From a CW standpoint there are some great period images that were taken at Antietam. Specifically of casualties from Starks brigade along the Hagerstown pike. Without exception they are wearing their shell jackets. The jackets are worn open for the most part with the equipment over the jackets. This model is fairly consistent throughout most CW images of casualties. As you guys know period textiles are dramatically different then the vast majority of mainstream reproductions available. Having said that I feel that the garments "breathed". Much better then the modern reproductions. It's also a matter of convience. Anything not worn has to by necessity be carried. As a combat vet I can tell you I would much rather wear it in most cases then carry it. Clearly from a cav standpoint that may be different. From an equipment accountability standpoint as well as a esprit de corp standpoint it makes sense that they would go into the fight with their sacks on.
Great points, all. I'd buy that. Over the years I've noticed a few things as I've pondered this issue--- both from the "experimental Archaeology" standpoint and from deploying to vacation spots like Iraq... --Ordering troops to blouse up before battle certainly makes sense. In the current sense, suiting up w/LBE etc, sleeves down, gloves on, goggles on, kneepads etc.-- is common sense , aids uniformity and eqpt. accountability--as well as keeping the troops protected (somewhat). Given the command climate of the IWP I have to wonder about the concern for enlisted well being, uniformity and equipt. accountability--- but certainly the esprit/military bearing part makes sense. --Horses are hard on riders and equipt., and I found that the more gear I wear on horseback-- the more I get beat with it. (hunting trips wearing slinged rifles and daypacks-- not a good idea...it's always better to attached tightly to the saddle as much as can) Bouncing along with a carbine and sling would be better on top of several fabric layers--but that's a personal opinion, there. ---Combat troops develop their own personal "style" based on common sense, utility, and function which is evident in every war, every time period. Just what that is for a particular timeframe-- the photographic record doesn't always show, but there is a noticable difference in the garrison look versus the field look. It's facinating to take a look at original surviving eqpt./accoutrements/weapons/uniforms and compare the "wear marks"-- fabric fatigue, etc. with your own gear. A real eye opener.
Well stated! I sincerely doubt that the mens welfare occupies the same place it did when I was serving. Although I can tell you that supply does not always reach the units you would think it would. A very close friend of mine who just retired as an 18 series officer was a 2nd Lt in the 101st during the first gulf war. After sitting on the border for ever and a year they were having to duct tape their boots together! As hard as that is to believe its a fact. In the friggin 101st AB for god sakes LOL! My point being that as you know the welfare of the men is not always under the control of the officers at the battalion or even regimental level. At the same time I was a LtJG in the Naval special warfare community. We had more equipment then we could use and a green card to buy anything else we wanted. I never understood the mentality of giving a team of 126 guys unlimited access to a government credit card with minimal oversight while making some poor 11 series guy date tape his boots.
I found the comment about developing your own style of carrying your equipment really funny. Isn't amazing how you can look at a group of 30 guys wearing the exact same crap from behind and identify every one of em by name just by the way they wear their gear! When I think of the crap we used to wear in the name of esprit de corps I laugh my ass off! Picture this.....Jungle boots with white wool socks folded over the tops, UDT shorts, blue and gold PT shirts, and a navy BDU cap! LOL! If it was really cold we wore BDU bottoms and Navy blue hoodies as well! That was the friggin work uniform! Why? Because it immediately identified who we were without any insignia other then rank on the cap. Anyway this isn't about 80's vintage frogmen!
I cant speak to strapping stuff to a horse but I can only imagine that the tighter its secured the better as long as its still accessible when needed.
Sorry--- back from Christmas break ...ditto on your observations. I was assigned with the 80th Div. and rotated into Iraq with them as one of the first units issued the ACU--- myself and a few others had already been issued DCUs --so we had both types of camo/uniforms/acoutrements going in and all the nice techie weapon stuff (M4's, laser sights, NVG mounts, IR patches, etc.). For awhile we wore some components interchangeably which had me continually thinking that perhaps some day; some group of military history enthusiasts would be arguing over what was "regulation", "personal choice" or commander's perogative for troops "way back in 'Oh-Five' during OIF..." !
It was particularly aggravating to catch all the negative media coverage bashing operations --while featuring outdated footage from the intitial invasion to lend bias to stories dealing with actions taking place 4-5-6 years later. You can still see it. Hillarriously--- it fits right into CWP reenactorspeak: "early war" "mid war" and "late war" ! Ha-har
Enlisted wool hat cords are everywhere...just DON'T go to outlets that sell cheap, farby, synthetic garbage such as Dixie Gun Works. They'd be happy to sell you something that would look great on some state trooper's smokey hat...
From my point of view (and its just that) its not and wasn't a fashion show on campaign. Crap like hat cords were one of the first things that went on Hardee hats and I would imagine the same applies to IW campaign hats.