Thursday, January 31, 2013

Field Jacket: Unlikely Beginnings

Most everyone loves a field jacket. J.Crew makes a nice one, Fjallraven makes a nice waxed one that I own, Alpha Industries has made the civilian M-65 forever. They are utilitarian, stylish and hell, they make you look cool.
Oban - this is the one I have (well, the model I have).

This is the J.Crew Garrison Fatigue Jacket, being worn by some, like, model dude.

The good old Alpha Industries M-65. What up.

Would you believe these jackets, these iconic pieces of menswear, actually can trace their existence to this coat?

It's the M-41 field jacket! Oh snap!

The M-41 field jacket (a reproduction above) was issued to US military personnel in the early days of World War II (any guesses what the 41 stands for? That's right, year), and a outright success it wasn't. Sure, it had hand warmer pockets, but made of cotton and lined with wool, despite the wind flap guarded zipper, it wasn't warm. And you couldn't carry shit with it. It looked cool, which was why soldiers liked it, and if you weren't in the front, that would be cool. Paratroopers were issued their own uniform, the M42, and if you've seen Band of Brothers, you know what that looks like. It looks like this:

M42 - Look, pockets!

This could carry your gear. Worn through Normandy, by Market Garden in September 1944, paratroopers, and everyone else, began wearing the M-43 field jacket. Which had buttons instead of a zipper, but otherwise looked much like what everyone thinks a field jacket should look like these days.
M-43: There are buttons under that flap. That's what She said.

The M-51 was the M-43, but with a zipper:

M-51, this one being a reproduction that US Wings sells

And after this was the M-65, which everyone knows. Thus ends the lecture! Well, if you want some extra credit, here are more pictures of my M-41 (which has moved on since those pics were taken):

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