90th IDPG Reviews


At The Front "Summer" M41 Field Jacket

Review Date: 11/25/2012
Author: Chris Guska


A view of an American GI and a French girl on the beach at Nice.

Location: Nice, France
Date taken: June 1945
Photographer: David E. Scherman
Image Courtesy of the Life Archive powered by Google


The "M41" Field Jacket was without a doubt "the" ubiquitous GI Field Jacket of WWII. Even after the introduction of the M43, the M41 continued to see extensive service through the war's end.

The Quartermaster Catalog describes the "Jacket, Field, OD" as "A short combat jacket of windproof, water repellent cotton poplin with flannel lining and with button and zipper closure.

Special Note:

The "Summer" M41 jacket offered by At the Front is a fantasy piece. The US Army during WW2 never specified, nor ordered a "Jacket, Field" (M41) that was cotton lined. All M41's were wool lined.

There is evidence of linings being removed as well as custom linings being put into jackets - this was strictly a "tailor made" type custom modification up to the individual GI.

These jackets, are unique to 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 - as many small vendors do.


Current Retail (11/25/2012): $59.95

About the Review:

I'll be comparing the Repro ATF 41 "Summer" Field Jacket - size"S", against an original size 38 Field Jacket from my collection. As the review progresses, I'll pull in additional 41's out of my collection for more comparisons. For sizing and pattern - I'm trying to keep this as apples to apples as possible.

I was pretty excited about getting this jacket. The assumption that was made, was that these jackets were simply the Gen 2 jackets, with a cotton lining, offered in limited sizes.

My excitement was following this line of logic: for $60 - this would be a really awesome base jacket to customize with a blanket lining, parachute silk lining, silk pajamas - or whatever else I felt like. Even after the cost for materials and time to have a lining made - I'd be certainly ahead of gutting a Gen 2 jacket.

Many years ago, I had an original Tanker jacket in my collection that had a striped rayon lining sewn in over the blanket lining that I'd like to translate into a 41 at some point.

I didn't want to jump on the bus to decry this product as ridiculously farby before looking at it in person and exploring what opportunities this jacket presents for the money.


The Reproduction:


Already having a 1st Gen and 2nd Gen M41 from At The Front - I had high expectations for this jacket.

Out of the box, things didn't start well. The ridiculous size tag was sewn on upsidown.

The shell and lining material on this jacket are the same fabric. The fabric is different from the prior runs of jackets. It is a distinctly lighter shade than the prior runs of jackets.

The buttons are the same as previously used. I like the color and shape - but more on that later.


A "Small" according to the At The Front website is for 33-36.

When I pulled the jacket out of the bag, I knew it wasn't a 34, let alone a 36. It looked huge. I tried it on, confirming that it could be used as a maternity dress.

I laid it out with a 38R - and it was close in some dimensions - but still WAY larger.

Frankly, I was pissed. Its not even in the right neighborhood... What a load of fantasy horse crap.

I continued to foam and froth, taking the photos for the rest of the review. Was so disgusted, I couldn't write it up.

Later in the week, after utterly trasing them on the phone to a few friends - one of them said to me "umm... have you washed it?"

What a dope. Its an all cotton copy.... intended to be washed.... washed by reenactors... or their moms.... F me.

Needless to say, the jacket is oversized for shrinkage.

I wasn't even off the phone by the time the jacket hit the washing machine. I ran it on HOT with some Tide powder - then into the dryer on HOT. This runs contradictory to what the care tag states - but this will get the max shrink out of it... which is what it needs for me.

Where did it end up after washing? Pretty damn close to a 38.

Shoulder to shoulder, top to bottom for general fit dimensions- it is pretty much right on after 1 wash to my used original 38R example.

There are a number of immediate observations I had - but I'll save those for as we move through the review.

I lined up the shoulder seams to get a sleeve length comparison as I did last time. Sleeves are pretty much right on.

Back view, shoulder seam to shoulder seam. Body length looks right on - but back band is placed too high - more on that later.


As discussed the previous few times, I've been wearing original jackets to reenact in for just over 10 years, so there's a "feel" thing when trying on a jacket. Now that I've washed this jacket, it feels better - but a 38R is too big for me.

Modern suit coat sizing - I wear a 38 to 40 depending on brand. With regards to original 41 jackets - I wear a 36. I initially tried a 38 repro with the first generation, which didn't "feel" right. I stepped down to a 36 in the repro and found it to feel much better. On the 2nd Generation jacket, I ordered a 36 from the start - and it fit like a 41 should.

For all intents and purposes, once washed, I consider this repro to be a "38". I hope Rollin just straight up gets rid of the bullshit S, M, L and goes with 38, 42, 46, and Burger King Crowns for anything larger.

When laid on top of each other - the waists on these jackets are the same. Taper should fit like an original on these, which is a plus.


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.

Repro in the middle - with the obvious S tag., 6 other originals, with a 2nd Gen (S/Sgt) in the mix to show color range. Some from virtually new to "salty".

The "Summer 41" is a very tan "happy khaki" and fits into the mix while the 2nd Gen continues to stand out as the brown in the photo - its only getting darker with use / dirt.




The cuffs are blind stitched as they should be, and the reinforcing bar tack is in the right spot.

Adjustment tab placement is noticeably too low - to the point of being wrong, or making it look like the sleeves were shortened / fixed.

The tab itself is correctly sized.

Across the jackets with factory cuffs, not repaired - its not even close. The closest one is a full tab width off. This is noticeable and somewhat obnoxious once you start looking at it, at least it is to me.

Rear Adjustment Tabs:

On the 2nd Gen jackets, as illustrated top, the rear adjustment tab button placement was all jacked up. That appears to be fixed on the "Summer 41" (bottom).

But wait, there's more! The Summer 41 (bottom) has the 1st button inexplicably placed on the other side of the back panel seam.

What this means, is that the tab is taking the jacket in at its "neutral" position where it should not be gathering. This is fixable, but annoying.

Back band:

The back band on the repro (left) is significantly larger than that on the original 38R example I am comparing it to. Additionally, its placed about an inch too high.

Arm pit detail:

The reinforced arm pit gussets look about right.


The epaulet looks a bit short - but this is the way it wrinkled and lays after washing. If you were to iron it out - it would be right on. The shape of the epaulet is a little wonky.


The Repro (left) has 1 less row of stitching at the collar - and the V stitching across the collar is might narrower.

Collar Tab:

The Repro (Left) is not missing the button under the collar like my example 2nd Gen jacket.

The goofiness on the repro, is with the placement of the top lapel button. Repro (top), original (bottom).

Here's some more to emphasize the point.


Here's a variety of originals with the repro slid in.

I understand the logic behind going to S, M and L - but, the big tag is annoying - to further add the upsidown S is just obnoxious.

But why all the fuss since it can and will get torn out - on top of being on an inauthentic cotton lining... but more about that later.

Storm Flap Detail

Ok, so the flap itself is a bit narrower... I can live with this.

Zooming out a bit - there's a lot going on here.

I lined up the jacket, from shoulder seams to bottom. They're spot on in length.

Obviously, the storm flap on the repro is considerably longer than the original. Since its longer, the collar got munchkin sized.

This isn't just about buttons not lining up or being in the right place. It really has a major impact on the overall appearance of the jacket.

These details and possibly the zipper fuck this jacket.

Zipper Placement:

Continuing with the jacket lined up as before, storm flap opened. Big WTF moment. They started the zipper at the bottom of the collar rather than the bottom of the jacket. Looks funny this way...

If you line the zipper bottom edge up - things start to make a little bit of sense...

Things start to line up and work in my brain - here's my train of thought.

If they would have started the zipper at the bottom of the jacket, it would have been been obvious that the collar was munchkinized.

Instead, the munchkin collar stuck - and the rest of of the front was just adjusted to fit from there. The storm flap was lengthened, with buttons spaced equidistant all the way up to meet said munchkin collar.

This shit right here sinks my battleship.

Zipper Details:

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

This is the same zipper as featured on the Gen 1 and Gen 2 jackets.



The pockets on the Summer 41 were fixed from the Gen 2's which were about an inch too large at the opening.

Now that the pocket size is fixed, I'll bitch about the placement. They're a touch low for my tastes.

Similarly styled QM tag.

The serifed S is cute. Great I guess...

Country of origin and care tag details:

Country of origin tag - easily and rapidly torn out for your pleasure.

Care tag on reverse - Wash Cold, Hang Dry... which means wash however the f you want - as it needs shrunk to be anywhere close to where it should be if you ordered the "right" size.

The lining:

Saved it for last. Its the same as the outside of the jacket. It's cut just as if it were a wool lining .

If you want to re-line the jacket with something else, the existing lining is a ready made pattern for you, just cut it out and have fun...

There's really not a whole lot more I can say about it. It is no surprise what you're getting here when you order it as far as lining.



Its cheap. $59.95
Sized like a 38... when marked "S" (33-36) - I guess that's a bonus.
Buttons are great
Construction quality is good
Color is right in there.
Pockets are the correct size.
Zipper is good quality
Zipper length is correct, but not so much about the storm flap.
Its cheap. $59.95. Did I mention its cheap?

Collar is munchkin sized.
Storm flap is stretched to accommodate munchkin collar.
Back band is too high.
Cuff tab placed too low.
Typical minor button placement issues

Parting shots:

You totally get what you pay for on this one. For $60, its a nice casual wear jacket.

If it was a Gen 2, with a cotton lining, straight up - no other changes - it'd be an awesome project jacket. Some of the issues with the Gen 2 are fixed, but in the process of fixing minor issues - pattern issues have been introduced.

I'm disappointed in the end - especially because I keep comparing it against a Gen 2.

Its a decent jacket for the money and I'll probably wear it in the spring and fall as the weather changes. I wont be wearing it as a regular part of my kit.

If a cotton lined 41 jacket tickles your fancy because of the climate you live in - this is totally your answer at a cheap price.

If you're looking for a project jacket to work into a neat easter egg piece of kit - keep looking.




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