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USMC SHELTER HALFS

Started by Greg Robinson , Nov 06 2006 06:17 PM

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#1 Greg Robinson

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 06:17 PM

I originally started this thread to showcase my Phila Depot USMC shelter half...or a shelter quarter as some call it. Now I'm opening it up to all USMC tents used since the adoption of the shelter half in 1900 thru the 1960's. There was the Phila Depot tent, "khaki" shelter halfs made by Powers & Co made pre/early WW2, the green side/brown side camouflage tents, the 1952 contract OD #7 shelter half, and the 1953 contract Mitchell pattern tents.

Every Marine at boot camp was taught how to make up the "blanket roll' consisting of a shelter half, blanket, poles, rope, and pins. It was rolled up and attached to the field pack.

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One of my more recent finds. Date is smudged but it's no later than 1918...made by the Marines at their Philadephia Supply Depot. Made in relatively small numbers compared to those made during WW2 by commercial contractors most were used up by the end of WW2.

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  • usmc_tent1.JPG


#2 Greg Robinson

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 06:24 PM

markings

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  • usmc_tent4.JPG


#3 Bob Hudson

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 06:41 PM

How rare is that - wow!

At http://www.b4us.net/usmcquantico.html they have a photo of a Marine sitting in one of those in 1924:

Posted Image

This seems to be the pup tent's replacement - the USMC Combat Tent:

Posted Image

I don't know how they carry this around, since it does have a little more than the two shelter halves and two poles:

Posted Image

#4 Greg Robinson

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 04:50 AM

The Marine Corps Phila Depot began making those shelter tents in fiscal year 1900 and stopped in or around 1941. By that date POWERS & CO had a contract to make them....first in OD ("khaki") and then camouflage. The stylized fonts and date on the Phila Depot mark defines it as WW1 period or early. By the 1930's they used a block style font for their markings. Darn shame the date is smudged but you can make out 191x so that makes it early.

It wasn't cheap and that's why I sold my 1918 dated Army shelter half that was probably unissued.

Greg

#5 Greg Robinson

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 04:55 AM

How rare is that - wow!

At http://www.b4us.net/usmcquantico.html they have a photo of a Marine sitting in one of those in 1924:

This seems to be the pup tent's replacement - the USMC Combat Tent:


I don't know how they carry this around, since it does have a little more than the two shelter halves and two poles:



Nice photograph. I'm trying to decide if that's one of the early folding poles I discussed in another thread. They're a few inches too long for that pattern shelter half so it being set up leaning to one side would be expected

Yep....seems like a lot of weight to carry

Greg

#6 Greg Robinson

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Posted 19 November 2006 - 08:58 AM

The Marine Corps Phila Depot began making those shelter tents in fiscal year 1900 and stopped in or around 1941. By that date POWERS & CO had a contract to make them....first in OD ("khaki") and then camouflage. The stylized fonts and date on the Phila Depot mark defines it as WW1 period or early. By the 1930's they used a block style font for their markings. Darn shame the date is smudged but you can make out 191x so that makes it early.

It wasn't cheap and that's why I sold my 1918 dated Army shelter half that was probably unissued.

Greg


Here's a pic of a USMC camouflage shelter half made in Sept 1942....probably the first contract for these. They were produced until near the end of WW2 and stayed in service through the 1950's. These had the closed flaps at each end so that two buttoned together made a closed tent.

Here are some pics showing the greenside/brownside camo pattern, the spec tag, and the features that distinguish this tent from the Army version.

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  • USMC_camotent.JPG
  • DSC00079.JPG
  • MVC_028S.JPG
  • MVC_029S.JPG


#7 Greg Robinson

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 11:16 AM

Starting shortly before the start of WW2 and continuing into late 1942 the Marine Corps contracted with Powers & Co to make the "khaki" shelter half which was replaced by the camouflage version. I find it interesting that this example, which I believe to be pre WW2, has the plain black buttons while the wartime camo tent has the WW1 style sunburst pattern buttons. But it's better constructed than my 1942 camo tent. I assume once war broke out they were allowed to simplify manufacture to speed up production and probably to save money. It had the same white spec tag as the camo tent but on this example somebody neatly sliced it off. Darn shame since it's an otherwise near mint example.

I've seen one example of a 1945 dated "khaki" USMC shelter half. I have no idea why it was made.

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  • MVC_031S.JPG
  • MVC_030S.JPG


#8 Greg Robinson

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 11:58 AM

There was a 1952 USMC contract OD #7 shelter half made but I've never seen one. Anybody got any information on those? and some pics? According to photos I've seen they were marked "USMC" unlike all other Marine Cor[s shelter halfs. I remember seeing tents marked at Parris Island in 1967 but in those days collecting this stuff did not interest me. :)

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Then in 1953 they contracted to have these "Mitchell" pattern shelter halfs made. Seems early to me for this pattern but that's when they were made or at least that's the date of the contract. These had snaps instead of buttons and deleted the double grommets for pin ropes and the loops to secure the blanket roll straps. But they retained the double grommets at each end for the guy line typical of all USMC tents. These remained in service throughout the 1960's.

Here's a pic showing the greenside and brownside camouflage pattern. And some pics courtesy of Sgt Bilko of the two types of spec tags seen on those.

Greg

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  • MVC_032S.JPG
  • usmc_tent_tag.jpg
  • usmc_tent_tag1.jpg


#9 Keystone

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 07:30 PM

Some pics of my USMC 1952 dated shelter half:


1_usmc.JPG


2_usmc.JPG


3_usmc.JPG


My Korea dated ARMY shelter half. Note the stock number is the same as the USMC issue (74-T-102)


4_usmc.JPG


USMC marked shovel cover and canteen cover. Both Korea dated.


5_usmc.JPG


My "PHILA DEPOT" marked shelter half and magazine pouch.


7_usmc.JPG

#10 Greg Robinson

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 01:09 AM

Thanks for showing the pics of the 1952 USMC shelter halfs. Not a lot of those around. Interesting that it doesn't have the usual USMC contract numbers. Must have been appropriated through the Army or so I speculate.

The shovel cover is interesting. I have one that is made to the Korean War pattern for an M43 but despite being near mint it has no markings. I've always speculated that it was USMC but couldn't find any information confirming that such a thing existed. I have a couple of those 1952 USMC canteen covers.

Your Phila Depot shelter half is an example of what I've been told in the past. Notice how both the tent and magaine pocket have block style fonts for the markings. I'm told this was how the Depot did it in the 1920's or '30's. Earlier Phila Depot gear used fonts with serifs.

#11 BOB K. RKSS

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 03:04 AM

As a side note: USMC began manufacture of Canvas CAMO shelter halfs in 1942, & Canvas is the only type Camo material; that the USMC was authorized to have manufactured in WWII; that's why WWII USMC Camo uniforms are made from ARMY style HBT, and early WWII USMC Raider, & ParaMarine Camo uniforms, helmet covers; were made from CANVAS > it's the only Camo material the Marines had their own contracts for.

#12 Greg Robinson

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 04:00 AM

This is a unique Marine Corps specific shelter half having the "USMC" stencil on the side which is something the Marines typically didn't do. It's made in OD 107 shade despite their other tents, both before and after 1952 being in camouflage. And it's made to the US Army specs unlike all their others. So I assume it was a stop gap version ordered to fill a need created by the Korean War. As keystone noted in the above post. the US Army purchased an identical tent in 1952 stencilled "US" and it's even the same identical stock number as the USMC tent. The USMC tents typically have two grommets at each end...one for the pole and the second for the rope. Army tents have one grommet for the pole plus a loop of canvas for the rope.

I picked up three of these last week and one apparently was used by Gomer Pyle....he couldn't quite figure out how to set it up since it only had one grommet at each end so he just stuck the pole anywhere he could find a place to put it and put small rips in the canvas. But the other two are in nice shape, one near mint. I've collected USMC for years and this is the first time I've seen one of these "USMC" marked tents since the ones I saw at Parris Island the Summer of '67.

Greg

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  • MVC_065S.JPG
  • usmc_1952_tent.jpg


#13 Greg Robinson

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 12:51 AM

A recent ebay find confirms that the USMC purchased OD ("khaki") shelter halfs in 1945, three years after switching to the camo version. This example was made in mid 1945 and was the second to the very last contract for those. Was it a spec change by the Marine Corps who had decided they no longer wanted all the gear made in camouflage? Or was it the contractor using up leftover stocks of early war canvas anticipating the end of the war coming soon and subsequent cancellation of contracts? Maybe they made a deal with the Marines to get them to accept these? If a spec change....wouldn't they have gone to one of the darker shades of green which was being used at this time?

Whatever it is, the condition is spectacular judging by these pics from the seller and I was fortunate that they didn't know that it was "USMC" and so just listed it as a common 1945 shelter half. :)

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  • usmc_1945tent1.jpg
  • usmc_1945tent2.jpg


#14 collector

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 01:31 PM

Another 1942 tag, sorry about the finger.

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#15 'Flage Guy

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 01:55 PM

One of my favorite aspects of the W.W.II camouflage-printed items is the huge array of differing dye shades (this seemed to disappear over time as the mixing and printing processes were refined). Below is a 1942-vintage Shelter Half which features 5 different dye lots in its panels.

Shelter_Half____42__no_tag__1_USMF.jpeg

#16 'Flage Guy

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 02:00 PM

Was blessed with this strange variation some time back; even wierder colors than the one above. Never been laundered, so it's a good representation of Dye Mixers Gone Wild:

Shelter_Half__weird__1_USMF.jpeg

The really unusual feature of this Half is detailed below...

Edited by 'Flage Guy, 21 November 2010 - 02:01 PM.


#17 'Flage Guy

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 02:07 PM

Standard flat-faced Tent buttons were used on this one; whether out of materiel expediency or experimentation by order of the MEB, I have no clue. They were staggered to facilitate the use of either side in pitching, and enabling this piece to mate to a Shelter Half with the common 2-sided "sunray" buttons.

Shelter_Half__weird__2_USMF.jpeg

#18 'Flage Guy

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 02:13 PM

A good view of the 2 designs; note the doubled number of buttonholes on the "wierd" Half. This could have been the original design, abandoned in favor of the one we're all familiar with (upper) in order to conserve metals...?? :huh: :dunno: Unfortunately, this Half has no spec tag.

Shelter_Half__weird__3_USMF.jpeg

Edited by 'Flage Guy, 21 November 2010 - 02:15 PM.


#19 'Flage Guy

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 07:31 PM

Sometime in 1943, the printing process was modified: the print was reversed on the tan side, increased to the full 4-color pattern, and the spots were aligned with their counterparts on the green side. I have no documentation on this change, but the fabric printed in this method seem to retain color and pattern integrity more fastly than the old production fabric, and the tan pattern looks to offer a less visible appearance than the early-run stuff as well (as I recall, Alec Tulkoff posted some official records of experimentation with different types of dyes for the camo fabrics- the changes in printing the tan 'flage, evidently, were done around this same time period).

This pic displays a good view of the contrast between the early and late tan camouflage print; the Shelter Half at left is a '42, at right is a '44...

Shelter_Halves__early___late__1_USMF.jpeg

Fairly often, Shelter Halves made in 1943 or '44 will show up which are made either partly or fully of the early-run canvas; I've seen 'em with such mis-matched panels that they look like they'd stick out like a sore thumb in the field :D

Edited by 'Flage Guy, 21 November 2010 - 07:35 PM.


#20 'Flage Guy

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 07:41 PM

Two more Marine items displaying the early and later 'flage canvas- a Demolition Bag (left) and a Folding Bazooka Carrier (this has a 1943-dated cutter tag stapled to the flap).

Bags__Bazooka___Demo_USMF.jpeg


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