Guam: Photo Analysis

The 3rd Marine Division and 1 Provisional Marine Brigade wore rather basic uniforms and equipment in the battle. So much so it can be hard to differentiate them from the soldiers of the 77th Infantry Division in a lot of the photos. Virtually all wear the standard P41 HBT utilities and most discarded their leggings. Interestingly even in photos of the landings there are few leggings seen. Most units wore them during the landing but would discard them as time went on. Additionally there are very few helmet covers seen. I’m not sure why but they are few and far between it. They do seem to appear mostly with the 3rd MarDiv and hardly with the 1st PMB. Some Marines did make use of various nets though. Even the classic 3/4″ square of ETO fame makes an appearance. And chinstraps are down, either unbuckled or buckled but never up around the back. The web gear is also very basic on Guam. I don’t see any thing unique that would stand out or be unique to the battle. I would have expected since the 4th Marines were former Raiders that there would be more customized or unique equipment but they don’t. It seems that first aid pouch availability was pretty mixed or spotty though. There seems to be no consistency. Marines had either the M1910, M1924 or the jungle first aid kit. I do notice that none of them have the smaller pouch hung under the jungle first aid kit though. Not sure if that is because they only got one or the other or if they didn’t like how low it hung. It looks like the units were not issued the M6 gas mask bag like they were on Saipan the month before as none appear in photos. So all extra gear is carried in the standard M1941 haversack. In light marching configuration to be specific. Bed rolls/shelter halves are not seen after the beach. Almost all the shovels are still the M1910 or T-Handle type as well. And the essentially standard dual canteens. The most common canteen cover being the USMC 2nd pattern.

No helmet covers to be seen and very minimal web gear. The foreground Marine seems to be the only one with any substantial equipment. He still has his leggings, bandoliers and a private purchase knife.

A lot of detail n this landing picture. No leggings seem to be worn by anyone, and I see what looks like a few examples of “Army” pattern gear in the form of shovel covers and possibly canteen covers. No helmet covers can be seen either but there is a helmet net of the style usually associated with the ETO. You can see the different first aid kits in use here too. One has the newer Jungle First Aid Kit and then the man just in front of him only has the old M1910 first aid pouch. They seem to have just had a mix and no general issued. You also get a clear shot of the official way vs the common way to wear a haversack. And another personal knife as well.

Very light equipment here. Only one of the 3 has any visible web gear even. and only 1 bandolier among them. Which seems to be a common theme. No leggings are worn by any of the Marines either. Some helmet covers do show up here though. Looks like something is written on the center jacket but I can’t make it out.

Again no helmet covers, and this time the man in the foreground still has his leggings on. He is also wearing a service shirt instead of the P41 jacket/shirt. Also as popular as it is to put a pouch on the stock of a carbine it was not done as much as we think in WWII. There are some numbers on the foreground marines helmet but I’m not sure what they mean, they don’t seem to be part of a UNIS but could be. Most interesting is the field made fighting knife out of a bayonet.

Some interesting gear here with who I believe is head quarters staff of the 22nd Marines. The man kneeling on the left is CO Colonel Merlin F. Schneider. He has a seldom seen helmet net style, and the marine nest to him has the mosquito net type of helmet cover. It also seems that while the 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions were issued the M1 bayonet by the Marianas the 1st PMB and 3rd MarDiv were still using the M1905. Most notable though is the seeing the Marine wearing the USN HBT utilities. The look very similar to the Army pattern but the pockets are sewn much lower. A possible reason could be for the added carrying capacity compared to the P41s smaller open top pockets.

Some of the details are hard to make out but there still some you can see. This group looks to all have covers surprisingly. I’ve seen it captioned as the 4th Marines which is likely. I’m surprised to see two radio men in one photo. Most every man is wearing the M1941 haversack in light marching order with an M1910 entrenching tool. Everyone has dual canteens and looks like an M1924 first aid pouch. I see what looks like and M1910 as well but it’s not too clear.

A little hard to make out the details in this photo but it does appear to be the only shot of an M6 bag in use. Also it looks like some of the Marines are using the 2″ square helmet nets. The man throwing the grenade also has a Corpsman bolo on the entrenching tool flap. Also some M2 jungle first aid kits in the ubiquitous middle back position.

This is a classic picture from Guam and often gets misidentified as a soldier but I identify it as a Marine but the lack of cargo pockets on the pants, (the Army had long since switched to the 2nd pattern HBT’s by this point) and the narrowness of the suspender strap indicating it as an M1941. Like many of the Marines on Guam he is very lightly equipped, and has even taken the flash hider of of his BAR to save that extra bit of weight. And like most of the other has no helmet cover of leggings. He has just the single first aid pouch as well and not the jungle first aid kit or jungle and carlisle pouch combo so common in other photos. He has some sort of bag hanging behind him but I can’t identify it, even from other angles. Almost looks like a ditty bag.

Some 3rd MarDiv Marines in Plaza de Espana in Agana. Actually see some of the few helmet covers here. The left hand man has the back of his untucked to cover his neck from the sun. Neither have leggings and it looks like they possibly both have their P41 tops tucked in, something uncommon during WWII. We also have probably the latest war use of the BAR bandolier I can think of. These were WWI left overs so pretty well out of use by 1944. And lastly another carbine with a bare stock.

I believe this is some of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade moving north through Agana to join the 3rd Marine division. You have 3 variations in pants in the first three rows which is a little humorous. Leggings, no leggings, and pants tucked into socks instead of leggings. Also another good comparison is the carbines on the 2 front Marines, left has the stock bare and the right has the pouch on the stock. For some reason there looks to be only a single bandolier among the whole group. Which seems to be a common theme for the Marines in WWII. Unfortunately the resolution isn’t high enough but it looks like most of them have some sort of helmet band instead of a helmet cover. Looks almost the Vietnam era inner tube bands that were popular.

The 22nd Marines raise the flag on Guam. I don’t believe it’s the same men raising the flag as who were in the previous photo with the plaque, but it would be neat if they were. All the canteen covers look to be the second pattern USMC versions, and the canteens themselves have the early aluminum caps. The helmet net Colonel Merlin F. Schneider is wearing is one of the theater made ones that show up time to time in the Pacific. We also have a mosquito net cover and just helmet covers in general making an appearance. There is a good shot of how the top shelter half strap was stowed when not in use. Most interestingly is it looks like two cut down t-handle shovels. One for sure in the middle and a possible one next to him. The Marine second from the left also has his shovel carrier ridding a bit high so it may modified as well. But it could also be the way his pack was loaded.

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