Austarmycrest.gif (8966 bytes)Australian Military Vehicles Research


Pacific War Australian Infantryman by M.Grieve

  mb01.jpg (16035 bytes)  These photos show a mannequin on display at the
Australian War Memorial with the typical uniform and equipment of an Australian
infantryman in the South-West Pacific area of operations during the latter stages of the
Second World War.</font></p>

<p><font face=mb01.jpg (16035 bytes)This figure's jungle uniform (as adopted in
1943) consists of a dark-green half-buttoned pullover shirt and grey-green American
herringbone twill trousers. On his feet are Australian russet brown leather boots and
cut-down American canvas gaiters. On his head he wears an Australian unlined jungle beret
(not unlike the British GS cap) made from rot-proof dark green cotton, which proved to be
quite unpopular with the troops. Other common headgear was the steel helmet Mk.II and
Australian "bush" hat (officially known as the "hat, khaki, fur felt"
or more commonly as the "slouch" hat).</font></p>

<p><font face=This figure is armed with the Australian-developed Owen sub-machinegun (with spare magazines in basic pouches) and a number of Mills bombs - unfortunately, no examples of the Owen SMG are known to be currently available in 1/35th scale. Other common small arms in use at this time were the SMLE No.1 Mk.III* with 17in No.1 Mk.I bayonet and Bren light machinegun.

The webbing equipment is the Australian jungle version of the standard 1937 pattern having larger basic pouches (9 x 6.75 x 3.75ins) and broader shoulder braces sections (3.25ins), with water bottle fixed directly to the web belt under the right arm and small pack on the left hip. While not clear, the circular object just behind the water bottle may be the Australian quartpot type mess tin. Web equipment modified in this fashion was issued in relatively limited numbers before the end of the war, but are a by no means uncommon sight in photographs taken in New Guinea and Balikpapan during operations in 1945 (see, for example, AWM photos 073584 and 073614 [New Guinea] and 110327, 110990 and 110991 [Balikpapan]).

The above photos were taken some years ago in the old Pacific war display area of the Australian War Memorial - sadly, this display in its original form no longer exists.

References (& suggested reading):
Osprey Men-at-Arms no.123 "The Australian Army at War 1899-1975" by John Laffin & Mike Chappell
"Khaki Drill & Jungle Green: British Tropical Uniforms 1939-45 in Colour Photographs" by Martin J. Brayley & Richard Ingram


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