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- The United States Army in World War II used a variety of standard and non-standard dress and battle uniforms, which often changed depending upon the theater of war, climatic environment, and supply exigencies.
- World War II, or the Second World War, was a global military conflict, the joining of what had initially been two separate conflicts.
- Since then, the world has seen two huge wars, hundreds of smaller skirmishes, and military technological advancements that are both terrifying and incredibly badass.
The United States Army in World War II used a variety of standard and non-standard dress and battle uniforms, which often changed depending upon the theater of war, climatic environment, and supply exigencies.
Army basic service uniforms consisted of a winter service uniform of olive drab wool worn in temperate weather and a summer service uniform of khaki tan fabric.
In addition to the service uniforms worn for ordinary duty and dress purposes there were a variety of fatigue and combat uniforms. Summer and winter service uniforms were during their respective seasons in the continental U. During World War II the European theater of operations Northwestern Europe was considered a year-round temperate uniform zone and the Pacific theater of operations a year-round tropical uniform zone.
In the Mediterranean theater U. Shirts with two patch pockets and without shoulder straps were either 8. Either shirt could be worn under the coat; however, the cotton shirt could not be worn as an outer garment with the wool trousers. Whenever the shirt was worn as an outer garment the necktie was tucked between the second and third button of the shirt. In the shirt was redesigned with collar band removed so the collar would lay flat when worn in the field.
The OD shade 3 necktie was shortly superseded by a Khaki shade 5 wool cotton blend necktie. The single color khaki shade 5 necktie was mandated for both summer and winter service uniforms. The enlisted man's summer service uniform consisted of the cotton khaki shade No. The necktie was tucked between the second and third button of the shirt. The enlisted soldier's round crown visor caps were no longer issued to enlisted troops after Thereafter, only the garrison cap in either olive drab for winter or khaki tan for summer with piping in the color of the soldiers basic specialty branch remained as the universal enlisted service headgear.
The soldiers distinctive unit insignia was worn on the left front if the unit issued the DUI. However, after the manufacture of DUIs were suspended for the duration of the war.
Issue footwear consisted of low quarter russet brown leather cap toe boots. For more on Army footwear see Combat Uniforms chapter below. The male officer's winter service uniform in consisted of a 4 button 4 pocket coat of finer wool fabric in olive drab shade No. The coat was worn with a russet brown leather Sam Brown belt until when the leather belt was replaced by a cloth belt of matching fabric to the coat.
Officers could wear trousers matching the color and fabric of the coat, or optionally they were allowed taupe colored, trousers, officially called "drab shade 54", of the same material as the coat, nicknamed "pinks", leading to the nickname "pinks and greens" for the iconic combination. By officers shirts consisted of khaki shade 1 cotton or tropical wool shirts to be worn with either the summer or winter uniforms and olive drab wool shirts in light or dark shade with the addition of shoulder straps depending on the uniform worn.
Officers also had additional shirt color and fabric options, OD dark shade No. The shirt had to be either the same shade OD as the trousers or dark shade with the taupe trousers. Male officer's summer service uniforms usually consisted of the wash-and-wear cotton khaki shade 1 uniforms like those of the enlisted men, the main difference being that the shirts had shoulder straps added.
An OD dark shade wool shirt and cotton khaki trouser combination was also authorized for officers in tropical zones. However, for dress purposes officer's also had the option of purchasing a khaki shade 1 summer service uniform of tropical weight suiting fabric. This uniform was identical in cut to the winter officers' uniform. However, the cloth belt of the winter service coat was omitted. Officer's headgear for the winter uniform consisted of either an Olive Drab OD peaked cap with a russet leather visor or a garrison cap matching the OD fabric shade worn.
The garrison cap for officers was piped around the curtain with black and gold cord except for general officers whose piping was all gold. The peak cap was also available in khaki tan with a removable top to be worn with the khaki summer uniform.
Optionally khaki garrison caps were worn with the summer khaki uniform with the same piping as the winter OD version. Footwear normally consisted of russet-brown leather Type I leather-soled service shoes. During the war in Europe a short jacket was adopted by General Eisenhower as an option to the 4 pocket service coat. The so called "Eisenhower" or "Ike" jacket Eisenhower jacket was popular. It closely resembled the short British Battle Dress jacket that inspired it.
However, development and approval by the Army was slow. Except for small runs of jackets made for enlisted soldiers in England, the U.
S Army didn't provide the jacket as an issue item to enlisted soldiers until the war in Europe was almost over. There were several versions. Two Ike jackets were manufactured in England and issued to troops in Europe before the jackets were approved Army wide. Both of these were essentially wool versions of the pattern poplin field jacket.
There were also non-standard conversions made for GIs particularly officers by tailors in the United Kingdom with degrees of variation. While originally intended as a field or combat jacket, it was nearly always reserved for service or dress wear.
The M44 ultimately replaced the four button service dress jacket for enlisted troops. However, the phase out of the enlisted service coat was only completed after the war was over. The blue denim uniform was for wear during fatigue duties. It was composed of a denim jacket and trousers and a broad-brimmed denim "Clamdigger" hat. In it was replaced by Herringbone-Twill HBT one piece coveralls intended for aircraft mechanics and armored crews and a two piece HBT work uniform both in olive drab shade 3.
With the service uniform the enlisted arm- and branch-of-service insignia was embossed on circular pins, while the officer's insignia was "free work" i. Officer's arm-of-service pins "U.
EM wore the US disk on the right and the branch disk on the left upper lapel. The rank of officers was worn on the outer edge of the shoulder loops whereas enlisted soldiers wore rank chevrons three inches wide points up on both upper arms. Organizational patches were worn on the left upper shoulder only.
When the coat was worn no insignia was worn on the shirts except sew on patches. When the shirt was worn as an outer garment officer's wore pin on insignia on the shirt. Until the officer's US pin was worn on the right collar point and the officer's branch insignia was worn on the left.
The officer's rank was worn on the outer ends of the officer's shoulder loops as on the coat. After, September the US pin was deleted and the rank of the wearer was displayed on the right collar point. Distinctive Unit Insignia pins featuring the unit's coat-of-arms were worn in the center of the epaulet for officers and on lower lapels for enlisted men. These devices were rarely seen during the war as a metal conservation measure. Wound Chevrons awarded from to for wounds in combat were worn on the lower right sleeve between the cuff and the elbow.
Service Stripes , or "Hash Marks", awarded for every 3 years of service were worn on the lower left sleeve. After the Service Stripes were kept on the lower left sleeve and the Overseas Service Stripes were moved to the lower right sleeve. Discharged soldiers returning home wore the embroidered Honorable Discharge Emblem or " Ruptured duck " on the uniform over the right top tunic pocket on a diamond-shaped Olive Drab cloth backing. American and foreign medals or medal ribbons are worn above the left top tunic pocket.
American and foreign Unit citation ribbons are worn over the right top tunic pocket. The Meritorious Unit Commendation patch [created ] awarded to a unit for at least 6 months of exemplary combat service or combat support is worn on the lower right sleeve above the cuff and below the Wound Chevrons.
Female members of the U. Prior to , the ANC winter service uniform consisted of the ANC pattern dark blue cap or garrison cap with maroon piping, suit jacket with maroon cuff braid and gold army buttons, light blue or white shirt, black tie and light blue skirt, shoes were black or white. The ANC summer service uniform consisted of a similar suit in beige with maroon shoulder strap piping and cuff braid, beige ANC cap or beige garrison cap with maroon piping, white shirt, and black four-in-hand tie.
During World War II the first flight nurses uniform consisted of a blue wool battle dress jacket, blue wool trousers and a blue wool men's style maroon piped garrison cap. The uniform was worn with either the ANC light blue or white shirt and black tie. Nurses wore Army hospital whites on ward duty, . Army service members. From that point the WAC were U. Army service members and their insignia was changed to that of the regular army.
Female service dress went through an evolution of patterns over the course of the war years, however throughout the period the service uniforms both summer and winter generally consisted of the WAC pattern "Hobby" hat or women's garrison cap, a women's suit coat, shirtwaist, four-in-hand tie, skirt, russet leather women's service shoes and hand bag. The women's olive drab wool "Ike jacket" was also worn as were women's service trousers. The colors essentially mirrored those of their male counterparts of corresponding rank in the equivalent service uniform although fabrics differed.
There were also special off duty dresses of summer beige and winter tan. However, those items were changed to olive drab and russet leather respectively. The previous ANC beige summer service uniform with maroon trim was retained except that the tie was changed to maroon. Nurses wore Army hospital whites on ward duty although a seersucker version with brown and white stripes was created because the whites were hard to maintain in some overseas areas.
This dress was inspired by a WAC seersucker version the same color. Sage green fatigue uniforms of herringbone cotton twill for women, along with women's combat boots, field jackets and flight clothing, were manufactured by the U. Army during World War II. They wore it with the back of the brim flipped up and the front of the brim pulled down and nicknamed it the " Daisy Mae Cap". 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 cap , olive-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.
The U. 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 ETO , the 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. Camouflage Caps. US Cap Badges. The following is a series of photos showing some of the different types uniforms employed by the American armed forces during WWII. Mesh Goggles.
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