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"Early" Mitchell Covers & DPSC Contracts


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We have all seen the post 1969 long flap mitchell covers bearing contract numbers that are supposedly from 1965 or earlier, they have been discussed, debated, and still remain a mystery. Some have suggested that the long flap actually went into production prior to 1969, but nothing has been posted either way.

 

I believe that too much emphasis is placed on the contract numbers in order to date an item, it is a window in time, but by no means will it give you an exact year in every case. It all depends on the number, and how much information is available to collectors.

 

I think people assumed all four digit contracts were 1965 or earlier and that is wrong from what I have found. The DPSC apparently used four digit numbers into the 1980s! Now many of them are stamped with a number like "1234 - 71", the last two digits being the year of the contract, but not all of them were so marked from what I can find and they apparently would leave off the year digits at times.

To actually know that a cover marked "8133" was made before 1969 would require someone to find and research the DPSC contracts. I have seen numbers in the 8000 range in use as late as 1982, so it appears they issued many contracts in each fiscal year. Again, if we consider a cover marked 7219 (which is considered "early" by many collectors) then how about contract 7127 issued in 1973? So while I cannot tell you precisely when a cover was made, I think you can see why the use of the numbers to date them is - at this point - going to confuse matters.

 

To get some discussion going, here are photos of four digit DPSC contract numbers from 1980 & 1982. Note these two have the two-digit date code suffix. Without the date suffix it is possible that any four-digit contracts though DPSC could be pre or post 1969, and possibly much later.

 

1980.jpg 1982.jpg

 

 

If anyone has items marked with a DPSC contract number from the 1960s-1970s feel free to post it, it might shed more light on the subject. Until research is done I don't think it will be possible to date a DPSC contract unless it incorporates the two-digit date code (seen in the above photos).

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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If anyone has any DPSC contracted mitchell covers feel free to post one, if they are long flap I would not feel there is enough evidence to say that they couldn't have been produced circa 1968-74.

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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THE NUMBERS ON THOSE GARMENTS MIGHT BE SPECIFIC CONTRACT NUMBERS RELATING TO THAT SPECIFIC TYPE OF GARMENT

AND NOT A GENERAL USE NUMBER FOR ALL MILITARY CONTRACTS , HELMET CVERS HAD THEIR OWN SPECIFIC CONTRACT NUMBERS

KOREA MIKE

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"We have all seen the post 1969 long flap 'mitchell' covers bearing contract numbers that are supposedly from 1965 or earlier, they have been discussed, debated, and still remain a mystery. Some have suggested that the long flap actually went into production prior to 1969, but nothing has been posted either way." ~ RC

 

What evidence do you have to support your assertion that "long flap Mitchell covers bearing contract numbers that are supposedly from 1965 or earlier", a reference to several 4 digit contract numbers, are "post 1969" production?

 

In rebuttal to your claim that "some have suggested", in his book, Post-World War II M-1 Helmets – An Illustrated Study, Mark Reynosa clearly asserts, not "suggests", that what you refer to as long flap covers, were originally manufactured in 1965, well before the 1969 specification requiring that the side flaps be deepened. With regard to credibility relative to Reynosa's writings, in the preface of his book, Reynosa states:

 

"This book was written for the sole purpose of accurately documenting the history of the M-1 Helmet in the post-World War II period. The scope of this book is to examine the research, development, PRODUCTION, modification, and procurement of the M-1 Helmet and its various components during the years between 1945 and 1986. This period in the history of the M-1 Helmet has been previously either lightly covered or often overlooked altogether. My hope is that this book will sufficiently cover this period in the M-1 Helmet's history and provide an interesting and detailed look at the helmet where none has previously been provided. I have made every effort to obtain and use only primary sources in the compilation and writing of this text. The sources used were comprised primarily of United States Military sources, company write-ups, and period engineering industry trade magazine articles, as well as hours of interviews and correspondence with several members of the engineering community who participated directly in the engineering and production of the M-1 Helmet." ~ Mark Reynosa, p 7, Post-World War II M-1 Helmets – An Illustrated Study

 

With regard to the production of these helmet covers, Reynosa asserts that the side flaps were deepened in 1965 - well before the 1969 pattern specification that required this modification. Reynosa writes:

 

"...a contract awarded in 1965 saw the gap between the two side flaps deepened, although this was not required in the pattern specification". ~ Mark Reynosa, Post-World War II M-1 Helmets – An Illustrated Study, p 11.

 

Moreover, Reynosa's book contains several photos of covers with deepened flaps, to include the 4 digit contract number 9085, a cover that he clearly references as a "1965" cover. See attached photos.

 

 

On another note, Ken Kline, the author of Nam Steel, A guide to the Vietnam era M-1 helmet and its components used from 1960-1975 concurs with Reynosa's assertion that the flaps were deepened on this type of cover "a few years before the long flap was made standard practice", which was in 1969. Kline writes:

 

"And finally, yes, the deepened middle flap pattern was made standard specification for all covers in 1969, however according to some this practice seems to have been done by the government going back to 1964/65. According to Reynosa's text and several other collectors I have spoken with, the long flap was an experimentation and not a requirement in the mid 60s (again, the specification in pattern occurred in 1969). To give an example, one of the most common contracts, its full nomenclature being "COVER, HELMET CAMOUFLAGE / CONTRACT NO. 8027 / FSN 8415-261-6833 / 100% Cotton / DPSC DIR OF MFG," has been found with standard cut (quite scarce) and deep cut flaps. One collector has told me he even has a twill version of this contract as well, but I have not seen it. Now, what drove me crazy when I first started checking covers out was knowing that deep cuts were made pattern in 1969, but the contract number specifically dates the 8027 piece to roughly January-February of 1965. When it came down to it, I trusted the contract numbers to give bearing on the dates and figured that Reynosa and others were correct on their thought that a few years before the long flap was made standard practice, it was "played around with" beforehand".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An interesting hypothesis. Here's one of mine to keep the discussion rollin' along!

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"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Cont'd...

post-8022-0-15872700-1375996800.jpg

post-8022-0-35595900-1375996806.jpg

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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"We have all seen the post 1969 long flap 'mitchell' covers bearing contract numbers that are supposedly from 1965 or earlier, they have been discussed, debated, and still remain a mystery. Some have suggested that the long flap actually went into production prior to 1969, but nothing has been posted either way." ~ RC

 

What evidence do you have to support your assertion that "long flap Mitchell covers bearing contract numbers that are supposedly from 1965 or earlier", a reference to several 4 digit contract numbers, are "post 1969" production?

 

In rebuttal to your claim that "some have suggested", in his book, Post-World War II M-1 Helmets – An Illustrated Study, Mark Reynosa clearly asserts, not "suggests", that what you refer to as long flap covers, were originally manufactured in 1965, well before the 1969 specification requiring that the side flaps be deepened. With regard to credibility relative to Reynosa's writings, in the preface of his book, Reynosa states:

 

"This book was written for the sole purpose of accurately documenting the history of the M-1 Helmet in the post-World War II period. The scope of this book is to examine the research, development, PRODUCTION, modification, and procurement of the M-1 Helmet and its various components during the years between 1945 and 1986. This period in the history of the M-1 Helmet has been previously either lightly covered or often overlooked altogether. My hope is that this book will sufficiently cover this period in the M-1 Helmet's history and provide an interesting and detailed look at the helmet where none has previously been provided. I have made every effort to obtain and use only primary sources in the compilation and writing of this text. The sources used were comprised primarily of United States Military sources, company write-ups, and period engineering industry trade magazine articles, as well as hours of interviews and correspondence with several members of the engineering community who participated directly in the engineering and production of the M-1 Helmet." ~ Mark Reynosa, p 7, Post-World War II M-1 Helmets – An Illustrated Study

 

With regard to the production of these helmet covers, Reynosa asserts that the side flaps were deepened in 1965 - well before the 1969 pattern specification that required this modification. Reynosa writes:

 

"...a contract awarded in 1965 saw the gap between the two side flaps deepened, although this was not required in the pattern specification". ~ Mark Reynosa, Post-World War II M-1 Helmets – An Illustrated Study, p 11.

 

Moreover, Reynosa's book contains several photos of covers with deepened flaps, to include the 4 digit contract number 9085, a cover that he clearly references as a "1965" cover. See attached photos.

 

 

On another note, Ken Kline, the author of Nam Steel, A guide to the Vietnam era M-1 helmet and its components used from 1960-1975 concurs with Reynosa's assertion that the flaps were deepened on this type of cover "a few years before the long flap was made standard practice", which was in 1969. Kline writes:

 

"And finally, yes, the deepened middle flap pattern was made standard specification for all covers in 1969, however according to some this practice seems to have been done by the government going back to 1964/65. According to Reynosa's text and several other collectors I have spoken with, the long flap was an experimentation and not a requirement in the mid 60s (again, the specification in pattern occurred in 1969). To give an example, one of the most common contracts, its full nomenclature being "COVER, HELMET CAMOUFLAGE / CONTRACT NO. 8027 / FSN 8415-261-6833 / 100% Cotton / DPSC DIR OF MFG," has been found with standard cut (quite scarce) and deep cut flaps. One collector has told me he even has a twill version of this contract as well, but I have not seen it. Now, what drove me crazy when I first started checking covers out was knowing that deep cuts were made pattern in 1969, but the contract number specifically dates the 8027 piece to roughly January-February of 1965. When it came down to it, I trusted the contract numbers to give bearing on the dates and figured that Reynosa and others were correct on their thought that a few years before the long flap was made standard practice, it was "played around with" beforehand".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

usmcgrunt,

 

I talked to a few members/collectors about this before I posted the original question, the helmet covers seem like a good point of discussion rather than a 1970 shirt for example. There are certainly many possibilities when it comes to when the cover design was altered/put into production, it could have even depended on if the contractor agreed to change the design prior to the completion of the contract, who knows. My sole interest is in when the contracts were issued and how to "read" the 'year' of the DPSC 4-digit contracts. I would like to know if it's possible to tell the different DPSC contracts apart by year. The original observation of DPSC (not any other 4-digit contracts) numbers show that they continued using 4-digit contracts into the early 1980s, I think we would all love to know how to date them to a specific year. My interest is on the uniform side of the question, however the number of references on the forum to the DPSC helmet covers led me to believe this was the best place to ask.

 

Given the evidence supporting the apparent continued use of DPSC 4-digit contract numbers through the 1970s and into the 1980s it would be great to know how we can tie a specific year to something.

 

As I said in my first post:

 

To actually know that a cover marked "8133" was made before 1969 would require someone to find and research the DPSC contracts. I have seen numbers in the 8000 range in use as late as 1982, so it appears they issued many contracts in each fiscal year.

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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An interesting hypothesis. Here's one of mine to keep the discussion rollin' along!

 

Thanks Ian, a nice example!

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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What if its as simple as a company being awarded a cover contract in 1965 and they continue making covers year after year under the same contract number, eventually in , say, 1969 the specifications are changed to include the deeper middle flap opening and they make the change and make new batches of covers still using their original contract number, it makes sense that their contract number would stay the same and that could be causing the confusion?...just a theory of mine......mike

Always looking for and buying 50's era 11th Airborne/ 187th ARCT/ 82nd Airborne tac mark painted jump helmets!



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What if its as simple as a company being awarded a cover contract in 1965 and they continue making covers year after year under the same contract number, eventually in , say, 1969 the specifications are changed to include the deeper middle flap opening and they make the change and make new batches of covers still using their original contract number, it makes sense that their contract number would stay the same and that could be causing the confusion?...just a theory of mine......mike

 

That's a possibility. I have seen WWII Navy contract numbers which have an issue date in 1942 but a manufacture date of 1945, so it has happened.

 

That said, it seems unlikely that DPSC was still manufacturing on the 1960's contracts in the 1980s but there is nothing (so far) to rule that out. Does anyone have any other items (uniforms, etc.) manufactured under DPSC contract with 4-digits? It might help us get a better understanding of how they were issued/used.

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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Here is a post I made on a French forum years ago, I thought it was worth translating.

 

DPSC (Defense Personnel Support Center) contracts are never dated before Fiscal Year 71.

 

Starting in FY71 (1 July 1970), these contracts always have a FY number. Some examples:

9119-71 Shirt, Flyer's, Hot Weather Fire Resistant Nylon OG-106
6015-72 Shirt, Man's, Ctn Sateen, OG - 107
7110-73 Shirt, Utility, OG-107 Cotton Sateen
8035-74 Uniform, Woman's Summer, Navy
9090-75 Cap, Garrison, WMS's, Green and White
6064-76 Cap, Garrison, Womans

 

There is a pattern here, with series 6000 to 9000 coming back at regular intervals: 9000 in 71, 6000 in 72, 7000 in 73, 8000 in 74, 9000 in 75, back to 6000 in 76, etc...

Of course I tried to appy this rule to undated contracts, but the results did not make any sense, and there are DPSC contracts in the 5000 series.

All we can say for sure is that undated DPSC contract were awarded before July 1970.

 

The name of the agency issuing these four-digit contracts changed over the years and can help with roughly dating garments. In chronological order we have:

PQMD Mfg Div / MC&TSA
DSA, DCTSC, DIR/MFG
DSA, DC & TSC Directorate for Mfg
DSA, DCTSC, Dir of Mfg
PQMC, Mfg Division, MC & TSA
DSA, DPSC, Dir Of Mfg (DPSC was created in 1965, so we might assume contracts issued by agencies above are pre-65?)
DPSC, Dir of Mfg

 

In short, undated DPSC contracts were most probably awarded between 1965 and 1970, but I do not know how to narrow it down further.

Regarding other agencies, a closer study of their history might help dating earlier garments.

PQMD: Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot
PQMC: Philadelphia Quartermaster Center??
MC&TSA: Military Clothing and Textile Supply Agency
DCTSC, DC&TSC: Defense Clothing and Textile Supply Center

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Spot on observations and assessment Beezman. We are on the same page. For the record, there are a total of seven 4-digit contracts that are associated with leaf-pattern helmet covers that were produced with deepened flaps. Five of the contracts (7057, 7219, 8027, 8133 and 9196) bear the DPSC stamp. The seven contract stamps, as they appear on the covers, are:

COVER, HELMET CAMOUFLAGE
CONTRACT NO. 7057
8415-261-6833

100% COTTON

DPSC, DIR. OF MFG.

 

COVER, HELMET CAMOUFLAGE
CONTRACT NO. 7219
8415-261-6833

100% COTTON

DPSC, DIR. OF MFG.

 

COVER, HELMET CAMOUFLAGE
CONTRACT NO. 8027
8415-261-6833

100% COTTON

DPSC DIR. OF MFG.

 

COVER, HELMET CAMOUFLAGE
CONTRACT NO. 8133
8415-261-6833

100% COTTON

DPSC DIR. OF MFG.

 

COVER, HELMET CAMOUFLAGE
CONTRACT NO.9005
8415-261-6833

 

COVER, HELMET CAMOUFLAGE
CONTRACT NO. 9085
8415-261-6833

 

COVER, HELMET CAMOUFLAGE
CONTRACT NO. 9196
8415-261-6833

DSA, DPSC, DIR. OF MFG.

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Beezman, great response.

 

That is exactly what I'm wondering, it looks like we won't be able to connect a year to a contract (on the undated contracts) until more research is done.

 

RC

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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  • 5 months later...

Here's another wrinkle for you. As everyone is so far saying, the original contract may have been issued in the 60's/70's and could have been modified in any year after that. Could the dash numbers indicate the first year of the contract modification or contract extension? I currently work on a DoD program and when we receive contract modifications, we continue to use the original contract number with a "provision" number. Example: F0000-XX-0-1234 is the base number and subsequent modifications would make this F0000-XX-0-1234 P00001. A new contract would have a completely different contract number based on the next number in line at the agency's procurement authority.

 

Seems to make sense that the two digit dash number could be the modification date. That would mean all unmarked items would be made prior to that modification.

Tom K
USMC (VMFA-115) 90 - 96
ASMIC Member
OVMS member (ready for my 16th SOS in 2019)

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