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What was in a G.I.'s pockets?

Article about: Members of this forum are likely to know, and know in great detail, what the average G.I. wore and carried into battle in the closing days of World War II. Personal items are another story,

  1. #1

    Default What was in a G.I.'s pockets?

    Members of this forum are likely to know, and know in great detail, what the average G.I. wore and carried into battle in the closing days of World War II. Personal items are another story, which is why the following passage from a letter home dated February 27th, 1945 and sent from “Somewhere in Germany” is illuminating. The writer was a private with a mortar company in the U.S. First Army’s 47th Infantry Division

    “The other evening I read in “The Stars and Stripes” about a soldier who was found to be practically a walking Px for he was carrying some 300 odd different articles in his pockets. I dug down in my 18 pockets to see what I could find. Perhaps you may get a laugh from the varied list of items I am carrying -- 1.) chap stick; 2) Schaeffer pen and pencil; 3) tube rifle grease; 4) water purification tablets; 5) six ration can openers; 6) 86 US cents; 7) two English pennies; 8) three Belgium one franc pieces; 9) approx ten dollars in Belgium francs; 10) 50 cloth patches for cleaning rifle; 11) 4 boxes of matches; 12) six boxes of Chicklets; 13) string; 14) wool knit cap; 15) four “D” ration bars (chocolate) 16) pair of gloves; 17) two pair of socks; 18) eight sulfadiazine tablets; 19) two ration heating tablets; 20) three lead pencils; 21) eraser; 22) tooth brush for cleaning rifle; 23) rifle bore brush; 24) teaspoon; 25) tablespoon; 26) mirror; 27) razor box; 28) razor; 29) thirty razor blades; 30) tweezers; 31) tooth brush; 32) tooth brush holder; 33) sewing kit; 34) thirty-seven buttons; 35) ten safety pins; 36) seven needles; 37) two pairs of scissors; 38) thread; 39) pair of shoe laces; 40) knife; 41) comb; 42) two note books; 43) bible; 44) book of daily devotional messages; 45) picture of Augusta; 46) picture holder; 47) dictionary; 48)
    Pamphlet - “Think On These Things -- stories of courage, hope and faith;” 49) wallet; 50) calendar; 51) three family pictures; 52) operator’s license; 53) identification card; 54)two booklets of one cent stamps; 55) three dog tag chains; 56) three dog tags; 57) one US insignia; 58) one infantry cross rifle insignia.”

    I find the list of items fascinating because it vividly suggests what day-to-day life was like for the average dogface fighting in Germany. It also serves as an inventory of the soldier’s mind and sheds light on his perspective and priorities. Am I nuts or do others find this kind of information as interesting as I do?

    Uncle Paul

  2. #2

    Default Re: What was in a G.I.'s pockets?

    Hi Paul, I find it very interesting too. This kind of trivia is fasinating. It is also very usefull to re-enactors, of which I am one. It provides a great insight into the type of thing we should be carrying.

    Cheers, Ade.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What was in a G.I.'s pockets?

    An awful lot of personal care items...much more than I would have expected. Thanks for sharing!

  4. #4
    ?

    Default Re: What was in a G.I.'s pockets?

    Hi Paul, very interesting. I thought about it for a minute before reading and came up with hardly nothing compaired to his list. I never would have guessed all that! Thanks for posting
    Cheers, Edwin

  5. #5

    Default Re: What was in a G.I.'s pockets?

    Very interesting, his route to Germany was planned out with his English and Belgian money

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  6. #6
    ?

    Default Re: What was in a G.I.'s pockets?

    That is actually quite amazing. At first I thought 'You are supposed to remember where all these items are located so that you can gain quick access', and considering the amount of items a lot of discipline is required. So that is pretty 'amusing' considering if you are under attack and you must use something specific at that time.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What was in a G.I.'s pockets?

    I am surprised as well, I never imagined they would carry that many things in their pockets, i always thought most of that would go in their back pack or like Adept said, just place them somewhere to remember later. thanks for sharing!

  8. #8

    Default Re: What was in a G.I.'s pockets?

    Thanks for your comments, mates. This G.I. wrote particularly informative letters. If anybody would like it, I will post what he had to say about the clothes he wore. Uncle Paul

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