90th IDPG Reviews


At The Front Arctic M41 Field Jacket

Review Date: 3/24/2013
Author: Chris Guska





2 MARCH 1945



The Quartermaster Catalog describes the "Jacket, Field, od, ARCTIC" as "A hip length jacket of wind-proof, water-repellent cotton cloth, with kersey lining. The jacket is designed to fit over sweaters or other warm garments for additional warmth."

The "Arctic 41" is seldom to "never" seen in the field at reenactments. This is most acutely due to a lack of reproductions as well as a general lack of communal knowledge and research on the item.

Arctic 41's do turn up with frequency in original photographs. At times it is difficult to differentiate between regular 41's and the Arctic 41's as the defining features are obscured.

I've pulled ten conveniently available public domain images from the National Archives to illustrate the Arctic 41 in use. For further depth, I have a number of 90th specific photos from family albums where I've noticed Arctic 41's in use.


Special Note:

These jackets are contracted specifically for At The Front and no other US vendor offers them. These are not Sturm-Miltec, SM Wholesale or other maker jackets simply re branded or claimed to be unique. At the time of this review, I do not know of any other source for a reproduction of the Arctic 41.


Current Retail (3/24/2013): $149.99

About the Review:

I'll be comparing the Repro ATF Arctic 41 Field Jacket - size "Small", against an original size 38L Arctic Field Jacket from Josh's collection.

A "Small" equates to a 36R by pattern according to ATF. Unfortunately, this review wont quite be apples to apples for direct size comparisons of the body or sleeve length / width.

I wore this jacket to Newville Winter Line in February of 2013 to see how it did in the field - so if you notice any dirt or wear, that's not how it came out of the box.

The Reproduction:


Laid side by side - 36R vs 38L. There are obvious, expected differences in dimensions.

Overall first impressions on pattern and details are good.

I lined up the shoulder seams to give a relative comparison on shape. The curvature of the arm seems to be a little different between the elbow and shoulder.

If you flip it over and compare from the other side, the elbow to bicep area looks a little more generous on the original - but there's some room there for grading due to size. Not sure this is an issue at all.

Back view, shoulder seam to shoulder seam. Body panel shape and skirt look to be similarly shaped / patterned.


For the Nth time, I've been wearing original jackets to reenact in for 10+ years, so there's a "feel" thing when trying on a jacket. This one fits OK, not great compared to the same original.

This jacket is a "S" which was patterned / sized on a 36R original.

Modern suit coat sizing - I wear a 38 to 40 depending on brand. With regards to original 41 jackets - I wear a 36 normally.

For this jacket, the "S" just fits. The arms are on the tighter side - requiring that I hold onto my cuffs when i put the jacket on. The body fits well. I probably could fit a shit and sweater underneath it - but it'd be tight.

I'm "Short" by today's standards @ 5'7", and this jacket is plenty long on me in the body. The sleeve length is right on. I'm afraid that if I went to a "M" on this jacket, it'd be far too big.

These jackets do have taper to them, which is great for guys who don't have 40 inch chests and 40 inch waists, unlike some other repros. This is a positive. Figure a 4 inch taper minimum. I didn't get the tape measure out to figure out the exact taper on these.

Random tidbit that is surprising. I weighed both jackets, as perception had it that the original was heavier. Turns out the Repro weighs in at 2lb 6oz for a 36r and the Original at 2lb 4.5 oz for a 38L.


Color is totally within the range of originals. I like it a lot. Also remember, color is a subjective thing - I wrote a Color Primer to discuss how perceptions of color change based on condition.

The reproduction is significantly greener than the original in the photos and on my computer. The shade is pleasant and within the realm of acceptable.

The twill is a bit finer weave, with a less pronounced pattern than the original. The hand is slightly softer on the reproduction.

Reproduction Left, Original Right

Cuffs & Adjustment Tabs:

Cuffs as far as shape and construction look pretty good. No top stitched hem or other common errors.

The adjustment tab looks good as far as shape and size.

The slide buckle on the repro is stamped metal rather than a casting as is on the original.

Out of the box, the cloth end of the tab is threaded through the slide buckle wrong. If left this way, the adjustment is very difficult to use and borderline useless. I've illustrated it below as it comes out of the box - the ATF website also shows them this way.

Below is the correct method of threading the tab through the slide buckle. This reveals some small stitching placement differences between the original and repro.


Waist Adjustment Tab

Just like the wrist adjustment tabs, the waist adjustment tabs were incorrectly threaded through the draw tab buckle. This was easily corrected. Photo below has the incorrect method shown. If threaded this way, the tabs are virtually useless and difficult to do anything with.

Here is the correct method shown. The amount of material that goes through the tab is greater on the repro than the original when there is no "draw" on the adjustment. Also, the tab that holds the slide buckle on is slightly larger on the repro.

Just as on the wrist tabs, the buckle is stamped rather than cast.

Back band:

The Arctic 41 has a really thin back band that connects with the draw adjustment tabs. It isn't a straight piece all the way across - interestingly having a swell in the center that was copied well on the reproduction.

Bi-Swing Back detail:

The back panel construction / bi-swing back looks pretty good in size and geometry. Feels like it fits right across the back and shoulders when I put it on.

Arm pit detail:

The armpit gusset looks slightly larger on the repro than the original. Not a huge deal.


The epaulets are relatively square, and seem a little short on the repro. Button placement could be closer to the shoulder, with the epaulets lengthened and made more angular.


The collar seems to have some small shape and size differences. As a whole, the collar opening looks larger. We'll look at specific areas to illustrate.

Minor detail on the lapels. The upper portion measures out the same. The lower portion is about 3/4 inch smaller on the repro in one dimension, but spot on in the other which makes it look substantially different.


I've buttoned up both collars and laid them down in the same way. With the collar popped, the repro is larger, much more open when compared to the original. Also the stitching details are a little different.

Collar Tab:

The collar tab is placed correctly - the button placement on the repro could be better when buttoned as shown.

This photo also illustrates the neck opening being larger and shaped slightly differently on the repro vs the original. Notice the angular cut of the repro vs the rounded cut of the original.

The placement of the uppermost flap / lapel button is wrong. The repro has it on the underside tip of the opposite lapel rather than on the body to wrap the lapel as it should when fully closed.

This is fixable.

The photo below shows the difference in button placement.


Here's the comparison of the neck tags. Rather than have a farbdick square "SIZE S" tag like they did on their "Summer 41's", the big square tag was omitted. The Country of origin, materials and care tag is in the neck, available for convenient removal by the end user.

Of note, the tag specifies the lining to be 70% Wool, 30% Acrylic.



Storm Flap Detail:

The storm flap looks pretty good - albeit a little wider than the original at some points. Buttonhole details are good. Button color is OK / in the realm of good.


The zipper in the ATF jacket is marked Talon, silver in color and square in shape. It matches closely some of the originals I have.

The bottom stop was modern in style and did not match the originals which were fairly distinctive

Showing the overall length and placement of the zipper. This was previously a problem on other ATF 41 jackets.



Side by side to illustrate pocket opening size and shape. The repro is well within the range and details.

Placement in relation to shoulder, collar, buttons and zipper. It is about right, maybe a little high - but within the realm of possibility.

The pocket depth is way off on the repro. The original swallows a whole 12 inch ruler, while the repro maybe takes 8.5 inches. This is a very noticeable thing when you go to put your hands in the pocket, or store anything of size in them. Pockets on the repro are too shallow.




QM Tag:

This is a screw up. The basic tag from the "Summer 41" was reused. Wrong stock number, wrong nomenclature, general fantasy tag for the wrong item.


The lining color is well within the realm of possibility. It matches pretty well to the blanket that I was taking the photos on.

The feel / finish of the lining is different than that of the original, which could be attributed to a number of factors.

The armpit lining is totally different than that of the original. I cant say I've ever seen anything like it where the lower portion is that much smaller than the upper portion.

This is not a jacket I'm going to turn inside out to wear like a regular 41.








Previously unavailable item now available
Materials are pretty good- both shell and liner
Pattern is OK
Buttons are good
Construction quality feels good
Color is good
Zipper is good quality
Zipper length is correct
Cuffs are OK

Lower Lapels aren't quite right
Collar is slightly off
Epaulets are wonky
Pockets are too shallow
Button placement for the lapel closure is way off
Button placement for the collar tab could be better
Draw tabs aren't "threaded" correctly
Draw tabs are stamped rather than cast

The last 4 of the "Cons" can be fixed easily. The first 4 would be more difficult if not expensive to fix, but none are deal breakers.

It is a pretty good jacket for the money - especially considering there are no other reproductions available. Until someone else comes out with a reproduction Arctic 41 jacket - this is the "go to" jacket if you don't want to run around in an original.

This is a nice novelty item to add some depth to your impression. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone - as its not something you'd see 6/12 guys wearing in the ETO, but for the advanced hobbyist who wants an easter egg - go for it.



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