The 503rd PRCT

Here’s some more lesser known Paratroopers. This time the 503rd PIR in the Pacific theater. Bet you guys didn’t even know there were paratroopers in the Pacific. Most of these photos are from the Noemfoor operation but 1 or 2 might be the Nadzab. Check out the M1942 uniforms in the jungle and unique rigger pouches.

Here is a very nice shot of the unique rigger pouches the 503rd had made for them. The ones above apear to be for the 20 round Thompson magazines which seems a little odd as he’s holding a Garand. Below it looks like they all have the M1 Carbine version of the pouch. Same structure just smaller.

Here is probably the best shot of them. Two five cell pouches with a single flap cover in OD7 canvas.

The typical rigger or AAF pouches were also used it seems. Also check out the M1918 or Mark I trench knife.

Here is a either a rifle grenadiers or at least an assistant to a rifle grenadier’s load. I’m not sure where he intended to carry his bayonet as I don’t see a scabbard anywhere. He may have had it attached to his musette somehow. And another Mk1 knife. These WWI holdovers were issued out to the early paratroopers prior to the adoption of the famous M3 knife. The most striking thing though are the custom pouches. They honestly seem to me to be a better pattern that the typical AAF made (and rigger copied) ones we see on the 82nd and 101st as it hold the enblocs individually and more securely. Less likely to dump them while trying to get one out as well as not rattling.

Loaded for Bear - Soldier Systems Daily
Memories from the Pacific Page 7

I can only imagine how uncomfortable it must have been to wear the M1942 jump uniform in the tropics. The material is pretty thick and tightly woven. After the second jump and Noemfoor the regiment switched to either just the regular HBT uniform or the HBT coveralls. As well a just using standard gear. Below is in the 503rd getting ready to jump on to Corregidor and you can see they are not even wearing the classic jump boots any more. Some were as you can see in the background but many were just wearing regular service boots.

503rd PIR jump at Nadzab, New Guinea 1943(what would they have  used/carried?) - MILITARY HISTORY DISCUSSIONS - U.S. Militaria Forum

The 503rd PIR/PRCT has a really interesting history and combat record and is definitely worth reading more. They actually jumped onto the little spec of an island that is Corregidor. To give you an idea of how hard that is they could only do about half of a stick or six paratroopers at a time then the plane would have to circle around and do the other.

Here’s some of the links were I got the photos.
The navigation here doesn’t always work (its an old site) so here is the main and sub page links
https://www.thedropzone.org/index_back.html
https://www.thedropzone.org/pacific/Default.html
https://www.thedropzone.org/scrapbook/scrap01.html

There’s a lot of info on this site but it tends to be scattered around so you will have to do some digging
https://503prct.org go to the bottom where it says “still photos”
https://corregidor.org/BEA503/navigation/bea_alt.html some articles and photos
https://www.corregidor.org/ is the “master site” apparently and links to the other ones above among other things.

They don’t seem to have a page so you will have to use a search to find the 503rd photos
https://www.awm.gov.au

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