Tinian: Photo Analysis

Coming right on the heels of Saipan and involving the same divisions (minus the Army’s 27th) Tinian’s uniforms and equipment is pretty similar but do have they’re own flavor. Two over all points are the virtual disappearance of the P42 camouflage uniforms and leggings. My assumption is just simple attrition. After a month of fighting on Saipan there would like not much be remaining of the uniforms they were wearing. Same goes for leggings, as time went on more and more marines likely discarded them until by the time they land on Tinian leggings are few and far between.

I want to thank ww2_daily_photography for sending this photos of what should be the 20th Marines as it has some great details in it. First none of them have their leggings any more and one guy has rolled his socks over his pants instead. The 12 year old looking Marine has a folded M1943 shovel in his gas mask bag. Not seeing much issue here but the M1943 seems to have started to be issued, in extremely limited numbers for Operation Forager. Most of them seem to have folded ponchos on the backs of their belts as well. The man in the foreground has a pick mattock on his belt as well as a private purchase knife. It looks like the background Marine with the uncrossed suspenders has an empty pick mattock carrier too. The uncrossed suspenders are unusual but do pop up in pictures here and there. I’m not sure what the reasoning was but it could be a comfort thing. The very back man has M1936 suspenders which are uncommon as well.

Full length M1905 bayonets are still common even though M1s are now being issued. If this is an engineer unit then that would especially be true. The foreground Marine has the virtually standard 2nd pattern canteen cover with the earlier aluminum capped canteen inside. He is also the only one in the group with a bandolier. The background Marine has a single M1924 first aid pouch on his belt. I never seem to see the M1942 pattern even though it would have been plentiful by this stage of the war. A quirk of USMC procurement I assume.

The automatic rifleman in this picture had ditched not only his bipod but also his flash hider in an effort to save some weight from the M1918A2. He also seems to be using the M6 bag in lieu of the knapsack. And while it is common to have one canteen per side on the rear most position that doesn’t mean it was the only way they were worn. Here he has both on the same side. As well they are the bakelite caps which became more prevalent in 1944.

Most interesting in this photo is the Marine on the left has a first pattern officers field bag on. Basically an M1936 musette bag without the “US” stamp. The two foreground men also wear the quintessential dual canteen and jungle first aid kit arrangement. We also see the ever popular M6 bag in the background, it looks like there are two but only one can be confirmed. The “officer” does have his carbine pouch on his stock. It also looks like the right side marine has a KaBar on his belt judging by the large flat “pommel.” It does sort of look like a lineman’s CS-34 leather pouch below that though too so I’m not 100% sure.

Very few of the Marines still wear leggings by this point. There’s also still a mix of older white undershirts and skivvies but the newer Kelly green skivvies and shirts are the newly issued types of shirts around this period. It’s a little hard to make out but it does look like the two examples on the left. There is also an M2 ammo bag/vest hiding in the background. As well you can see one of the USN HBT jackets and just how low the pockets sit compared to the more familiar Army ones.

Here we have another pouch on the stock of an M1 Carbine, it seems to be about 50/50 and an M1 Thompson with some sort of home made vertical foregrip and a 20 round magazine. It doesn’t seem that the USMC ever much in the way of the 30 round magazines, even in 1945 the 20s show up in most photos. It looks like none have leggings but the rear marine has stuffed his pants into his socks. The same man also has no helmet cover. The famous USMC camo helmet cover was very common in the 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions but bare helmets are not uncommon. This is also one of the few “battle” (looks staged/posed to me) photos to have a camo P42 uniform in it.

Looks like most Marines similar to Saipan ditched their M1941 haversacks in favor of the lighter gas mask bag for personal belongings. Here it looks like every man is wearing the M6 gas mask bag. And again no leggings on any of them. Of note here is the modified BAR spare parts pouch on the M1937 belt. You can also see the Jungle first aid pouch with the M1910/M1924 pouch hung below it.

I wish I could find a higher resolution version of this photo but there is enough here to see that the Marines are using the M6 bag either as a shoulder bag or a knapsack replacement. This carbine stock is bare as well.

I believe this photo is towards the end of the battle or after major operations. This is the only full set of P42 uniform I can find on Tinian. Leggings? Who wears leggings? Most interesting thing to me is that even in 1944 WWI vintage cartridge belts are still being used. The man on the right is also one of the only ones I’ve noticed with the leather helmet liner chin strap looped over the front bill of the helmet.

Not a ton in this photo either but one of the few with camo. The marine also is wearing the mix match of camo top and plain pants. Interestingly the jacket is tucked in, something not commonly seen during World War II. One last point of in there is the clear shot of the hanger and how high it was attached on the 1st and 2nd pattern USMC canteen covers. You can also see one of the problems with the design is how prone to ripping they were.
Ignore the center play button, it’s an artifact from the screen capture. The actual play button is in the bottom corner

I found this clip of Marines unloading on Tinian, unfortunately that was all the caption said so I do not have any information as to what day or what unit. I assume it is some replacements or follow on unit as they look to be casually debarking at a dock. But if you watch closely you can see some pretty neat details in their equipment. The first man off is an officer I assume as he has the M1936 Musette bag. This is the first I’ve seen a regular M1936 used by the USMC, or at least confirmed. It could be that since they USMC first pattern officers bag was essentially the same they just used available Army ones. There is little information out there on the first pattern bags for some reason even though they crop up in a fair amount of photos. I remember reading a long time ago that they were identical to the Army’s M1936 except without the US mark and with slightly longer straps. The next man coming of the landing craft is a Navy Corpsman, identified by his Unit 3 bag. The Unit 3 bag also looks to be camouflaged as well. His M6 gasmask bag is the OD7 variety, I point that out as thinking back on it all the other ones in the photos appear to be the lighter OD3 color. It also looks like both of his canteen covers are the M1910 pattern. There is a green pouch on his left hip that I think might be a second jungle first aid kit. It looks like all of them have their bedrolls wrapped in some kind of rubber material. It’s possible it could be ponchos but I think it may more likely be the gas capes from the M4 masks they’re carrying. A good idea for keeping them dry. Lastly the majority of the helmet covers are green side out.

So there you have it, Tinian is a more basic version of Saipan essentially. No surprise really since the 2nd and 4th just went from one right to the other. One thing that does jump out at me is the lack of shovels. On Saipan most had their M1910 shovels with them and often hooked onto their suspenders in some fashion, where here on Tinian there are few to be seen and none seem to be using their suspenders to carry them. Just an interesting distinguishing feature. Bayonets seem to appear less on Tinian as well. I’m sure there are more details in there to fine. So feel free to comment anything else you find below.

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