M7 Gas Mask Bag

M7 Gas Mask Bag

The M7 gas mask bag was a rubberized waterproof canvas bag that contained two items designed to help soldiers deal with the potential of German gas attacks both during and after the Operation Overlord assault on June 6, 1944. The first item was an M5-11-7 assault gas mask. The second was an extra gas detection brassard which could be used to replace the brassard that was worn into combat during the initial beach landings.

Infantry soldiers generally wore the M7 bag strapped to their chests for easy access to their gas masks, while paratroopers wore theirs attached to their upper thighs (their parachute prevented them from wearing them on their chests).

Not all troops who landed on Normandy on June 6th were outfitted with the M7 bag and M5 gas mask. The initial assault troops, those who had the highest degree of probability of getting wet, were the ones issued with the M7/M5 combination. Soldiers landing in later waves were often issued the M3-10-6 gas mask, which was not designed to be waterproof.

The symbol beneath the letters "US" is the branch insignia of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps.


Sergeant Horvath and the other Rangers are seen removing their gas mask bags as soon as they reach relative safety. Although history records that the Germans (fearing Allied retaliation) did not use gas, one wonders if they were wise to discard them so early on? The extra weight and bulk of the bag and mask were probably more than most soldiers wished to carry, however there is photographic evidence of soldiers still wearing their M7 bags days after D-Day.


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