Extremely RARE, HARIAN 1944 D- Day Assault Vest, issued to first wave troops at Normandy.
Referred to as an assault jacket as well, this issue equipment was designed and used only for the Normandy Landings on June 6, 1944. Issued primarily to the first wave units of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, 1st, 4th, and 29th Infantry Divisions, along with other special beach and specialized personnel. There were only 14,000 of these made. They were never issued after the invasion again.
Disliked for their weight, discomfort, hot to wear, many soldiers discarded them shortly after landing on the beach. There were no real field trials for these vests, and one unforeseen problem in particular, that caused many lives was the swelling of the webbing in water. Extremely heavy machine gun fire upon the landing crafts, forced many soldiers to jump over the sides of the boats, and with the confusion, weight and now the swollen straps, they drowned before reaching the beach, unable to extricate themselves from the issued death trap.
This vest was made by the Harian Stitching Company, and made of OD No. 3 khaki canvas, and trim and waist in OD No. 7, a darker material. Examining surviving vests mad by HARIAN, there will be found various uses, more or less of these canvas colors. One of my vests that was photographed and appears in the book, SPEARHEADING D-DAY, AMERICAN SPECIAL UNITS IN NORMANDY, By Jonathan Gawne, 1998, shows some of this color variation used on the straps. This new vest has markings “HARIAN 1944” stamped on the inside of the large upper pocket flap. “MEDIUM” is stamped on the inside upper back area.
From the photos, you can see that the vest/jacket saw light use only; finish on most of the metal fittings still retains nearly all of the original finish, with some of those having light to heavier corrosion. Little finish remains on the brass grommets. There are no tears visible, light fading only. A superb conditioned example, and extremely difficult to find in any condition. The vest I referred to in the book named above, I sold shortly after the book came out in 1998, and I have not had the opportunity of buy, or see one for sale for the matter since. I sold the one in ’98 for $2500.00, and it was not a nice as this.
100 percent original.
USPS Priority $20.00