top of page

Personal Equipment

(1941 - 1945)


The M-1936 field bags were designed in the late 1930s to resemble British officer's bags from the Great War period. They were an alternative to the M-1910 and M-1928 haversacks that were outdated and bulky in many situations. The bags of the new design were intended primarily for officers, vehicle crews and airborne units which at that time were still in the experimental stage. Due to their officer status, the nurses of the Army Nurse Corps also received M-1936 bags.

Bag, Canvas, Field, OD, M-1936 - Front.p
Bag, Canvas, Field, OD, M-1936 -

Bag, Canvas, Field, OD, M-1936

A small canvas bag to carry personal equipment in the field which can be worn over the shoulder when using a field bag carrying strap or attached to M-1936 belt suspenders.

The M-1936 bags were adapted to be worn as backpacks with the new M-1936 belt suspenders. Special carrying straps have also been designed for carrying them as bags with a single shoulder strap. Hence the colloquial name of M-1936 bags - "Musette Bag". Musette means "bag" or "haversack" in French.

Strap, Carrying, Bag, Field.png

Strap, Carrying, Bag, Field

A strap used to carry the M-1936 OD field canvas bag.

In M-1936 bags, women carried overnight needs, such as Kleenex, towel, soap, toothpaste and toothbrush, cosmetics, hairbrush and comb, change of underwear, Kotex, mess kit, bandage scissors, flashlight, matches or lighter fluid, scout knife, can opener, writing material, candy and cigarettes. In the rear pocket with a snap closure, for example, a folded service cap or garrison cap could be packed. Raincoats were also often worn under the bag's flap.

Packing Suggestions for Nurses 1.jpg
Packing Suggestions for Nurses 2.jpg

Musette bags, like most American World War II equipment, were produced in the following colors:

  • #OD3 (khaki)

At the beginning of the war, bags in OD3 shade were very often produced in a "rubberized" version. An additional layer of rubber sewn between the layers of fabric was supposed to make the bag waterproof.

  • Transitional (OD3 mixed with OD7)

At the turn of 1942 and 1943 it was decided to change the color of the American equipment from light OD3 to dark green OD7. However, many manufacturers still had huge amounts of OD3 material in their warehouses, which resulted in a mix of both of these colors, also found in M-1936 bags. Most of these types of bags reached Europe in the late summer of 1944.

  • #OD7 (dark green)

The implementation of the equipment in the OD7 color was originally planned for 1943, but due to the stretched supply lines and the huge size of the American army, dark green  equipment began to arrive in Europe around mid-1944. OD7 equipment has never completely replaced the OD3 gear. By the end of the war, the vast majority of units were still equipped with older equipment. The OD7 M-1936 bags featured a tab with two grommets for attaching an entrenching tool, for example. However, there is no evidence that this model found its way to any unit during the war.

251st Station Hospital nurses disembark

It should be added that, like other types of gear, the M-1936 bags were also produced in Great Britain as part of the production to facilitate the equipment of American units stationed in England and to allow the British government to at least patially pay off the debts incurred in the USA. Equipment made in England is marked as "British Made''.

Bag, Canvas, Field, OD, M-1936 - Rubberi
Bag, Canvas, Field, OD, M-1936 British M
Bag, Canvas, Field, OD, M-1936 OD7.png




Bag, Canvas, Field, OD, M-1936
(other types)

(1) transitional, (2) "British Made'' and (3) OD7 M-1936 bags.

Strap, Carrying, Bag, Field


M-1936 belts, commonly known as "pistol belts", were introduced into production in the second half of the 1930s in order to replace the old M-1912 belts. The M-1936 belt, like its predecessor, was intended for servicemen who were not required to carry an ammunition belt. Such soldiers include officers, vehicle crews, mortar and machine gun crews, and medical personnel (including nurses).

M-1936 Pistol Belt OD3.png

Belt, Pistol or Revolver, M-1936

M-1936 pistol belt in OD3 shade is used to carry certain individual equipment. The upper row of holes is used for attaching the M-1936 suspenders, and the holes in the lower part for attaching equipment with hooks, such as canteens covers, first aid packet pouches, shovels and axes.

Army nurse at basic training wearing OD7

Each of the M-1936 belts is equipped with holes for attaching individual gear equipped with the M-1910 hook. In the case of Army nurses, it was usually a canteen and a first aid packet pouch. The photos from the basic training also show women with M-1943 intrenching shovels and M-1910 intrenching axes attached to their pistol belts. The M-1936 belts were designed to allow for length adjustment.

Due to their structure, the M-1936 belts were made only in OD3 and OD7, and their production in the dark olive drab lasted until the 1960s. Like most American equipment, pistol belts were also manufactured in Great Britain.

M-1936 Pistol Belt  OD7.png

Belt, Pistol or Revolver, M-1936

M-1936 pistol belt in OD7 shade.





The M-1936 suspenders entered production in 1936. They were designed to support the main belt and allow the M-1936 bag to be worn in the form of a backpack. It was possible thanks to the D-rings attached to the front and the straps with metal clips. The M-1936 suspenders were produced only in OD3 shade, and both American and British companies were responsible for their production.

Suspenders, Belt, M-1936.png
Suspenders, Belt, M-1936 - British Made.

Suspenders, Belt, M-1936

M-1936 suspenders used for carrying the M-1936 bag on the back and supporting the M-1936 belt. They have adjustable straps and clips for attaching a belt and a bag. The Army nurses used the suspenders mainly during basic training and while traveling from one location to another.

The women serving in the Army Nurse Corps used the suspenders mainly during basic training. Long hikes with equipment were part of the nurses’ training. Women were required to carry pistol belts and suspenders with attached M-1936 bag, canteen, etc. M-1936 suspenders were quite inconvenient to use and had a tendency to hurt the wearer’s shoulders. In such situations, women put woolen gloves under the harness straps.

Training for duty in the India-Burma the
Lt. Claire Landorf, of Youngstown, Ohio,

Another situation where you may notice suspenders in use by nurses is when preparing for sea or ground transportation (movements overseas, relocation of the hospital). During their daily work, nurses did not carry any equipment with them – it was kept in their tents.

American Army nurses arrive in Australia
American nurses land on the Normandy bea
M-1936 Bag, M-1936 Suspenders, M-1936 Be

Suspenders, Belt, M-1936
(with attached M-1936 belt and bag)

The photo shows the correct way of attaching the M-1936 bag to the M-1936 belt and the M-1936 suspenders.


Each man and woman serving in the Army received a small personal dressing with a cover which was then attached to the M-1936 belt. The contents of the first-aid packet (bandage, disinfectant) were intended for the owner, not another injured person.

In 1904, at the request of the U.S. Army, a new type of personal first-aid kit was developed. Produced mainly by the Chicago-based company "Bauer & Black", the dressings remained sterile thanks to a brass can, which was opened – like canned food – by pulling the ring.

For newly developed dressings, a special M-1910 first-aid packet pouch was also designed. It closed with two snaps, which allowed for quick and convenient access to the dressing. Covers of this type were still produced in 1942, so they are often seen on nurses' equipment in the early stages of the war.

Pouch, First-Aid Packet, M-1910.png

Pouch, First-Aid Packet, M-1910

The M-1910 first-aid packet pouch was fastened with two snaps and was frequently issued to servicemen and servicewomen at the beginning of World War II.

In 1922, the Medical Equipment Laboratory, under the Medical Field Service School in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, began improving existing dressings. For the new type of dressings, a new cover was also designed. The M-1924 first-aid packet pouch closed with a single LTD ("Lift-The-Dot") snap.

Pouch, First-Aid Packet, M-1924.png

Pouch, First-Aid Packet, M-1924

The M-1924 pouch, fastened with a single lift-the-dot snap, was used to store the Carlisle Model dressing.

Unfortunately, the deteriorating situation of the American economy and the Great Depression of 1929 caused cuts. The mass production of new dressings and pouches only started for good in 1940.

Army Nurse Corps officers being field tr

Due to the site of development, new dressings were quickly referred to as the "Carlisle Model". Early batches of dressings that were produced prior to the fall of 1941 contained sterile bandages and no sulfanilamide. At the end of 1941, a packet of sulfanilamide powder was added to the first-aid kit. An embossed inscription on the back of the casing was supposed to inform about the disinfectant contained in the dressing. In practice, however, many manufacturers did not imprint the markings.

In 1942, the imprintings were abandoned and all packets containing sulfanilamide started to be painted red – not only to inform about the contents, but also to help soldiers find a dressing on the battlefield. At the same time, some of the olive-drab dressings in the warehouses began to be repainted red.

First-Aid Packet, Carlisle Model.png

First-Aid Packet, Carlisle Model

Carlisle Model personal first-aid packet issued to all men and women serving in the Army. The tin packaging contained a bandage and disinfecting sulfanilamide in the form of a powder or tablets. Initially, the packets were dark olive green, later they started to be painted red.

In 1942, the crystalline sulfanilamide was replaced with a separate package of 8 half-gram tablets. It was placed along with the first-aid packet in a newly developed, larger M-1942 pouch. The new covers were initially produced in the OD3 shade and from 1943 also in the dark OD7 shade. In addition, the M-1942 pouches were mass-produced for the American army in England.

Pouch, First-Aid Packet, M-1942.png

Pouch, First-Aid Packet, M-1942

The M-1942 first-aid packet pouch was larger than its predecessor. In addition to the metal casing, it also contained 8 sulfadiazine tablets. The photo shows examples made in the USA in OD3 (left) and OD7 (center) and in the UK (right).

When the United States joined the war, the government was forced to save precious metals. First-aid packets made of brass, copper, steel, and later also of tin alloy, had to be replaced with a different material. The first solution were dressings packed in white waxed cardboard, developed in the summer of 1940 (designated as Small, First-Aid Dressing, U.S. Army, Carlisle Model). However, they did not enter into large-scale use.

Small, First-Aid Dressing, U.S. Army, Ca

In 1943, a new, cheaper method of packing dressings was developed. Laminated paper and aluminum foil were used for wrapping the contents. The outer packaging made of waxed cardboard was of different colors: light brown, dark brown, dark green and black. Dressings packed in paper and foil were placed in waxed cardboard boxes for additional protection. They included a bandage in white (designated as Small First-Aid Dressing, U.S. Army Carlisle Model) or brown color (designated as Packet, First-Aid Field Brown Dressing, U.S. Army Carlisle Model).

Carlisle First-Aid Packets.png
Pouch, First-Aid Packet


During the Second World War, several types of canteens were used in the U.S. Army, starting with those that still remembered the previous conflict – the Great War. The canteen was used to store water, but the cup itself could also be used for other purposes, like cooking or teeth brushing.

Lt. Mary Gogel of Dale.JPG
Flight nurse on Guadalcanal brushing her

In 1909, the U.S. Army started developing a new canteen to replace the M-1902 model, which was not well suited to modern equipment. The production of new aluminum canteens was started in 1910 by A.G.M. Co. The first canteens of the new type had no markings and they differed in the chain attachment and the shape of the cap from the later produced M-1910s.

In 1912, the production of aluminum canteens began with a new type of cap, developed by Rock Island Arsenal. These canteens were still deprived of markings which appeared only in 1918.

Canteen, M-1910 & Cup, M-1910.png

Canteen, M-1910 & Cup, M-1910

An M-1910 aluminum canteen (dated 1918) with a second type of cap and an M-1910 aluminum cup (dated 1918) with a characteristic rounded edge.

The M-1910 canteen and cup were worn in the M-1910 cover in a light shade of OD3. The covers made prior to 1942 had a vertical seam along the entire length of the rear section and no side seam. The belt hook was made of brass. For insulation purposes, the inside of the cover was padded with gray wool.

Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910 - Fro
Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910 - Sid
Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910 - Bac

Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910
(prior to 1942)

An M-1910 canteen cover dated 1918. In the rear you can see a characteristic long seam and a brass hook. There is no seam on the side of the cover.

The production of M-1910 canteens made entirely of aluminum became problematic with the US entry into the Second World War. Aluminum in large amounts was more needed in other areas of the war industry, such as aviation. Hence, the government began looking for a substitute for aluminum. In 1942, the production of M-1910 canteens made of steel and covered with black or blue enamel began. The aluminum cap was replaced with a plastic one. Unfortunately, enamel canteens turned out to be very unresistant and the enamel had a tendency to fall into the water contained in the canteen.

Army nurses stand in line for chow in Ha

In parallel to the enameled M-1910 canteens, a new design was developed – the M-1942. The new canteen, characterized by a horizontal seam, was made in four variants:


  • Aluminum (produced since 1942)

  • Stainless steel (produced since 1942)

  • Enamel (produced only in 1942). It was discontinued due to the chipping enamel.

  • Experimental version made of yellow plastic (produced in small quantities from 1942 to 1944). It was discontinued, because the plastic very often cracked in the field conditions.

Canteen, M-1910 & Cup, M-1942.png

Canteen, M-1910 & Cup, M-1942

M-1910 aluminium canteen with plastic cap and M-1942 aluminium cup. The set dates from 1945.

Canteen, Stainless Steel & Cup, Stainles

Canteen, Stainless Steel & Cup, Stainless Steel

Stainless steel canteen and cup. The canteen is closed with a plastic cap, and the cup has a sharp edge that distinguishes it from the previous M-1910 model.

Canteen, M-1942.png
Canteen, M-1942 - Bottom.png

Canteen, M-1942

A black enameled canteen from 1942. Their production was stopped due to the chipping enamel that fell and poisoned the water contained in the canteen. Sharp chippings were also formed on enamel cups.

In many M-1942 canteens manufactured before 1943 you can see flat plastic caps. After 1943, these caps were recessed.


Canteen Cap

Two patterns of M-1942 canteen caps. On the left, a flat top from a canteen produced before 1943. On the right side, a recessed top from a canteen manufactured after 1943.

The M-1942 canteens were also issued with the M-1910 covers, but those produced in 1942 or later, had a shortened back seam and an additional seam on the side.

Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910 - pos
Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910 - pos
Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910 - pos

Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910
(after 1942)

An M-1910 cover in OD3 shade dated 1942. At the back, you can see a shortened seam that ends above the hook and a new seam on the side.

In 1943, the dark green OD7 canteen covers began to come into use. Their characteristic feature is the wide, rectangular tab which reinforces the hook. In previous models, this part looks more like a square

Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910 - OD7
Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910 - OD7
Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910 - OD7

Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910 (OD7)
(after 1943)

An M-1910 canteen cover from 1945 in OD7 shade. The tab reinforcing the hook at the rear is much larger than in previous models.

Between 1943 and 1945, canteen covers were also produced in England. The British Made model featured four rows of vertical seams in the front section. Covers made in the United States had seven rows of seams.

Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910 (Brit
Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910 (Brit
Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910 (Brit

Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910

("British Made")
(after 1943)

M-1910 cover from 1944 in OD3 shade. This model was produced in England. It has four rows of stitching on the front and is stamped "British Made" on the inside.

Despite the ongoing production of many variants of the M-1942 canteen, the M-1910 aluminum canteens continued to be manufactured until the end of the war (after the aluminium ban was lifted), and even later – in the 1950s and 1960s.


In 1909, the U.S. Army began working on the modernization of the M-1874 mess kit. As a result, a modified version of the mess kit made of aluminum was developed. The newly developed mess kit (Can, Meat, M-1910) consisted of a pan with a handle and a lid that could also act as a makeshift plate.

Can, Meat, M-1910.png

Can, Meat, M-1910

An M-1910 aluminum mess kit from World War I period.

18 Aug 1943-Sicily, Italy U.S. Army nurs
1944- U.S. Army nurses line up to wash t

When the American Expeditionary Forces reached France in 1918, soldiers began to complain en masse about the lid of the mess kit, which, due to its flat shape, made it difficult to put food on. In the same year, the production of modified M-1910 meat cans was launched – Can, Meat, M-1918, equipped with a deeper lid.

In 1932, the U.S. Army Quartermaster decided to modernize the outdated M-1918 and M-1910 mess kits. The new mess kit named Can, Meat, M-1932, still made of aluminum, was to have a much deeper pan and a more convenient clasp. Due to the large stocks of previous mess kit models, the production of the M-1932 did not start on a mass scale before the outbreak of World War II.

Can, Meat, M-1932.png

Can, Meat, M-1932

An M-1932 mess kit made of aluminum. The pan and plate are much deeper. The handle of the mess kit resembles the one used in World War I, but it is dated 1941.

At the beginning of 1942, due to the need to save valuable aluminum, a decision was made to manufacture new mess kits from other materials. In the quartermaster catalog, new canteens made of stainless steel, galvanized steel and a steel-tin alloy were named Can, Meat, M-1942. In terms of appearance, the new mess kits did not differ much from the M-1932. The only visible difference was the pan handle, which in the previous mess kits was identical to the one used in M-1910 and M-1918 models. At the end of 1942, the restrictions on rationing aluminum were loosened, which also triggered the production of M-1942 mess kits made of this metal. The production of the M-1942 mess kits was continued after the end of the war until the 1980s and 1990s.

Can, Meat, M-1942.png

Can, Meat, M-1942

An M-1942 mess kit dated 1944 made of stainless steel.

Depending on the period and place of service, nurses received a specific type of mess kit. At the beginning of the war, the first-war models (M-1910, M-1918) and the inter-war M-1932 variant were very popular. After 1942, the M-1942 model was also issued.

A Signal Corps photo showing two Army nu

In 1926, the U.S. Army introduced new cutlery to replace the M-1910 nickel-brass forks, spoons and knives designed before the Great War. They differed from their predecessors by a hole at the end of the handle, which made it possible to hang them on the mess kit's handle during cleaning.

Knife, M-1910.png

Knife, M-1910

An M-1910 aluminum knife without a hole in the handle.

As in the case of the mess kits, the stock of M-1910 cutlery was so large that the mass production of the M-1926 version did not start before 1941. In addition, in 1934, the quartermaster ordinance 28-15 ordered that all M-1910 cutlery be modified to the M-1926 standard (this modification was supposed to involve drilling holes in the handles of forks, spoons and knives). Very few of them underwent the ordered "renovation".

Fork, Spoon and Knife, M-1926.png

Fork, Spoon and Knife, M-1926

Complete M-1926 cutlery set. The fork and spoon are made of stainless steel. The knife has an aluminum handle.

Bowman Field (3).jpg
Nurses wash their own mess-kits after ea

Fun fact: In the early stages of the war, U.S. troops going overseas were still partially equipped with M-1910 meat cans and unmodified M-1910 cutlery.

In September 1941, the materials for the M-1926 cutlery production were changed on the basis of the new JQD-2 specification. Aluminum (in the knife handle) and an alloy of brass and nickel were replaced with plastic and a steel-tin alloy.

Knife, M-1926.png

Knife, M-1926

An M-1926 knife with a plastic, black handle.

At the end of 1942, the industry's access to aluminum was increased. The production of M-1926 knives with an aluminum handle was resumed. In 1943, another JQD 349 specification was introduced, replacing the steel-tin alloy with silver-plated steel. In 1944, the production of stainless steel cutlery began on the basis of the JQD 2B specification. After the war, the production of the M-1926 cutlery continued in an almost unchanged form (the exception was the knife, the blade of which was changed to double-sided in 1950).



After the experiences of World War I, in which chemical weapons were used on a large scale, exercises in gas mask use and protection against chemical attack were an important part of basic training for all men and women entering the US Army. The Geneva Protocol of 1925 introduced a ban on the use of chemical and biological weapons in war, but it did not prohibit the production, storage or transfer of such weapons. Fortunately, neither Germany, Japan nor the Allied countries used combat gases in combat, but this did not mean that the soldiers were sent to the front unprepared. Every man and woman in the US military was equipped with a gas mask.

1941- Gas-Masked U.S. Army Nurses during

Among the masks used by Army Nurse Corps members, the most popular ones were the M1, M2, M3 and M4 series Service Gas Masks as well as M3 and M3A1 Diaphragm Gas Masks. Masks marked as Service were issued to ordinary soldiers and provided protection against irritants of the respiratory tract, mucous membranes, eyes and skin. Masks marked as Diaphragm were intended for officers, non-commissioned officers, telephone operators, armored crews and other persons whose duties involve speech. The diaphragm gas mask is similar to the service gas mask except that a diaphragm is placed in the facepiece just beneath the eyepieces to facilitate voice transmission. In the original photos you can see that both types of masks were used by nurses.

M2A2 Service Gas Mask.png


M3 Diaphragm Gas Mask.png


Service Gas Mask vs. Diaphragm Gas Mask

U.S. Army service gas mask for ordinary troops (1) and the officer’s version with an additional diaphragm facilitating voice transmission (2).

The inter-war series of M1 masks was largely based on World War I models. The M1 and M1A1 masks were made of stockinet-covered rubber and were produced in five different sizes. In 1934, a modified M1A2 gas mask in universal size was introduced into service. It was issued to nurses serving in the Army Nurse Corps at the beginning of the war (1940-1942)

Susan M Vedder ready for gas chamber dri
Cecilie Petit L and Isabelle Chiapperini

The M1 series masks were issued with six different types of carriers: MI, MII, MIII, MIIA1, MIV and MIVA1. In the context of the early training of Army nurses, we will focus on the last model – MIVA1. One strap of the bag was placed over the right shoulder, the other was fastened around the waist. The carrier with the mask was worn at the waist level on the left side. During use, the mask was removed from the bag while the canister was left inside. Both elements were connected to each other by a hose.

MIVA1 Gas Mask Bag.png

MIVA1 "Kidney" Gas Mask Carrier

A bag for the M1 or M2 series service gas mask. It is marked Army Service Gas Mask.

The M1 mask series was obsoleted in 1944.

In 1939, the U.S. Army developed a lightweight training mask with an all-rubber facepiece – Training Gas Mask, M1. It proved so popular and effective that the mask was adopted as standard in 1941 and received the designation M2. It was the first mask which did not have a stockinet cloth covering thanks to the use of improved, age-resistant rubber. The M2 mask was available in three sizes: small, universal and large.

M2A1 Service Gas Mask.png

M2A1 Service Gas Mask

M2 series gas mask with characteristic outlet valve in the shape of an egg.

M2A2 Service Gas Mask.png

M2A2 Service Gas Mask

M2 series service gas mask dated 1942 in characteristic gray color.

Outlet valve enhancements led to the M2A1 in 1941, M2A2 in 1942, and M2A3 in 1944. The outlet valve on the M2A1 was flat, egg-shaped, and grilleless. The M2A2 and M2A3 variants had a round outlet valve with concentric circle grillwork. In 1949, the M2 service gas mask model was declared obsolete.

Training Flight Procedures - Army Air Fo

The M2 mask was very effective in providing protection, but weighed about 5 pounds, which made it bulky and inconvenient to use. Another disadvantage was the eyepiece lenses which fogged up quickly. These problems were to be solved by the new M3 lightweight service gas mask which was introduced in 1942.

M3 Lightweight Service Gas Mask.png

M3 Lightweight Service Gas Mask

Lightweight M3 series service gas mask. This specific example is made of black synthetic rubber (neoprene).


The M3 mask weighed 3.5 pounds and had a special nosecup inside to prevent the lenses from fogging up. The weight was reduced due to a new, lighter filter container and a shorter hose between the mask and the canister. M3 masks were made of gray rubber and black neoprene (synthetic rubber).

Army nurses with M3 Lightweight Service
Two unidentified Nurses belonging to the

The M3 series of gas masks (and the later M4 series) required a new bag due to the shorter hose length. The M6 carrier closed from the top with three LTDs ("Lift-The-Dot") and was marked "Army Lightweight Service Mask" on the front. Inside, it had several compartments for accessories to repair and seal the mask. At the beginning of the war, the M6 bag was produced in khaki (OD3), which was changed to a dark green shade (OD7) in late 1943.

M6 Gas Mask Bag - OD3.png
M6 Gas Mask Bag - OD7.png



M6 Gas Mask Bag

M6 gas mask bag in OD3 (1) and OD7 (2). It was used to carry gas masks from the M3 and M4 series.

In 1944, a modified M3 service gas mask was introduced, designated M3A1, with an improved outlet valve. During World War II, more than 13 million M3 masks were produced. It was used until 1949 when it was officially declared obsolete.

Army nurses leaning on a Jeep GPA Amphib

In the winter of 1944, it turned out that the neoprene used in M3 masks is unusable in cold weather – the material hardened, while the natural rubber remained elastic. By summer 1945, all M3 black service gas masks in Europe had been replaced by lightweight M4 gas masks made of olive drab natural rubber.

M4 Lightweight Service Gas Mask.png

M4 Lightweight Service Gas Mask

Lightweight M4 service gas mask made of natural olive drab rubber.

Although production of the M4 series began at the end of 1942, it did not see larger scale production until the turn of 1944 and 1945. At the start of the war, the M4 series only served to fill a gap in the M3 mask production, which faced various problems. The full potential of the M4 mask was only appreciated after the disadvantages of neoprene were discovered.

In 1945, a modified M4 gas mask was introduced, designated the M4A1. It featured an improved outlet valve. The M4 mask was used until 1949 when it was officially declared obsolete.

Lt. Barbara Buckley, 1943, after a whiff

Army nurses were given gas masks before all major operations, just like regular soldiers. However, it was a piece of equipment that was thrown away quickly. The men wanted to minimize the equipment they had to carry. Women preferred to use gas mask bags to store other items, such as cosmetics.


In 1939, the U.S. Army introduced the first fully brass angle flashlights. These flashlights were named TL-122 A (although the earliest variants were simply called and marked TL-122), and their design was based on Eveready flashlights – Model No. 2694 (for industrial use) and No. 2697 (intended for U.S. scouts). Eveready flashlights entered production in 1927. The "TL" abbreviation is not explained in any document, but according to many collectors it simply means "Torch Light". The TL-122 A flashlights were painted entirely in olive green except for the switch and the bottom cap, which were finished in black. Sometimes the flashlight glass cover was also covered with black paint. The flashlight was powered by two BA-30 batteries.

Flashlight, TL-122 A.png

Flashlight, TL-122 A

An early model of the TL-122 A angle flashlight (left) and its prototype – Eveready flashlight Model No. 2697 (right) used by American Scouts.

Due to the high production costs, the army quickly began to look for a cheaper alternative to the TL-122 A flashlights. Thus, in September 1943, the TL-122 B flashlights made of plastic (specifically bakelite) came into use. Unlike the TL-122 A flashlights, the TL-122 B was additionally equipped with a spare bulb holder, located in the flashlight cap.

Flashlight, TL-122 B.png

Flashlight, TL-122 B

The second model of the flashlight with the designation TL-122 B introduced at the end of 1943. The TL-122 B flashlights were made of bakelite and had a compartment for a spare bulb.

The low quality and sensitivity of the plastic used in TL-122 B forced the quartermaster to modernize the flashlights again. In April 1944, an improved version of the TL-122 B, named TL-122 C, entered service. It was made of improved plastic and equipped with a seal to protect the battery from getting wet.

An Army nurse adjusts an oxygen mask on a patient's face at the 11th Field Hospital near t

At the end of 1944, the last flashlight from the TL-122 series entered production – the D model. The TL-122 D had a longer base than the previous versions, a compartment with blue, red and clear filters, and a frame for the lens area to attach the filters, used for example to regulate traffic. The TL-122 D flashlights are not really seen in the original wartime photos.


Transport bags were used to pack uniforms, equipment and personal items. During World War II, we can distinguish two different types of bags used by the U.S. Army: Barrack Bag and Duffel Bag.

The Barrack Bag was an approximately 25" x 38" cloth bag. Two identical bags were issued to men and women who entered the Army service before 1943. One was marked with the letter "A" and the other with the letter "B" near the bottom seam of the bag. In addition, the bags were also marked with the name, surname and serial number of the owner.

Lt. Freida Margaret Margie Himelwright p
95th Evac Hospital setup, 1944 or 45. No

Before the United States entered the war and during the first years of the conflict, the M-1929 bags were issued. They were made of blue denim and tied with two white cords. Owner details were painted in white.

Army Nurse 2nd Lt. Mary H. Fischer.jpg

In 1942, the denim bag was replaced with a new barrack bag pattern made of olive drab fabric. The new bag was marked Bag, Barrack, OD. Early bags were produced in a lighter shade of OD3 and those issued after 1943 were dark green (OD7).

Bag, Barrack, OD3.png


Bag, Barrack, OD.png


Bag, Barrack, OD

Two examples of the Barrack Bag: (1) an early OD3 model dated 1942. (2) a post-1943 olive drab bag dated 1944. Both belonged to Army nurses – their names and serial numbers are stenciled on the fabric.

The new version of the bag was also issued in the amount of two pieces. Like the denim model, the OD bag was tied with a white cord. Owner details were painted in black or white.

The biggest change in the appearance of the transport bag took place in 1943, when the Duffel Bag was introduced. From then on, the garments were stored and transported in the Duffel Bag, and the Barrack Bag served as a laundry bag.

Duffel Bag.png

Bag, Duffel

A dark green transport bag dated 1944. In the lower part it is marked "U.S." 

The duffel bag was larger and more durable compared to its predecessor. It was made of dark green canvas. It had a cylindrical shape, a sewn in round bottom and an open top with four grommets. A metal loop stuck out from one of the grommets and was used to close the bag. In the half of its length, the bag had a carrying handle and a shoulder strap ending with a snap hook. A canvas flap was pulled over the contents of the bag, and then all three grommets were nested onto the metal loop. Finally, the snap hook was clipped to the loop and the duffel bag was ready for transport. You could also put a padlock on the loop.

Lt. Betty Carler in august she p
Army Nurse Lt. Beverly Wiggins of Kansas
bottom of page