4th Infantry Division, Part II: The D-Day Landings

On D-Day, 6 June 1944, American troops landed on two designated beaches codenamed Omaha and Utah. Unlike their comrades on Omaha Beach, who took heavy casualties as they were pinned down and picked off by snipers, machine guns, and artillery, the men of the 4th Infantry Division who landed on Utah luckily landed in the wrong place and were able to quickly overwhelm the light German resistance, move inland, and link up with the paratroopers and glidermen of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.

  1. M1 Helmet with net and scrim (used to break up the profile of the helmet)
  2. US Army issued glasses (for more info on military-issued eyewear, check out this link: https://401gir.com/gi-glasses-are-modern-reproductions-worth-it/)
  3. M1928 Haversack with “meat can pouch” and M1943 shovel. The haversack acted as suspenders, to hold up the cartridge belt, and backpack to carry everything soldiers needed to live at the front (like rations, blankets, a shelter-half, toiletries). The “meat can pouch” contained GI silverware and a mess kit for meals served at a field kitchen
  4. Two-Piece Herringbone Twill (HBT) Work Suit with CC2 anti-gas impregnation covering the wool uniform. The CC2 treatment was intended to
  5. Parachutist First Aid Kit (contains morphine, sulfa powder, a bandage, and a tourniquet)
  6. M5 Assault Gas Mask with Bag (the black rubberized bag seen more clearly in other pictures)
  7. Canteen with canteen cover
  8. Gas Brassard (would turn colors if exposed to poison gas, alerting soldiers that they should don gas masks)
  9. M1910 cartridge belt (holds ten 8-Round clips for the M1 Garand). The US Army continued issuing some pieces of WWI equipment in WWII until supplies ran out
  10. M1926 Inflatable Lifebelt. This was meant to be worn under the armpits, but many soldiers were not given proper training and wore it at their waist. Unfortunately, when soldiers inflated the incorrectly worn lifebelt, their top-heavy equipment would flip them upside and drown them. Many veterans remember the horrifying site of their comrades’ legs sticking up out of the English Channel as they approached the D-Day beaches. Experienced units like the First Infantry Division, which had made previous amphibious landings, tended to wear their floatation devices correctly and even requisition extra flotation devices for heavy weapons and equipment.
  11. M1 Garand rifle (8-Round, semi-automatic rifle, the workhorse of the US Army)
  12. Toggle rope (many soldiers would be issued a toggle rope which they could connect to make a rope ladder, bridge, or simply use to bundle together supplies or equipment)
A different view
Men of the 4th ID marching off the beach. Source
Another picture attributed to the 4th ID on D-Day. Source

For more information about the 4th Infantry Division on D-Day, check out:

War Stories, Utah Beach to Pleiku by Robert Babcock
Spearheading D-Day: American Special Units in Normandy by Jonathan Gawne

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