version, the women's jacket was buttoned, with the difference that the men's closure was concealed, while for women, it was not. Another difference concerns the chest pocket, where the women's version only has flaps.

Jacket, Field, M-1943.png

Jacket, Field, M-1943

Men's cotton sateen field jacket with four pockets in olive-drab color. The main closure with seven brown plastic buttons is covered by a fly. In some of the original photographs, nurses can be seen wearing the M-1943 men's jacket.

Jacket, Field, M-1943, Women’s

Women's M-1943 field jacket is made of windproof cotton sateen. It has two fake breast pockets with flaps and two functional pockets at the bottom. The jacket has a drawstring at the waist for individual size adjustment. In cold weather it is possible to wear a wool liner underneath the jacket.

Later, the women's version of the jacket was supplemented with a removable hood for greater comfort and protection of the wearer in the cold or rainy season.

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Hood, Jacket, Field, M-1943, Women’s

A water repellant, wind resistant hood, suitable for wear with women’s M-1943 field jacket. Is designated to fit over the head without other covering or over the M-1941 knit wool cap, or under the M-1 steel helmet. The tight closure between the hood and the jacket protects the wearer from the entrance of wind, snow or rain. It is small enough so that when not in use can be folded and carried in the pocket.

Source: U.S. Army Uniforms of World War II,

Shelby Stanton (1991), p. 232

During World War II, body temperature in freezing months was primarily maintained based on the principle of layering, where the main insulator was air trapped between several layers of fabric. Following this principle, the user could add or remove individual layers depending on the temperature conditions. For example, there was the M-1943 pile jacket liner, which, like the M-1943 jacket, was waterproof and consisted of a combination of olive-colored silky cotton and pile fabric serving as lining. It had a woolen collar and a six-button closure. However, the liner did not gain much popularity, so a new model was developed.

Jacket, Field, Pile, OD

Men's pile field jacket made of fake fur. It has two slanted pockets and button and loop closure. The women's version of this jacket has a left side closure.

Jacket, Field, Pile, OD, Women's

The women's version of the pile liner has buttons on the left side. The piece pictured is from the private collection of Fᴏxɪᴇ.

A women's pile liner paired with M-1943 trousers, helmet and field shoes. Source: U.S. Army Uniforms of World War II, Shelby Stanton (1991), p. 233

The new women's M-1943 field jacket liner was made of wool flannel. It had a knitted collar and sleeve cuffs. It was again fastened with six buttons and, like the previous version, was completed with two front slit pockets. It could be worn as a liner underneath the M-1943 jacket, on its own or over a sweater and wool shirt.

Liner, Jacket, Field, M-1943, Women's

A jacket, worn as a liner in conjunction with women’s M-1943 field jacket, provides additional warmth under applicable climatic conditions. It is also suitable for wear over a wool sweater and women’s wool shirt.


Made of cotton satin, women's outer trousers were equipped with two side pockets and buttons at the back, allowing for size adjustment. The closure was on the left side. The pants were tapered and featured an elastic band that gripped the bottom of the foot to prevent them from riding up under tall boots. This was the first pattern of these trousers, which was later modernized.

Due to identified shortcomings in 1944, the outer trousers underwent further changes, during which it was noted that the length of the trouser legs was often insufficient or that they shrank significantly during washing. The cut of the tapered ankles was changed to a straight design. The appearance of the closure was also modified, and the button closure at the hips was replaced with a closure on the left side. Additionally, a small loop with buttons for adjusting the waist size was placed above the right pocket.

Trousers, Women’s, Outer Cover
(first pattern)

Made from windproof and water-resistant cotton, the women's outer cover trousers were designed to be worn over wool trousers liners when working in the field in cold climates. They have buttons at the waist and the legs are tapered and fitted with an elastic band for easy slipping into tall combat boots or leggings.

Trousers, Women’s, Outer Cover
(revised pattern)

A modified version of women's straight-legged outer cover trousers introduced in 1944. Unlike in the first pattern of the trousers, the waist-narrowing fastening is located on the right side. This new version of the trousers can also be worn in cold conditions over wool liners.

After arriving at the evacuation hospital in Anzio, Italy, 2nd Lt. Mary H. Fischer and 2nd Lt. Margaret L. Gallagher take turns digging a foxhole (February 1, 1944). The nurses are wearing M-1943 outer trousers.

The layering principle also extended to the lower part of the uniform. Initially, pile trousers were worn under the outer trousers, but it soon became clear, similar to the pile jacket liner, that the clothing was too bulky. They were then replaced with wool liners designed in the style of ski pants. This version was finally introduced in 1943. These trousers were worn together with outer trousers in cold weather or could be worn separately. The inner layer had a side closure on the right side (instead of the customary left), reducing the width around the waist. Combined with the outer layer, they provided better protection against cold, wind, or rain.

A new type of liners for women was introduced at the end of 1944. A pocket was added on the left side, and similar to the previous pants, they could be worn both separately and in combination with women's M-1943 outer trousers.

Trousers, Wool, Liner, Women’s
(first pattern)

A wool trouser, with knitted rib cuff at the ankle, to be worn under trousers, women’s, outer cover, for extra warmth.

Trousers, Wool, Liner, Women’s
(revised pattern)

New, redesigned type of liner wool trousers with straight legs. It is designed to be worn under women's outer-cover trousers as an extra warm layer.

Other types of trousers were also worn in combination with the M-1943 jacket, e.g. men's wool trousers. Further information on non-regulation uniform combinations can be found here.

Two nurses serving most likely in Italy write letters to their families. The woman in the foreground is wearing the first pattern wool trousers liner.


The foundation of the entire uniform was the shirt. Similar to other uniforms, women initially wore men's shirts with the winter field uniform. We can see them in photos of nurses taken around the turn of 1943 and 1944 in Italy. The shirt features two front pockets and a button closure.

Shirt, Flannel, O.D., Coat Style, Special

An enlisted version of the men's flannel shirt. At the collar and at the cuffs there is a distinctive piece of material called gas flap, designed to protect the body from combat gases. The shirt's collar is unbuttoned.

Shirt, Flannel, OD, Officer’s

An officer's version of the men's flannel shirt. It is distinguished by buttoned shoulder loops. The shirt has two rectangular pockets on the chest. The collar is buttoned.

In mid-1944, a women's version of the wool shirt began to appear, made of wool flannel, which could be worn with both the dress winter uniform and the winter field uniform. Slight differences in the color of individual examples were due to production in various facilities. The shirt had two darts at the back to better conform to the female silhouette. The first version had two chest pockets with rectangular flaps. Later, there was an update. In the second version, the pockets were larger, and their flaps were pointed. Additionally, a pencil hole was added to the left pocket.

Waist, Wool, Women’s (first pattern).png

Waist, Wool, Women’s
(first pattern)

Women's wool shirt. The photo shows the first pattern of the shirt with rectangular lapels on the pockets. The shirt had no shoulder straps.

Waist, Wool, Women’s (revised pattern).p

Waist, Wool, Women’s
(revised pattern)

The revised pattern of the women's wool shirt with triangular lapels on the pockets. On the left pocket there is a hole for inserting a pencil. The shirt had no shoulder straps.

Army nurse Mary Harrington and her fellow nurses wash their mess kits in a helmet during a stop in the German countryside (1945). The women are wearing women's wool shirts and M-1943 outer trousers. Source: Military Women's Memorial (Twitter).


One of the headgear options that also provided protection near the front lines was the M-1 helmet. The helmet consisted of an external steel shell, replicating the shape of the inner part, known as the liner. Since its creation in 1941, the liner underwent several changes, both in design and materials, but maintained its relatively low weight. The liner could be worn separately, especially during ceremonial events or when there was no immediate danger of injury or conflict. Military rank could optionally be painted on the front of the helmet. Unlike medics, military nurses did not have helmets marked with red crosses.

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Helmet, Steel, M-1

The complete M-1 steel helmet used by all combat units consists of the following parts: steel helmet with chinstrap and liner with leather chinstrap.

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Liner, Helmet M-1, New Type

The second helmet liner pattern is made of fiberglass. It is painted only on the outside. Optionally, the nurses could paint a military rank on the front or attach a metal rank insignia in a special hole. The insert includes a leather chinstrap.

Another option for head covering was the wool cap, known as the Jeep Cap. The double fold allowed the cap to be pulled over the ears for additional warmth. The cap could also be worn under the helmet.

Cap, Wool, Knit, M-1941
“Jeep Cap”

A knit wool cap with reinforced visor. The double fold can be pulled down over the ears for warmth.

Lieutenant Helen Eberhart Daley (front, center) with a group of nurses. The women are wearing M-1943 uniforms and various headgear - M1 helmets, helmet liners and wool caps. Source:


Due to the initial inability to provide nurses with suitable footwear for service in often challenging conditions, they had to wear men's service shoes, which were often too large. In the fall of 1942, the production of women's field shoes began, which, unlike the men's version, were narrower and did not have a reinforced toe. The shoes were made of leather with a sole consisting of a 2.5-centimeter (1-inch) heel. This type of footwear underwent a minor modification in 1943. The changes mainly affected the sole, where initially leather was replaced with a rubber sole, and then synthetic rubber.

During the winter, nurses used woven overshoes that reached halfway up the leg, thus providing protection against the cold and snow.

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Shoes, Service, Rubber Taps (Type II)

Men's ankle boots with smooth leather surface in red-brown color with rubber soles (reproduction).

Shoes, Field, Women's.png

Shoes, Field, Women’s

A 4 ½ -inch laced shoe, similar to the Army field shoe, in proper design for women. They have 1-inch rubber heels and full rubber soles.


Overshoes, Arctic, 4-Buckle

An Arctic type overshoe which will fit over the women’s field shoes, and comes halfway up the leg for protection against snow and cold. They are made of woven, water-repellent, cashmerette upper and have rubber soles. The size of the overshoe corresponds to the size of the shoes.

Nurse Lee Bavaro in M-1943 uniform and overshoes. Source:

The canvas leggings with side lacing, which were optional, protected shoes and trousers from dirt, water, prevented the penetration of toxic gas to the skin, and could also protect against mosquitoes. They were worn on each leg by lacing outwards, and a short strap was worn under the heel to give a better hold on the foot. At first, the standard men's M-1938 leggings were issued to all servicemen and servicewomen. Later a new type was created specifically for women, which differed from the men's only in height. At the beginning of the war they were produced in OD3 shade, but soon also in the darker OD7 color. The men's leggings were available in sizes 1 to 4, the women's only in sizes 1 to 3. Furthermore, the size was followed by capital letters, namely R, indicating regular height, or L, indicating the long version. The size of the leggings was distinguished on the basis of the circumference of the calf.

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Leggings, Canvas, M-1938, Dismounted

Men's leggings for field wear. To be worn with men's service shoes or women's field shoes. The pair pictured is in a light OD3 shade and size 2R [Regular]. The hooks and eyelets are made of blackened metal.

Leggings, Canvas, Women’s (OD7).png

Leggings, Canvas, Women’s

Women’s canvas leggings are similar to the leggings worn by the enlisted men. They are worn with field trousers for protection in the field and against insects.

In 1944, the production of a new type of M-1943 field footwear began. These were significantly taller boots with a harder sole, into which pants could be tucked, eliminating the need for leggings. The leather on the boots was smooth on the inside and rough on the outside. From the ankles up to the boots, a piece of leather was stitched, which was fastened on the outer side of the trouser leg with two straps. This fastening system was much easier and quicker than using leggings. The women's version of the boots was narrower and shorter than the men's. The boots were officially approved and introduced by the military at the end of 1944. They can be seen in photos from Belgium and Germany.

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Boots, Service, Combat, Women’s

Similar in design and construction to the combat service boots for men, these shoes are intended for heavy field usage for WACs and Nurses. They are made over the same last as women’s field shoes, and therefore provide comparable fit and comfort.

Nurse Pauline Denman Webb wearing combat service boots and an M-1943 jacket. The photo was taken in Japan in 1945. Source:


The M-1943 field uniform could be accessorized in cold weather with winter wool gloves, scarf or warm socks. Examples are shown and described in the photographs below.

Scarf, Wool, OD

Wool scarf in olive drab color, which could be worn in combination with field uniform in cold weather.

Mittens, Insert, Trigger Finger

A knit wool mitten with a superimposed index finger. They can be worn with women’s trigger finger shell mittens.

Anklets, Wool, Women's.png

Anklets, Wool, Women’s

A medium weight, all-wool sock, English rib design with cuff. The heel and toes are reinforced with cotton.

Gloves, Wool, OD

Knit wool gloves to be worn in cold weather.

Socks, Ski, Wool, Heavyweight

Heavy weight socks for use with cold weather footgear.

A nurse with the 51st Evacuation Hospital in St. Die, France in the winter of 1944/1945.

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