This figure, dressed and equipped as a typical D-Day paratrooper is hooked up to a static line and ready to jump. Paratroopers wore specialized jump suits with large pockets to carry extra rations, ammunition or grenades. The paratrooper helmet, a modified version of the standard infantry helmet, had a modified liner with forked straps to secure the special chin cup.
Since airborne troops had to fight with what they could carry or what could be airdropped to them, each paratrooper jumped with a heavy load of equipment. Some burdened paratroopers drowned when they landed in marshy areas.
The T-5 parachute assembly on the mannequin was the type used by most U.S. Army paratroopers during World War II. When the paratrooper jumped from an aircraft, the static line pulled the cover from the backpack, which released the parachute. If the jumpers main parachute malfunctioned, he could pull the red rip chord on his reserve parachute in front (Americans were the only airborne forces to use reserve parachutes during World War II combat operations). Paratroopers carried a length of rope to lower themselves in case they landed in a tree.
Most paratroopers carried the standard M-1 Garand rifle. For the airdrop, paratroopers carried their disassembled in special quilted cloth containers called Griswold bags. Unfortunately, this practice left the paratrooper vulnerable and some chose to carry their weapons assembled and readily available. Some paratroopers dropped with submachine guns or folding carbines.
Click here to return to the D-Day Overview.