How to Create a D Day Reenactment Paratrooper Uniform

The Allied forces invaded France on June 6, 1944, 13,000 paratroopers dropped from C-47 aircraft to join the battle. Here is an article to help you recreate an Army Paratrooper's uniform and gear from that battle.


  1. 1
    Look at websites and history books detailing the invasion. Many photographs can be found at Google Images, and realistic gear and clothing were worn in film recreations after the war.
  2. 2
    Make a list of the gear a paratrooper would normally have had when he jumped out of the C-47 aircraft into the French battlefields. Here are some examples of standard gear these warriors carried.
    • Wooden replica Thompson
      Rifle, either a Thompson 45 cal fully automatic rifle or an M-1 Garrand rifle.
    • Carved wooden Colt
      Sidearm, a 45 cal. Colt Model 1911 semiautomatic pistol
    • musette bag with rope
      Mussette bag, containing survival gear, rations, ammo, rope, and other items the soldier chose.
    • Map bag, containing maps, compass, light, and spare ammo.
    • Knife, often a Ka-Bar army issue battle knife.
    • Canteen hanging from pistol belt
      Canteen, holding one quart of drinking water.
    • Ammo belt
    • Inert Pineapple grenade
    • Parachute pack, with one main chute, and one emergency chute.
    • M-1C steel pot helmet with chinstrap, netting and first aid kit.
      Helmet, usually covered with cotton webbing and often with torn burlap to help camouflage it.
    • First aid kit, attached to the webbing on the soldier's helmet.
    • Trousers with web gear belt.
    • Jacket
    • Camo face paint
    • Folding entrenching tool for digging fox holes
      Folding entrenching tool (shovel)
  3. 3
    Search army surplus stores for items similar to the original issue. Original gear is difficult to find, since over 50 years have passed since the invasion.
  4. 4
    Look at auction sites like EBay for deals on real and reproduction gear and clothing that may suit your needs. Use exact searching words to find an item, or at least narrow your choices down.
  5. 5
    Search flea markets that have army surplus vendors. Ask the vendors there if they have resources to provide either vintage or reproduction gear and clothing. Many flea market vendors do not display all the items they may have in inventory due to the space limitations in this setting, and some create specialized contact lists to find items a buyer may be looking for.
  6. 6
    Search online for websites that specialize in reenactment paraphernalia. Use exact keywords here, as well, to narrow your search. An example would be to search World War 2 U.S. Army Paratrooper Uniforms rather than just Uniforms, Military Uniforms, or Paratroopers Uniforms.
  7. 7
    Visit museums that specialize in preserving the history of military operations. Possibly the best for this content would be the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, where mannequins are dressed in original gear from World War 2. They also sell helmets, helmet covers, mussette bags, clickers (Cricket sounders), and other items in their gift shop, as well as many illustrated books and videos of the invasion.
  8. 8
    Assemble your uniform, including parachute rigger modified 1943 field trousers, or M43 rigger modified field pants, and an M1942 jump jacket with web belt, Corcoran brown leather jump boots, and a M1C42 steel pot helmet with liner and helmet net. You may also add a burlap helmet scrim to the net.
  9. 9
    Assemble your packs. Your map pouch would contain maps and a compass, and other items. The M38 field/musette bag will contain personal items like clean underwear, and rations, extra ammo and grenades, flashlight, rain poncho, other items.
  10. 10
    Put on the uniform and boots, then put on your web pistol belt. From this, you will hang your entrenching tool, pistol holster, fighting knife or M3 trench knife (which may also be holstered on your leg or boot), and canteen. You may include M43 combat suspenders to help support the load. You may also want to wear an M-1 ammunition belt.
  11. 11
    Assemble your weapons. You can buy a reproduction M-1 Garrand or Thompson submachine gun and 1911 Colt pistol, along with grenades. If you are handy with tools, you may create your own reproduction guns.


  • If your action is due to being a fan or having watched Band of Brothers before or/and read the Stephen Ambrose book, you may add a white spade (the symbol of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment's 2nd Battalion, in which Easy Company belonged) to your helmet and a 101st Airborne Division patch to your uniform if you like to.

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Categories: Historical Costumes