Teamwork, Firepower, Responsibility
Belgium, 1944

Teamwork, Firepower, ResponsibilitySergeants became a vital element in the combined arms formations of World War II. The increase in firepower and growth in the size of a squad, from eight men led by a corporal to a twelve-man unit led by a sergeant, placed greater emphasis on leadership skills. In fact, the team shown here in late 1944 boasted greater combat power than a Civil War regiment. It pairs an M4 tank crew with a basic infantry squad, both commanded by sergeants. Its firepower includes the tank's cannon, several machine guns, a Browning automatic rifle (BAR), and the infantrymen's semiautomatic Garands.

Sergeants and corporals in combat units during World War II continued to wear chevrons of the 1920 pattern, although the Army had changed most of the other items of clothing. Olive drab wool shirts and trousers of a lighter shade were rapidly supplemented by heavier garments in cold weather. New replacements often entered the line with the M1943 olive drab field jacket, while "old hands" often retained the long overcoats issued when their units went overseas. Crews of the armored force had different apparel designed for use in vehicles, including a fiber and leather crash helmet with headset and M 1943 goggles instead of the "G.I. " (government issue) two-piece steel M1 "pot." Clothtop over-shoes designed to keep the cold and wet out of a soldier's footwear proved to be a temporary expedient, since it was impossible to march in them for any distance.

Individual field equipment, updated only slightly since World War I, was reduced to a minimum. The M1928 haversack, containing the " C " or "K" rations and personal items, often was left behind. Soldiers opted to stuff essentials into pockets instead. The rifle or automatic rifleman belt supported the canteen, first-aid packet pouch, and other items. Attached by equipment hooks, the bayonet for the Garand rifle and a folding entrenching tool were carried on the haversack.