Uniforms


Introduction


Interested but don't have anything or know anything about US Uniforms? No problem, we can help you out, our unit closet and personal closets can easily equip people who are 'on the fence'. Years of collecting, multiple impressions, raided college funds, sofa cushion searches, and untreated shopoholism have lead to more uniforms than we could possibly wear at once.

If you are 'authentic sized' (~5' 8" and ~140lbs), then you will have no problem finding any uniform at relatively low-cost (we have plenty of loaner gear to help you early on). If you are 'Modern Man' sized (larger than the above in either dimension by 4" and/or 50lbs), then it may be more difficult and costly. Large originals can be found, but usually at a cost. Reproduction uniforms in modern sizes are available, but cost more (generally).

Don't know your size? Get a measuring tape or a string and a ruler/yardstick. Then follow this handy guide.



Recommended Uniform

It should look something like this
(if it doesn't, one of us is wrong)

We want new members that have no gear to be 'up and running' as quickly as possible. We also recognize that they need to be, in most cases, making their dollar go farther. Thus, we've developed the following suggested package:

Suggested Package
1 - Ski Cap (1st pattern or 2nd pattern)

OR
1 - Pair Mountain Boots
1 - Pair OD Gaiters

OR
1 - M43 Jacket & M43 Trouser set (unreinforced)

Reproduction Mountain Trousers and Jackets are available, trousers in most sizes and jackets in 40R+ sizes. In the case that you aren't a 40R+ in the mountain jacket (Kyle wears 38R but fits in a 42R and gets along swimmingly in it [it's big]), you can substitute the Mountain Jacket for a M43 jacket, but keep the mountain trousers. We suggest double buckles (more universal and more cheaply available), but Mountain Boots with gaiters are absolutely acceptable (they can be rough on your feet though). As you can probably tell, we suggest you try to use as much of the Mountain gear and uniforms as possible. 

Basic Uniform

There is one basic uniforms (hat, shirt, trouser, belt) that WILL get you out into the field at events with us or any other unit really. Whether you come by it by purchasing it outright or borrowing off others, it'll work. Either set will work for you, you do not need to acquire both. There are two different types of boots approved for beginner use, either will work for you, you need not acquire both.

You are not required to have a weapon, field gear, pack, equipment, or anything else like that to participate. We can and will help you out with those things.

Please also see the Quartermaster section of this site for other vendors, est. prices (they vary), and further information.

"Wool Uniform" (Class B Uniform)
This was issued to nearly every soldier in the Army. The wool is cooler than one would initially believe, but from June-August they get hot quickly. This uniform will take you the longest way in building an impression since it was worn with nearly every other uniform. It was worn in the field, in camp, and also forms the basis for the Class A uniform (just add a 4 Pocket coat or Ike jacket). Normally, the tie is not worn with us out in the field, but it is a good, cheap, item to have in case you want to go to a dance or end up in a 'stateside' scenario. The Class B is usually the minimum appropriate uniform in those situations. 

Appropriate footwear for our unit would be the Service Shoes with M1938 dismounted leggings or the Two-Buckle boots, again, we suggest the latter. The Service Shoes are more appropriate for dress occasions, however clean and dubbed Two-Buckle boots will work with a Class A, dress, uniform. 

We suggest that you add the ski cap, assuming you're in our unit, since it's special to the 10th and has a brim on it (the garrison cap doesn't and is quite worthless as far as hats go). Note: dry clean only!!!


OR

Optional:
1 - Ski Cap (1st pattern or 2nd pattern) (highly recommended)
or
1 - HBT Cap (least preferred - but the nicest in hot weather)

Whitey in the Class B uniform (less the tie), with double buckles, HBT cap and a M1919A4

Boot Treatment
It is suggested that boots be snosealed before use in the field (especially if they are double-buckles or any other rough-out boot). Snoseal waterproofs the boot and darkens up the leather. Buy a jar of Snoseal (one jar will do your boots 2-3 times), get a blow dryer or small space heater and heat your boot's leather up. Take a rag and rub the Snoseal into the boot. Continue to apply until no more will be adsorbed by the boot. Apply this to the EXTERNAL SURFACE ONLY. The Snoseal will darken the leather and with multiple applications, darken it to a dark chocolate brown. Snoseal can be applied to the upper cuff of a double-buckle, your choice. You will find you will have to reapply the Snoseal about once every year.

The best and quickest way to break in a leather boot is to fill it with warm water (sink or tub). Then throw them on (wear waterproof socks if you have them). Go outside and walk around until they are completely and totally dry. Push-mow the lawn, walk the dogs, enjoy a local nature trail, go for a 15 mile road march, run the Chicago Marathon (in boots? YES YOU CAN!). Your feet will ache a bit (or a lot, take Motrin and change your socks), but your boots will be broken in! Throw a good boot insole in them and you're good to go.


Additional Uniforms

There is a little bit more detail here. These uniforms go beyond the basics and build on top of them. A Class A is something important to acquire for those special occasions. The Mountain Uniform is most appropriate for the 10th Mountain division. The M43, M41, and HBT uniform would be next to, perhaps, 'least' appropriate, if we wanted to rank them. The Class C was worn in summer and really is a 'fluff' uniform to acquire when you've already got the rest.

The greatest benefit of portraying a mountaineer with the 10th Mountain Division is that the unit was issued nearly every uniform, field gear, pack, and equipment in the supply line at some point in time. There are very few exceptions to this rule. This gives us a great deal of 'elbow room' when adding items to an impression or putting together alternate impressions. We have the ability to change over to do early-war Army in the Pacific, Marine Corps, the D-Day landings, Battle of the Bulge (late war), and nearly everything in-between.

However, the 10th Mountain Division was not issued any uniforms or equipment designed specifically for paratroopers (although we're searching for proof). Reinforced/modified jackets and trousers, rigger pouches, etc. fall into this category of non-issued uniforms. You will find paratrooper versions of the M1943 uniform and also come across the M1942 jump uniform, which was not issued to the 10th (that we know of). Jump boots were also not issued to the 10th (that we know of [but we're trying hard to find a photo]). Despite the fact that they were not issued this gear, it should not prevent you from buying it anyway if you so desire. 

Class A Uniform
The Class A uniform was a garrison duty and dress uniform. It is usually worn usually by our unit for special occasions like dances. However, is also worn when portraying a soldier 'stateside', e.g. on furlough or traveling by train/bus. It is your pick when it comes to Service Coat or Ike Jacket, either is approved for use. Service Shoes are the recommended footwear for this uniform, leggings are not worn with it. Clean and dubbed Two-Buckles are acceptable also. The garrison cap, part of the Class B uniform, can be worn and became the standard around 1941, however the visor-style Service Cap was still used and sold for private purchase. The Service cap came in EM and Officer varieties.

1 - Class B Uniform
1 - Service Coat or Ike Jacket

Optional:


John, Kyle, Chris and Casey in Class A uniform wearing Service Coats
Joe in the back in M43s.....

Mountain Uniform
Issued specifically to the 10th Mountain Division and no other US infantry division. This uniform set was the result of torture testing and many designs before and during the war. The trousers feature both hip, slash (with zippers), and cargo pockets. The jacket looks similar to a M42 or M43 jacket (because the latter were based off it). It has four front pockets, internal suspenders, an integrated backpack, and integrated hood. But wait, there's more! The Mountain Uniform is best worn with a stylish ski cap, there are two varieties out there, take your pick. Additionally, this uniform is worn with Mountain Boots and gaiters, described in the Advanced Footwear section later.

1 - Class B Uniform
1 - Mountain Jacket
1 - Mountain Trouser
1 - Ski Cap (1st pattern or 2nd pattern)
1 - Pair Mountain Boots
1 - Pair OD Gaiters

Mountain uniform, with 1st pattern ski cap, mountain boots, and white gaiters
Also, Shawn, is wearing a 5-button sweater

M1943 Uniform
The M1943 uniform was introduced to replace the M1941 uniform, but the '41 uniform never fully disappeared until after the war. The '43 jacket and trousers were made of cotton. The jacket features four pockets for storing lots of stuff and the trousers feature two slash and two hip pockets (like the 1st pattern HBTs or everyday jeans). It was normally worn over the Class B uniform in cold weather (the Army figured out the layering system), but our unit during the summer will usually just wear the cotton trousers, wool shirt, jacket and call it a day. There is a liner for the M43 jacket, don't bother with it, unless you ran out of other things to buy. Double-buckle boots are best for this uniform as is a HBT cap.

1 - Class B Uniform
1 - 
 M43 Jacket & M43 Trouser set (unreinforced)

Shawn displaying the M43 uniform, jacket and trousers, with scarf.

M1941 Uniform
Introduced to actually replace the above uniform for field use (the Class A was used in the field up until 1941). The Army realized that something more functional would be better for GIs. The '38 or '41 jacket is a lightweight coat, sometimes referred to as a "Parson's Jacket", since the coat was designed by General Parson. It features a zipper and buttons (for WHEN, not if, the zipper breaks), it is lightweight and wool lined. When it drops below 50 degrees on a windy overcast day, this coat will start getting cold after prolonged exposure. Service Shoes and leggings are generally most appropriate with this uniform.

1 - Class B Uniform
1 - M38 or M41 Jacket


Shawn, on left, in the M41 uniform, service shoes (can't see them, but they're there), dismounted leggings, scarf, and leather-palm gloves
Kyle, on right, in a M43 jacket, with double buckles and wool trousers.
 Both are equally as cold.

Kyle in the M41 uniform at the First Division Museum at Cantigny.

HBT (Fatigue) Uniform
This was the Army's fatigue uniform (the USMC also borrowed it also), it's lightweight, cool, and made of cotton (easily washable). It was worn only in the field, on work detail, or practice and would NOT be appropriate for formal occasions. The biggest difference between a first and second pattern HBT uniform is that the first pattern uniform's trousers have slash and hip pockets (like jeans), whereas the second pattern has only side cargo pockets. Either is proper, both were issued, pick what you prefer. The cap is your choice of personal preference.

1 - Class B Uniform
1 - HBT Jacket & Trouser set (1st or 2nd pattern)
1 - HBT Cap ('41 or '43 pattern)


Photo from 2012 of the combined 10th Mountain and 45th ID forces.
Full HBT Uniforms seen 3rd and 4th from left and the first two on right
Portions (trousers) worn 2nd and 5th from left.


Winter Combat Uniform
Commonly known as the Tanker Uniform and was, believe it or don't, issued to armored units. However, it was rapidly acquired by troops in other units. Consists of a jacket, trousers (overalls), and a "helmet" (a cloth hood). Just because it is called the 'winter combat uniform' and that we are the '10th Mountain Division' does not mean that we were issued it. Acquired, perhaps, but we had .specialized gear that was better than this (which was a vast improvement for the rest stuck in M41s)



Summer Uniform (Class C)
The summer khaki uniform, or Class C, was worn, mainly in summer. Also known as a "suntan" or "khaki" uniform. Could be worn in the field, garrison, or transit. It's made of cotton so it is slightly cooler than wool. Some soldiers chose to wear the khaki shirt instead of the wool shirt with their Class A uniform or field uniforms described below. Consider that more of an 'exception' than a 'norm'. Worn with a garrison cap (of same khaki material) and best with service shoes.

1 - Khaki Shirt & Trouser set
1 - Khaki Garrison cap


Hellar in Class C at Rockford. 

Parkas
For winter situations, parkas are going to add an additional layer, and are reversible to white or OD3. Some have fur lining around the cuffs and hood, others do not. There were several varieties of parkas made. They usually were worn over the mountain uniform. Again, most of our events are during the summer months (70+ degrees), so this is more display than actual usage.

Shawn exhibiting one of the parka patterns with the overwhite trousers (see below). He's also wearing the overwhite covers for his mittens.




Overwhites
Overwhite trousers were provided to obviously go over whatever uniform the mountain troops had on. Additionally, overwhite mitten covers were provided for the mittens. Finally, a rucksack cover was also made to round out this snow camouflage system. Wear this with your parka with the white side out. 

1 - Trouser
1 - Pair Overwhite mittens
1 - Rucksack Cover


John, Shawn, Jered, and Kyle in Parks and/or overwhites.
From left to right:
John: Parka and overwhite trousers
Shawn: Parka and overwhite trousers, overwhite mittens tucked in pistol belt
Jered: Overwhite jacket and trousers
Kyle: Guard's Parka, overwhite mittens, Mukluk boots


Accessories
There are a plethora of accessories out there, those little uniform things that make an overall impression complete. They don't fall in any major category. This list here may not be entirely exhaustive either. 

Wool Ski Trousers
In addition to the Mountain Trousers, mountaineers were issued these wool trousers. They are lined and are very warm. Worn, not surprisingly, while skiing.

Cold Weather Mask
A mask that went over one's face to protect it from the elements, wind and snow.

Phil sporting the cold weather mask.
Goes great with a chainsaw!

Wool Gloves, leather palm
Generally issued to all soldiers in cold weather so this isn't an exclusive item. Generally inferior to mittens since gloves do not prevent frostbite as well.

Casey with his father's very special and awesome original wool gloves with leather palms
Notice the non-period ear protection and the nicely cut grass... talk about farby!

Wool Mittens, trigger finger
The best of both worlds, mittens that help prevent frostbite, but with a trigger finger sewn in so that one may still use a weapon. However, reloading is a bit of a nuisance and it can be hell getting a firm grip.

Trigger Finger Mittens, covers
Covers with leather palms (to fix that grip issue) in a light OD. Add a overwhite shell and you are good to go for snow!

Socks, cushion sole
"Take some Motrin and change your socks, you'll be alright." You'll hear us say that frequently and this is half of what we're talking about. Soldiers were issued many pairs, since some were always damp/wet or multiple socks were worn at one time. A standard GI item.

Socks, Burlap
Socks made of burlap material. Special to the 10th Mountain and used as another layer of insulation inside the mountain boot. 

Underwear (boxers)
Another standard GI item. Not an important item since nobody has ever checked for authentic underwear at an event, however, a good item for display in a footlocker or up on a clothesline.

Long john tops and bottoms
Stay warm in these. Generally an off-white color and built like any other long johns you've ever seen.

Scarfs
Wool, nice and scratchy, but keeps the heat in and cold out. General issue item.


Advanced Footwear

Footwear, beyond Service Shoes and Two-Buckles is relatively easy to sum up.

Mountain Boots
The "Frankenstein" boots as we call them, generally come in two common varieties, slick sole (mostly leather) and rubber lugged sole. They are worn with short gaiters, half the size of the dismounted leggings. They were a 3-in-1 boot, marching, climbing, skiing. For skiing they have a cut out groove in the back of the heel which the spring binding on the ski fits in. Reproductions of the slick soled boots do exist. One variety of this boot we do not have is one with Tricouni nails in them (nap them if you see them for cheap!).

Later pattern mountain boots with the rubber lugs. The left pair with the white gaiters (for snow and show).
Go ahead and click on this photo. See those metal brackets on the right pair? Look at those screws. Phillips head screws!

Roughout boots
Field-use only worn with dismounted leggings. They can pass as USMC boondockers (main difference is the rubber sole's pattern) if one just adds USMC leggings (different variety with fewer eyelets and loops). Since you should not wear these with a Class B or Class A, they are not the best pick of footwear.

Shoepacs
WWII issue winter boots. They were made of rubber and were NOT designed to go over another boot (those are overshoes).

Overshoes
Designed to go over your shoes you have on. They will probably not work with mountain boots, but should work with the others. Designed to help keep your feet dry(er) than without them.

Mukluk Boots
White canvas boots with a white leather bottoms. Inside is a heavy insert designed to be worn OVER your service shoes. Very neat footwear and when you walk around you muffle all noise. 
 
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