The famous "Cricket"

Used by the airborne men to indentify each other at night, when pressed it made a sound that was similar to the noise crickets make thus giving it it's name.

Veterans tell about their various equipment items...

Edgar Gamble
One piece of equipment that I was assigned to was the "bazooka" in which I had no experience whatsoever but was instructed on the spot how to load & fire but little on how to aim. The one and only incident that I was subjected to fire on a tank, (which turned out to be our own) wonder to this day where the rocket would have hit if it had been an enemy tank. Another piece of equipment that really "bugged me" was laying the steel matting for runways & of course while wearing that 9 lb steel helmet.

Paul R. Miller
When we were out of all material to put anyone under so we could operate, Capt. Ben Hull came up with the idea we would use ethyl chloride and we covered the eyes so they wouldn't get frozen and I put a mask on the patient a Captain who had a belly wound and with instruction from Hull I Squirted the ethyl chloried in the mask which put the patient under for a short time and when he appeared to be comming out of it I gave him another squirt until the operation was over. Ben Hull saved this mans life with this unusual method. I have never seen this used then or since. Hows that for meatball surgery. Ethyl chloride is a freezing agent and we always carried several bottles with us into combat. It was a quick fix to remove a small fragment without novocain as it deadened the area for a short time and the person could return to his company at once.

Joe Manzella
Shaved out of the helmet also cooked a chicken in it. I told you that the flame thrower didn't work and I had to toss it away.

Irving Smolens
I never used my helmet in which to boil water. The heat could have damaged its ability to deflect shrapnel. High powered bullets could penetrate the helmets despite the fact that they were made of steel. Mostly we shaved, when we shaved, with cold water. If we boiled water it was in empty gallon cans. We used the tar paper cases in which our 105 mm shells came encased as fire logs. They burned without smoke. We started the fire with gasoline and fed it with surplus powder charges from the shells. The shells came with 7 powder charges the largest of which was the number one charge. Being light artillery we were fairly close to the front lines therefore we seldom fired anything more than charge three. That left us many individual bags of surplus powder charges that we disposed of by burning them.
Lawrence Bennet
I started my Infantry training in Texas. We first trained with the 03-Springfield rifle used during WWI. It was a bolt action rifle. It was later replaced later by the M1 Garand a semi-automatic rifle. I served in a heavy weapons company and we used the 30 calibre machine gun which was also used in ww1. A good weapon but not as good as German machine guns which had a faster firing rate Other equipment included a field pack to carry our mess kit, toilet articles and a shelter half. The shelter half was half of a pup tent and one shared the pup tent with another GI. Of course we had the helmet liner an steel helmet. The worst piece of equipment was the gas mask We were never without it and it was so difficult on a long march, slung over your shoulder and alongside and under your left arm pit. Real misery. We carried all through our training. When we went overseas it was taken from us and we did not see them again.
Ed Walsh
Most of our equipment was real good . I can only think of two that were not the best. One was the machine pistol " grease Gun" it was okay for very close range but not as good as the German "Burp gun". The other was the carbine that all privates, Pfc‚s and corporals in the artillery carried. Not very accurate even at close range. Later models were better but we never had any of those. So many privates and corporals picked up the M1 Garand that were left behind from dead infantry men and carried them. Many of the Sergeants that carried a 45 pistol also had an M1 if they could find one. I had an M1 for a couple months but got tired of carrying it and went back to the carbine. This was because I had to walk so many miles every day delivering messages. I gave the one I had to a Staff Sergeant that was a forward observer because he really needed it. I only heated water in the helmet to shave with but I have seen infantrymen heat food in them.
Joe T. Layne
I really do not remember very much about equipment but I can tell you that we did not have very many eggs, except those made from powdered eggs. Our food was for the most part average. As you most likely know we had several types of rations. The main ration was the "C" ration that came in cans. There was the biscuit, hash and stew. The biscuits were very hard. If we could have hit the Germans with them it would have been all over. Later in the war they had some new ones but I do not recall what they were. Our clothes were very good for the time. Not as good as the troops have today but for the time very good. Our rifles were about the best. The M1 was a great rifle and the Germans could not match it. The Germans had better artillery at start of the war but we caught up with them. Their tanks were better than ours. That is about all I can recall.
John MacAuliffe
Most of the infantrymen 'on line' threw away the gas masks they were just one item they needn't be bothered with, and burdened with slung around their body with all the standard equipment I carried as a mortar-man. I carried 6 rounds of HE light .81 mm. mortar rounds in a pouch carried over the shoulder. I could not place the pouch over my head with one compartment in front and one over my back. It wouldn't fit with the pack in the way. It weighed 42 pounds(6 rounds). Walking through a foot of snow with galoshes over combat boots was a burden

Archie Ross
In the past I think I made it obvious that I had little regard for most of the officers with whom I had contact. I saw our Captain transporting whiskey in his Jeep when we could hardly walk. We had almost no tools to clean our weapons in the field. Special gloves were issued with a trigger finger; we never saw them; they were "short stopped" by the rear echelon. On the other hand; we were sent back to Eupen, Belgium on '48 hour pass' where we entered a tent at one end, and came out the other shaved, showered, and fresh, and with new clothes! We always had enough ammunition. Many did a good job. I don't remember anyone abusing his equipment on purpose. Remember I was combat infantry. We carried everything we owned on our backs. I carried Cadbury's chocolates, newspaper, socks, blanket, sometimes a shelter half, sometimes a sleeping bag; only what we needed to survive. There was little "cooking" in a helmet, I never saw that. Generally, we couldn't have a fire, because it would give away our position. I'm sure you're familiar with the "Molotov Cocktail": a bottle filled with gasoline, and stuffed with a rag; we did the same with " C" ration cans cut in half (only they were filled with dirt, and gasoline), and we did the same with an ordinary candle. We used these things for light, and warmth, depending on the situation. If we were enclosed for some hours, we would emerge black faced, because of the smoke emitted from these 'devices'. I think I shaved once from my helmet, and I'm not sure about that. I think that was a 'movie contrivance'. We used small empty cans with stones in them, attached by wire, strung out in front of our 'line' to alert us if anything was moving 'out there.'

Jerry Bartling
My father drove a light tank in the 11th Armoured Div. (with a short barrel howitzer). I don't know what he liked or disliked about it, but a general impression I have is that most tankers thought the German equipment was better overall, although the US tanks were a little faster and more manoeuvrable. In the two letters I sent you, he mentions the Panzer Faust, which seemed to worry a lot of tankers. As told by Tom Bartling Jerry's son.
 
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