30th Infantry Division

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How to Identify WWII Equipment

For the most part identifying whether an item is WWII era gear is easy to do. This page provides you with a few tips on things to look for while you're out shopping.

Here's a page on the proper pup tents to pick up.

Most items produced for the armed services is dated. It may take some hunting to find the tag, but that's the quickest way to nail a piece down. I recently bought a jacket and couldn't find a tag anywhere on the darn thing. It finally turned up in between the coat and the liner.
A shoulder pad, dated 1945

Often tags are faded from age and use or missing altogether. Another clue to look for are buttons. Metals were in short supply during the war, so manufacturers switched to bakelite buttons.
Various bakelite buttons

Zippers weren't in common use in the '40s, plus they used precious metal. Flies on pants were kept closed with buttons.

Many items have the date printed right on them.
A 1942 mess kit

Although you may have to take the item apart to find the date.
Mouthpiece from a field telephone, dated 4/45

Also check the nomenclature in the description. In WWII it was the War Department, not Department of the Army (DA), which came later.

Member of the World War II Historical Re-enactment Society