Canada: an influential combat uniform designer?

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Canada: an influential combat uniform designer?

Joined: February 17th, 2002, 10:47 pm

October 7th, 2005, 8:31 pm #1

Hi all:
I just recieved my Irish defense forces since 1922 by Osprey and I decided to quickly skim through the colour plates and their captions. I took a look at the plates for the 1990s and beyond where the caption stated that the Irish army's heavy (or winter) jackets showed a Canadian influence both in the style and in the buttons.
I already know about the buttons 'cause I asked about them here some time ago but I was still surprised by the comments about the jackets.
Hence my question, has Canada become an influential combat uniform designer?
If so, when? (I leave aside CADPAT as we've discussed it at length and the pattern's influence is quite obvious with certain country's patterns like Italy and Finland among others)

Agree? Disagree?

xavier
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Ed Storey
Ed Storey

October 9th, 2005, 1:50 am #2

The Canadian buttons and the front-mounted ephaulette are all designs fromt he 1950s and have been adopted by the British and Irish.
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Joined: March 19th, 2003, 2:23 am

October 9th, 2005, 2:57 pm #3

Sorry, Ed, couldn't resist.

I'm surprised you didn't mention the Tanzanian uniforms. The latest British 'Soldier 95' uniforms have buttons which seem to be identical to the Canadian pattern buttons.

Cheers,
JP
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Pat Holscher
Pat Holscher

October 9th, 2005, 8:35 pm #4

What is significant about the buttons? It is mentioned several times here.

It's actually pretty difficult to say definatively what uniform at any one time is really influencing the others. For one thing, there's the question of whether you look at direct current influences, or try to go back to overall major influences. And if you do that, the question always is where to stop.

A case could be made, as an example, that the US M42 paratroopers uniform has been the most influential of the past 70 years. In some ways, nearly ever western Army or western influenced army has worn a uniform related to it at some time. Presently, all the US services use a uniform that dates back to it as a major influences, and probably almost every NATO army (but not every one) has as well. The cotton trouser, cotton jacket, big pocket uniform is arguable based on it, together with the early pattern field jacket that was also designed for paratroopers at first.

On the other hand, however, the M42 itself probably only came about as the US was looking at the British paratrooper uniform, which itself is very influential. Lots of Commonwealth Armies have eventually worn a uniform based on it somehow. The current British disruptive pattern uniforms really recall it strongly, and several other nations resemble it in some fashion.

But, of course, if you step away from the materials, then perhaps the most influential uniform of all time were the early British khaki uniforms, which brought in the type of uniform we generally regard as modern uniforms.
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Kevin Green
Kevin Green

July 26th, 2007, 3:53 pm #5

When I was in the LER's (early '80's) I had a chum named Tom something. He had a set of combat clothing, identical in every respect to the pre-cadpat combat gear except for the fact that the fabric has been printed with the exact same disruptive camoflage pattern of the jump smock of the day. He claimed that it was experimental and certainly, I had never seen it before or since. He used to wear it on exercises and even got away with wearing it at garrison on non-parade days.

I don't know why it would not have been adopted as it predated Garrrison dress by a while, the "tooling" existed to manufacture it without any change to contractors patterns and it was effective, unlike that stupid garrison dress.

Can anybody shed some light on this?

Thanks.

Kevin
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Joined: February 5th, 2005, 4:07 pm

July 26th, 2007, 6:55 pm #6

What is significant about the buttons? It is mentioned several times here.

It's actually pretty difficult to say definatively what uniform at any one time is really influencing the others. For one thing, there's the question of whether you look at direct current influences, or try to go back to overall major influences. And if you do that, the question always is where to stop.

A case could be made, as an example, that the US M42 paratroopers uniform has been the most influential of the past 70 years. In some ways, nearly ever western Army or western influenced army has worn a uniform related to it at some time. Presently, all the US services use a uniform that dates back to it as a major influences, and probably almost every NATO army (but not every one) has as well. The cotton trouser, cotton jacket, big pocket uniform is arguable based on it, together with the early pattern field jacket that was also designed for paratroopers at first.

On the other hand, however, the M42 itself probably only came about as the US was looking at the British paratrooper uniform, which itself is very influential. Lots of Commonwealth Armies have eventually worn a uniform based on it somehow. The current British disruptive pattern uniforms really recall it strongly, and several other nations resemble it in some fashion.

But, of course, if you step away from the materials, then perhaps the most influential uniform of all time were the early British khaki uniforms, which brought in the type of uniform we generally regard as modern uniforms.
What's significant about the buttons? They're big plastic ones with two slots instead of the more common buttons with four holes or ones with an eyelet in the back. A narrow nylon ribbon was threaded through the slots and sewn to the jacket/parka.
Easy to use with mitts or gloves. Idiot proof, easier than Lift-the-dots.

Why did it take fifty years for the Canadian Forces to adopt the front epaulette across the board for CADPAT when it was a notable feature of the parka of the 1950s? Didn't the Brits borrow it for their DPUs before CADPAT?
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Steve Forth
Steve Forth

July 26th, 2007, 10:55 pm #7

Alex, The buttons with the two slots were mentioned because IIRC they were first used by the Canadian military and IMO are a far superior button to one with several holes that are simply stitched in place and tended to come loose and get lost far more often than the Canadian style. Other countries have begun using this style of button.

Kevin, if you do a search here you will find some earlier discussions about the experimental uniform that you are talking about. I had one of the shirts when I was a young and I agree that it was an effective camouflage pattern but as I was told many times when I first joined the infantry, green was considered the best overall camouflage that could be used in a variety of terrain types. That is apparently one of the reasons why the uniform was not adopted. There was also a pattern trialed at the same time that was similar to the US woodland pattern.
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Kevin Green
Kevin Green

July 27th, 2007, 4:46 am #8

I'll look for that thread.

Kevin
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Ed Storey
Ed Storey

August 7th, 2007, 11:53 am #9

When I was in the LER's (early '80's) I had a chum named Tom something. He had a set of combat clothing, identical in every respect to the pre-cadpat combat gear except for the fact that the fabric has been printed with the exact same disruptive camoflage pattern of the jump smock of the day. He claimed that it was experimental and certainly, I had never seen it before or since. He used to wear it on exercises and even got away with wearing it at garrison on non-parade days.

I don't know why it would not have been adopted as it predated Garrrison dress by a while, the "tooling" existed to manufacture it without any change to contractors patterns and it was effective, unlike that stupid garrison dress.

Can anybody shed some light on this?

Thanks.

Kevin
During the 1970s and 1980s DND did conduct trials with different types of camouflage material, most of which seem to have been loosely based on British DPM. Combat Uniforms in a camouflage pattern similar to that used on the Canadian Parachute Smock were manufactured and tiralled in the 1970s and although not approved for DND use was sold to Tanzania and then subsequently copied by South Africa. Some of this trials clothing did end up in the Canadian surplus stores, namely the Shirts and Trousers. I have a set, I just have to dig it out to photograph.

Other trials were conducted in the early 1980s and here are a couple of images. From this clothing I have a Jacket and a Shirt.



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