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Cigarettes in World War II

This link here http://www.questmasters.us/Crates_Page_3.html does a pretty good job at covering cigarettes during World War II. It focuses mostly on Lucky Strikes but includes others like Chesterfield + more.

I really like how it broke down the nuances of the packages and brands so the discerning collector knows what’s period correct and what isn’t.

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World War II Reproduction Equipment and Field Items

This page will provide links and information on reproducing certain equipment and field items for the WW2 reenactor.

WW2 Era Footlockers 1943 – A schematic on how to reproduce the wooden WW2 era footlocker for enlisted men. I would highly recommend before attempting to remake it view the two different studies on it here (a .doc file) and here (a .pdf file). This will help get an idea of some of their slight differences.

WW2 Hedgehog Beach Obstacle – An outline of how to create and assemble the beach obstacle. This is the kind of obstacle seen at the Normandy Landings.

M1943 Field Table – This is the folding field table typically seen at field encampments.

Signal Corps

Signal Corps Wood Shipping Box – A pdf with a few notes on how to potentially reproduce a wooden shipping crate. Says “From Philadelphia Signal Depot ,Philadelphia” with Signal Corps logo. The wood in use is likely pine (as you can see the pine knots in the images). The Lid would have been flush with 5-6 nails each along the left and right sides (if looking at the box from above) and maybe 3 along the top and bottom (if looking at it from above). These nails would have been cheap “penny nails”.

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World War II Army Field Manuals

This page will list some Field Manuals that are hard to find or ones that I find interesting. Easy 39th has a larger list of Field Manuels and Pamphlets so if you don’t see what you want here you can head to that page. In addition, for a fuller list you can find about 1,000 of them between 1940-1945 on the Archive.org website. So if you don’t see one here try looking there.

Field Manuals

FM 7-15 Heavy Weapons Company Rifle Regiment May 1942

FM 7-20 Rifle Battalion Sept 1942

FM 7-40 Rifle Regiment Feb 1942

Instructors’ guide for Mobilization Training Program 8-101 – This is a complete 8-hour-a-day, 6 days-a-week, for 4 months basic training program for medical unit personnel.

What I find interesting is that it shows what should be part of a battalion aid station and how combat aid men (aka “medics”) are used in the medical organization chart.

Essentially they treat wounded and try to pool them together and litter bearers bring them to the battalion aid station for further treatment.

FM 20-15 Tents and Tent Pitching FEB 1945 – a guide that covers to how pitch various tents. While not included in the manual I did include schematics on adding a wood frame to the M1934 Pyramidal Tent as well as a diagram on how to make collapsible tent poles.

Collapsible tent poles weren’t, to the best of my knowledge, in WW2 but since these poles are long breaking them down makes it easier to pack and travel with them.

I had these made for me once and I used it as the center or ridge pole in my tent.

FM 21-100 Soldiers Handbook 1941

FM21-15, Aug 1941 Equipment, Clothing, and Tent Pitching Supplemental.

FM 2345 Browning Machine Gun, Caliber .30, HB M1919A4

TABLE No III – WIRE – A guide that shows the composition, insuluation, weight, measurements and remarks of the different kinds of wire.

It’s noted that the 130 Assault wire gives a lot of trouble and needs to be protected. Any dampness in it causes issues. So holes need to be patched with tape.

Also, in a report of the 397th Infantry Regiment of the 100th Division regarding W-143 wire they say

The wire is unsuited for small units as the wire cannot be sufficently carried on a reel, the insulation doesn’t break when the wire does making it hard to troubleshoot, and it takes too long to splice as the insulation doesn’t come off fast enough – especially when under fire.

FM 105-5 Umpire Manual April 1942

FM 105-5 Umpire Manual MAR 1944

FM 70-15 Operations in Snow and Extreme Cold NOV 1944

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World War II Army Technical Manuals

Below is a selection of Technical Field Manuals. For a fuller list you can find about 1,000 of them between 1940-1945 on the Archive.org website. So if you don’t see one here try looking there.

Phrase Books

TM 30-606 German Phrase Book Nov 1943 – How to speak German.

Ordinance

Pigeons

TM 11-410 The Homing Pigeon Jan 1945 – A technical manuel for using Homing Pigeons.

Pigeons can also be released from aircraft: See The Handling and Release of Pigeons from Aircraft.

Some Pigeons were raised from existing Signal Corps Pigeon stock while others were donated as this article indicates: Tuna Clubs Pigeons Enlist in the Army New Jersey Feb 1943.

For a history of Pigeons in WW1 see: Feathers of Honor.

Cooking

TM 10-405 The Army Cook: 1941. This pamphlet supersedes TM210-152, December 31, 1935.

Administrative

TM 12-255: Administrative Procedures Nov 1st 1942. Outlines various procedures to deal with different kinds of issues like transfers, leaves, induction, reception, detachment, discharge, pay, death, arrest, punishment, medical treatment, accounting, issuing of clothing and equipment, procurement, property transfer, lost or damaged property, vehicle accidents, courts-martial and many more! For some notes and problems on administrating a front-line infantry regiment see this report on the 318th Infantry Regiment by Capt Louis Pickering dated Sept 2nd 1944.

TM 12-230 Service Record – Oct 18th 1944. Outlines how to fill out the service record. A supplement to AR 345-125.

TM 12-253-CORRESPONDENCE – Oct 1st 1944. Explains how to write and fold letters in accordance with the preferred military style. Includes a style and grammar guide and numerous examples.

Signal Corps

TM 37-305 Typewriter Maintenance Nov 1944 – A zip file that contains images of the manual as well as an HTML document with the text.

TM 11-242 Radio Set SCR-300a Feb 1945 – The manual for the SCR-300 radio set. This radio set could not speak to the SCR-536 / BC-611 radio set.

TM 11-235 Radio Sets SCR-536a through f May 1945 – The famous “Handy-talkie”. This unit could not work with the BC-611/SCR-300 radio units. There are only minor differences in circuits and components among the variants. The exception is SCR-536g which provides jacks at the bottom for a headphone/mic unit (which starts to make it similar to the Korean war era PRC-6).

Interestingly, for bad weather, it recommends covering the unit with the small protective arms covers placed over rifles (ie those green waterproof bags).

The unit also has the Homing Modification Kit MC-619 accessory unit. This helps to home in on a transmission and find it.

TM 11-330 Switchboards BD-71 and BD-72: Oct 29th 1943. The maintenance, management, care and use guide for the BD-71 and BD-72 switchboards and associated equipment. BD-71 is the 6 line switchboard and BD-72 is the 12-line. The manual makes reference that among BD-72, BD-72a, and BD-72b only minor differences exist among them. If someone knows what they are let me know!

There is also an older manual: BD-71 and BD-72 Switchboards Instructions from 1937 and is a preliminary issue but I’ve included it here for historical reasons.

For more on the fungal treatment of Signal Corps equipment see: Signal Corps Technical Information Letter Nov 1944 No 36

TM 11-332 Telephone Central Office Set TC-4 June 1942 – This set consists of two units the Panel BD-97 and the SB 96.

TM 11-348 Telephone Repeater TC-29-A April 1943 – This helps improve transmission over wire (W-110b) or cable (CC-358) or open lines. It’s not a unit per se but a bunch of different items like Power Supply PE-204, EE8s, and EE99a that when combined make this repeater unit.

TM 11-361 Test Sets EE65 and EE65a through EE65e Feb 1943

There are minor differences in the several models of this set. All voltmeters are of 50,000 ohms resistance except on the test set EE-65, the voltmeter of which has a resistance of 3.000 ohms. The test set EE-65-B has a larger voltmeter and correspondingly deeper case cover. The test set EF-65 is equipped with a separate transmitter, a separate receiver, and a separate ground rod which are carried in the case; none of these items is a part of the other test sets. The key arrangement on test sets EE-65 and EE-65-A and -B is identical.

The test sets EE-65-C, -D, and E- are identical; they differ from the test set EE-65-A principally in having a sixth key and some differences in their key connections.

There is an EE65g that is made out of steel not aluminum, uses a different generator (GN-38b), updated wiring diagram, and panel to accommodate the new aluminum box.

TM 11-362 Reel Unit RL-31 July 1941 – This is for a reel unit to hold the larger DR4 wire drums and describes how to use and install it (such as on vehicles).

There’s also TM 11-362 Supplement for Reel Unit RL-31 June 1944 which is just instructions on how to install the new RL-31c unit on a truck. The RL-31c looks to be the RL-31 unit with a few different mounting brackets.

TM 11-349 Maintenance Equipment ME-22: I don’t see a free version available but there is a paid one here with some additional scans.

Comes from TM 11-349 Maintenance Equipment ME-22 and shows the screws needed for the EEa.

TM 11-487 Electrical communication systems equipment Oct 1944 – Discusses electrical communication equipment and includes details, descriptions, remarks, and pictures. For use in planning complete communication systems. Links to Google Drive.

TM 11-487B Wire Communication Equipment March 1951 – a post-war document that still mentions a lot about WW2 era communication equipment as well as post-ww2.

TM 11-2016 Switchboard SB-5/PT April 1944 – Switchboard SB-5/PT is a 6-line, portable, magneto-telephone switchboard for use primarily in field wire systems. It weighs only 12 pounds and for that reason is especially valuable for jungle and mountain operations. This switchboard is similar to the BD-9 and BD-11 in that it has an operator’s cord in addition to the line and trunk circuit cords, it has no talk-listen or ring keys, and it has no operator’s telephone. A Telephone EE-8 may be used as the operator’s telephone, and the magneto of this telephone will be used for ringing. The operator’s cord is terminated in a red plug to distinguish it from the line and trunk cords, which have black plugs. Switchboard SB-5/PT differs from the BD-9 and BD-11 in that each line and trunk circuit includes both a ring jack and a talk jack, instead of one common jack. SB-5/PT isn’t meant to replace BD-71 or BD-72.

TM 11-22 Reel Equipment CE-11 Jan 1944 – The equipment designed to hold the smaller DR8 1/4 of a mile wire.

TM 11 2253 Open wire construction fixed plant March 1944 – This is a tentative manual (but probably doesn’t change much from the actual one). It discusses all aspects of installing telephone poles.

TM 11-2626 Test Unit I-176 July 1944 – Test Unit I-176 is an instrument designed to measure resistance, alternating current (ac), direct current (dc), and voltage over a wide range of values.

TM 11-4022 Radio Receivers and Transmitters BC-620abfghj June 1945 – This is a short-range (5miles) two-way radio device. The differences among the variants are that some output transformers have been changed to provide extra impedance to accommodate a 250ohm load as well as a 4,000ohm load.

Some models such as A, B and H are modified in production to incorporate the Adapter
M-394, to permit the use of the meter and the
receiver amplifier tube of the set for alignment
procedure. All other models of Radio Receiver
and Transmitter BC-620-(*) are equipped with
Adapter M-394 by the manufacturer.

The unit is powered by Plate Supply Unit PE-97 if used in vehicles or BA-39 or BA-40 batteries if not. For the batteries, they need to be used in CS-79 and then connected to the unit. See: TM 11-605 SCR-509 AND SCR-510 NOV 1943 for more information.

Signal Corps: Cross reference table of maintenance, tool and test equipments, and test sets. – A handy chart that explains what test/maintenance equipment is to be used with certain kinds of radio equipment. Not an Army publication but some kind of clean-up version. For example, the SCR-300s need the EE-65 test set and several ME sets.

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Building a 60mm Mortar for the WW2 Reenactor

60mm mortar Belgium

The information contained below is for historical and educational purposes. Unless you have the right local, state, and federal requirements and licenses you should not build a mortar that launches real shells filled with TNT.

The Poor Man’s Armorer a “…Magazine of Improvised Weaponry” was a magazine that was created in 1978 or 1979 by Bonnie and Clyde Barrow (likely a pseudonym for Kurt Saxon). The magazine was essentially a hobbyist magazine appealing to folks interested in shooting, hunting, exotic weapons development, and survivalist types. It was published for a couple of years and had several editions. Finding a complete physical book is difficult, however, there are E-editions online where one can find a complete book or at least a complete edition such as the one at Archive.org: The Poor Man’s Armorer Vol 2.

Kurt’s politics aside (which if I am being generous are incoherent), he did publish a chapter in one of the editions on how to make a 60mm Mortar. Considering that real 60mm mortars can command thousands of dollars those reenactors with an interest, time, skills (or skill development), and perhaps a knowledgeable friend could build a 60mm mortar for use at reenactments or public displays.

The chapter goes into detail on how to build out the actual mortar shells along with the baseplate, tripod, and collar assembly. It includes actual blueprints and design specs. This requires access to machinery and metalworking tools required to create it.

Part One: The Mortar

Part one is the design specs for how to build the mortar shell. Kurt discusses the chemicals in the TNT but doesn’t explain how to make those chemicals. You can download How to Build a 60mm Mortar part 1 here. He also suggests one could obtain practice mortar shells if you don’t want to build the actual shell yourself.

60mm mortar shell blueprint

Part Two: Baseplate, Bipod, Tube, and Collar Assembly

Part two goes into detail with the blueprints and design specs for building the mortar tube, bipod, baseplate, and collar assembly. You can download How to Build a 60mm Mortar Part 2 here.

60mm Baseplate

Mortar Accessories

While Kurt does not explain how to build the accessories he does diagram out the M-4 sight and explain where one can possible find it. However, he doesn’t include blueprints on how to build the sight or other accessories like the canvas tube cover, the M2 Ammunition Vest, Binoculars, Compass, Asbestos Mitten, cleaning staff, and the M2 shoulder pad. These will all likely need to be purchased online or at Military shows.

60mm Mortar Sight

Using the Mortar in Reenacting

While using the mortar in reenacting is beyond the scope of this article, the 90th ID published a document called: Tableau Number 1 The 81mm Mortar Squad which while it focuses on the 81mm mortar is similar in usage as the 60mm. It is a good article to read over. You can also download a restricted handout that goes into how to use it: The 60mm Mortar Team in the Assault Section.

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World War II Service Food Menus and Base Brochures

Service Food Menus

Oftentimes different units would create service menus for special occasions such as Christmas, Thanksgiving or New Years. These are some examples

67th Signal Battalion Company A Victory Party

A service menu for the Division School No 2, New Area at Camp Bowie Texas, Oct 17th, 1944. It’s hard to find much information about the unit, but according to the US Army Lineage, it was in Europe and presumably came home before being transferred to the Pacific. I guess that this Victory Party is the result of them coming home from Europe.

Travel Base Brochure

Below is base brochure handed out to personnel when they arrived at base and are expecting to stay awhile. This one is from Harmon Field in Stephenville, Newfoundland. Dated Feb, 1945

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World War II Birthday and Holiday and Postcards

Birthday Cards

Valentines Day Cards

Postcards

These could often be found at post exchanges or other on base facilities.

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Civil Affairs in World War II

This post will contain information on Civil Affairs in World War II and how to set-up a reenacting impression around it.

Field Manuals

FM 27-5 Civil Affairs: Dec 22nd 1943.

Studies

Civil Affairs in World War II:  A study from the Center for Strategic and International Studies