Identification and dating military uniforms

Military Uniform Badges and Portrait Photographs | Imperial War Museums

identification and dating military uniforms

I am always looking for ways to identify the age of historic military clothing or equipment that I find. I came across a great resource which explains the date codes. A military uniform is a standardised dress worn by members of the armed forces and . The New Model Army was clothed in the civilian costume of the date— ample coat, waistcoat, . Sometimes the Napoleonic Wars are identified as being the acme of colourful and ornate uniforms, but actually the several decades of. U.S. Army Clothing Contract Database Returns the contract date, contractor name, item name, specification number, and depot name for a given contract or Returns a list of contracts issued for an item identified by its specification number.

This and other features of the historic Prussian Army uniform were generally adopted by the other German States as they fell under Prussian influence before and after the Franco-Prussian War of Bavarians however continued to wear light blue and Saxon regiments retained a number of distinctions after the establishment of the German Empire The British infantry retained their scarlet tunics for parade and "walking out" wear while the bulk of French regiments wore red trousers with dark or light blue tunics.

The infantry of the Austro-Hungarian Empire discarded their historic white tunics in in favour of dark blue. Retained however were the extremely large number of colours appearing on collars, cuffs and shoulder straps to distinguish the various regiments.

identification and dating military uniforms

However, bydrab colours were increasingly being adopted for active service and ordinary duty wear. A darker version, known as "service drab", was adopted for home service field wear in[30] [22] the same year that the US Army also adopted khaki for non-dress occasions.

The Italians introduced grey-green infollowed by the German and Austrian armies who adopted different shades of grey.

The Russians had changed to a grey shade of khaki infollowing their experience in the Russo Japanese War of There was however strong attachment to the colourful uniforms as previously worn on all occasions and the process was not an inexorable one. The Danish Army adopted grey-green uniforms for all occasions inreverted to a combination of dark and light blue intook up light grey in and finally settled for khaki in The Imperial Russian armies following their adoption of khaki-grey field uniforms intook the opportunity to upgrade their parade uniforms to much more elaborate and colorful styles, and were experimenting with a mix of khaki and bright colours when war broke out in Embroidered chest panels and coloured buttons on headdresses were used to distinguish rank and sometimes unit.

From the Imperial Chinese Army adopted dark blue uniforms of Japanese style with coloured facings of red, white or yellow to distinguish the different branches. The Imperial Guard Division had a light grey uniform with the same branch colours as the line.

A khaki summer uniform was worn by the entire army. Amongst the frontline troops of the combatant powers in August only the Belgian and French [35] armies saw active service in bright colours and old fashioned headgear although the Austro-Hungarian cavalry retained their blue and red uniforms for field wear after the remainder of the army had gone into pike grey in The demands of modern warfare as well as financial economy soon saw these survivals vanish and by all involved armies were in either khaki RussiaTurkishSerbia, Montenegro, Japan, Greek, French colonial and Britainvarious shades of grey GermanItalianBulgarian, Portuguese, and Austro-Hungarian or sky blue French and Romanian.

The coloured uniforms of peacetime were often relegated to depot wear by recruits doing their basic training. Steel helmets first appeared in the form of the "Adrian" helmet adopted by the French Army in The practical advantages of this innovation led the British and German armies to adopt their own helmets by Other armies followed suit - the Belgians and Italians for example copying the French model and the Austro-Hungarians that of Germany.

Between the wars[ edit ] The drab uniforms of remained in general use until the Second World War. This was partly for political reasons since the RepublicanFascistNazi and Communist regimes that replaced many of the old monarchies and empires had little interest in preserving the splendours of their predecessors.

However even in those societies where there was social and political continuity the trend was away from the traditional uniforms worn prior to The British Army reintroduced full dress for Guards regiments in and regimental bands bywhile permitting officers to wear their mess eveningblue or green "patrols" semi-formal and full dress on appropriate occasions. The French reintroduced "grande tenue" in for North African regiments which were mostly dependent on voluntary recruiting, and after required all regular officers to acquire dress uniforms in the pre colours of their branch or regiment.

identification and dating military uniforms

Elsewhere full or coloured dress of traditional cut was generally restricted to formal uniforms for officers and long service regulars, ceremonial guards and a few other limited categories. The Spanish Army which had not been involved in the First World War exceptionally continued to issue coloured uniforms to all its conscript rank and file until and thereafter to the garrisons of Seville, Barcelona and Madrid for special ceremonials until The use of steel helmets was by now almost universal and a number of countries adopted their own designs moving away from the German, British and French models of the First World War.

identification and dating military uniforms

Steel helmets, originally simply items of utilitarian protective clothing, were adopted as parade headdress by the French, German, Italian and Soviet armies, amongst others, between the Wars. This publication containing various images and description of Red Army uniforms and insignia was printed by the British Imperial War Office during the Second World War and was distributed to British officers.

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Note the message that tells the recipient the manual "must not fall into enemy hands". Second World War[ edit ] Uniforms of varying shades of khaki and grey were universal in the Second World War but the cut and outline appearance of the different armies still made identification in the field relatively straight forward. A Soviet soldier would, for example be distinguishable from his German opponent by his general outline, even in the fog of battle.

British, American, Japanese and French uniforms still retained some distinctive features, even as they became more and more utilitarian in the course of the War. The US Army discarded its First World War style field uniforms in in favour of a very plain and practical combat dress in a thin light brown wool shirt sometimes with an olive green cast and slightly darker trousers.

This was worn in conjunction with a smart olive drab "Class A" dress uniform—which in many cases varied to a rich "chocolate" brown tunic worn with khaki trousers. The war started with American combat troops wearing combat shoes with "spats" a form of gaitersreplaced later in the war with 2-buckle combat boots. By contrast, British soldiers, other than officers, had their battledress for all occasions. In Germany the Nazi regime retained uniforms with many traditional features from Imperial Germany for its army uniforms, such as field grey cloth, marching boots a taller version for officerscollar litzen braiding and breeches for officers and NCOs ; German Panzer tank troops had a special combat uniform made of black wool and German troops serving in tropical climates had uniforms in a shade of khaki.

Imperial Japan used a light brown or khaki colour for most Imperial army uniforms—though there was also a green service dress tunic for officers. Footwear was reddish brown jack boots restricted for wear only by officerswhile soldiers wore shoes with leg wrappings puttees.

From toSoviet Army uniforms for all troops except than tank troops were an intermediate shade of brown; uniforms included a field uniform " gymnasterka " shirt with collar tabs and a 2-button breast opening, belt, breeches, garrison cap, and bootsa service dress "kittel" tunic worn with breeches or trousers, and a dress uniform "mundir" tunic worn with deep blue breeches.

identification and dating military uniforms

Soviet tank troops wore the gymnastyrka shirt, kittel dress tunic in a bluish grey rather than brown colour. Inthe Soviet Army began to re-adopt many Tsarist Army features, notably braided shoulder boardswhich had previously been forbidden since the founding of the Soviet Army as a sign of an undesirable "social class" mentality.

The reintroduction of these epaulettes in was a relatively inexpensive means of boosting Soviet troop morale. Once reintroduced to the Soviet Army, the use of shoulder boards was never rescinded and they remained part of the uniform until the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The distinct bluish grey colour for tankers was eliminated infrom which point on all units of the Soviet Army wore brown. The utilitarian necessities of war and economic frugality are now the dominant factors in uniform design.

Most military forces, however, have developed several different uniform types, including combat dress, working dress, service or ordinary duty uniforms and to a very limited extent ceremonial full dress. The practice of wearing a form of full dress off duty "walking out dress" has largely died out as the modern soldier prefers the casual clothing of his civilian peers.

Soldiers of the French Armed Forces do however still wear their kepis and a modified form of parade dress off duty, which can be seen every 14 July, during the Bastille Day Military Paradein Paris.

Camouflage[ edit ] Australian Major General John Cantwell wearing formal uniform All of the above armies wear some form of camouflage uniforms for training and active service. These generally resemble each other and armies in the field are no longer differentiated by the distinctive cut or colour of their clothing. Camouflage clothing, being cheap, comfortable and practical, has increasingly become the usual dress for daily wear in most armies, superseding the various "service" uniforms which were often the field dress of previous wars.

In poorer parts of the third world, especially Africa, the camouflage clothing worn comes from a variety of sources and is of many different patterns, so that an army's dress is definitely military, but to a large extent not uniform. Albans during the administration nra symbol of the u s. Mar 31, huntsville, and the only a trial membership.

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The Divisional patch was worn below the line of the shoulder and above the rank stripes on the left sleeve. On the overseas cap, the officer's rank insignia or enlisted man's branch-of-service insignia disk was worn on the left side. Decorations and Badges were worn similar to the "Class A" uniform except only medal ribbons could be worn with Service Dress.

It used light-weight chino cloth versions of the trousers and shirt and was worn with a light Olive Drab OD3 tie. Decorations and badges were not usually worn with the "Class C" Uniform in the field but were worn in garrison. The "Class A" version khaki long-sleeve cotton shirt, necktie, gabardine wool dress jacket, gabardine wool trousers, and peaked cap was phased out by The "Class B" version khaki long-sleeve or short-sleeve cotton shirt, optional necktie, cotton trousers, and side-cap although lighter and technically cooler than the temperate uniform, required a lot of starch to remain crisp in the humid tropical air.

A smarter-looking and easier to maintain permanent-press version of the Khaki "Class B" uniform was used during the early s to the mid s. It was composed of a denim jacket and trousers and a broad-brimmed denim "Clamdigger" hat.

The expensive and labor-intensive fur-felt Campaign hat was replaced with either the folding cloth "Overseas Cap" for wear in the field or the Peaked cap for dress or formal duty wear.

The wool Class B or cotton Class C service shirts were only made with epaulets for officers in order to save material. Brass buttons were replaced by plastic ones. The buttons on the dress tunic were changed from the branch of service insignia to a "GI" insignia the Army Eagle - except for Engineer officers, who still wore the Engineer "Castle" insignia on theirs. In the Army Dress Blue uniform was discontinued as an austerity measure.

It would not be restored until Issue of the saber to Army officers was discontinued and never restored. In the M Sam Browne Belt was discontinued to save leather.

The Class A dress jacket replaced its separate leather waistbelt with a cloth belt that was sewn-in at the back of the jacket's waist. Army Combat Uniforms[ edit ] The United States Army during the inter-war period followed the previous model of having a standard uniform that combined elements of both the Class A basic service uniform and Class B basic field uniform.

By combining the uniforms, it was thought that time and money could be saved. Included in the clothing system was an olive-drab OD wool garrison capolive-drab wool trousers, an olive-drab wool spread-collared shirt worn with a black tie, an olive-drab wool four button tunic, and russet brown Type I leather-soled or Type II rubber-soled service shoes.

The basic Army field or combat uniform for temperate or cool climates consisted of the basic wool uniform, without tie, along with a field jacket or wool overcoat, leggings, helmet and web gear. Marine Corps used its pre-war Sage Green shade and its web gear came in the pre-war "Mustard Tan" shade. In the European theater of operations ETOthe basic wool uniform saw the most use and had the greatest functionality, being able to keep the soldier warm in the winter with its insulation and relatively cool and breathable in Northern European summer weather.

However, the Olive Drab Cotton Field Jacket came in for considerable criticism; it was poorly insulated and the light cotton shell provided little protection from wind or rain. In addition, the OD3 coloring was deemed inappropriate for use in northern Europe, as it stood out against most backdrops, making soldiers more visible targets.

The uniform consisted of a shirt, trousers, and initially a circular-brimmed "clamdigger" HBT utility hat. This was later followed by a billed cap that was based on a design used by railroad workers.

Initially it was meant to be worn over the basic wool uniform to provide protection, however it proved to be much better material than the primary uniform for hot weather and tropical climates. The HBTs, although initially meant for wear during fatigue duties, were very commonly used as combat clothing, especially in hot weather. It was used as such in nearly all of the major theaters of combat that the US was involved in. The original M uniform came in a light sage green color that faded to a light green with repeated washing.