90th IDPG Research


The M-1938 Legging - An Introduction

Published: Fall 2008
Author: Mike "Squirrely" Ellis

The Cut Down--
Additionally, some GI’s felt it unnecessary for leggings to go so high up the leg – this did nothing to protect the boot, but did mean extra lacing. It was not unheard of for some soldiers to specially ‘cut down’ leggings to a more comfortable height. If you plan on doing this…remember to retain a reasonable height. Cut off less, and work your way down – you can never reattach it once it’s been cut!

Cut down leggings, showing overall height - this is not how cut downs were worn, but an illustration of the typical specimin.

Cut Downs - note how he is carrying a knife tucked inside. You can also tell these have been shortened by hand due to the considerable fraying. Only because of this GI's seated position and trench knife is the modification visible - it is possible that many others in the shot were also wearing cut down leggings which are obscured by the bloused trousers.


Cut-down leggings.

Cut-down leggings, as worn with trousers bloused.


But how often were cut-downs actually worn? Original images abound, but it is difficult to discern between cut-downs, factory short, and full-length leggings which have been bloused to an extreme extent.

An original wartime cut-down legging. This lone example (there was only one like this) was found in the junk box of a locally well-known vendor. The purchase price was paltry, and there appears little reason to "fake" this type of modification. Construction was as such: a full height legging is cut down three eyelets. The binding tape at the top of the stub is removed intact, and re-applied by hand or tailor to prevent additional fraying.


A close-up of the markings - the first indication that this was cut down is that the markings are sliced off along with the rest of the upper part of the legging.


A detail of the crude hand stitching. Note how the thread is the same beige color commonly found in GI sewing kits. It is very, very likely that this modification was performed by the original wearer of these leggings. While such modified items were to be discarded, this lone example may have survived simply because it appears so close to the standard short model.




Army vs. Navy Markings

Wearing Them--

Correct Use
Lacing Methods
Putting Them On
Step 1-2
Step 3-5
Step 6-9
Step 10
Step 11

Different Ways to Wear Leggings--

The High Roller
The Cut Down
No Leggings?
Leggings For Dummies

War Time Changes--

Reduced Eyelets
The Change to O.D. #7
Leggings, Dismounted, O.D.
Factory-made Cut Downs?

Other Hints and Tips--

Taking Out That Rock




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