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USMC AEF Service Coats made from olive drab dyed wool


world war I nerd
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world war I nerd

I recently received a PM from one of the forum's long time AEF collectors about an emergency specification olive drab U.S. Army service coat that I had neither seen nor heard of before. The Army issued coat was apparently based on the USMC P1914 Winter Field Coat.

 

I was wondering if anyone could post photos (front, back, close ups of various details, including the contract label) or any other information about this particular style of Army service coat.

 

Here’s the text from the PM and a side by side comparison of a USMC & Army issued field & service coats … Thanks for looking … World War I Nerd:

 

There is yet another distinct variation of the Army service coat that I did not notice in the thread. Apparently, at some point, the contractor of the USMC p14 coats got a contract for an army version. These coats dispense with the bellows on the lower pockets, the pleats on the upper pockets and the points on the cuffs but are otherwise cut and sewn the same as a p14 USMC coat--except in olive drab wool instead of forest green.

These p14/Army coat hybrids are pretty easily recognizable when you know what to look for. The first giveaway is the double row of stitching from the collar to the top of the top pocket--the same as the p14 coat. The second is the distinctly USMC shape of the pocket flaps and shape of the (now flat to accommodate Army regulations) pockets themselves.

I sold off the one I had, and it had a contract tag but I cannot remember what it said.

 

Photos courtesy of Advance Guard Militaria.com

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I saved these photos from an auction site because of the unique pattern. No photo of contract label. Could possibly be a private purchased/tailored coat. It seems to fit the spec you are describing.

 

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world war I nerd

Mrwooco the Tank Corps coat does seem to be a pretty close match to what I posted. Thanks for posting.

 

I can't say one way or the other because I've never actually seen an example of the coat described in the post ... too bad there was no photo of the contract label.

 

PS, I just realized that I neglected to note that the Army version of the USMC Field Coat had plain rather than pointed cuffs.

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I'm not sure I"m on board with this concept....unless I'm misunderstanding something.

 

There are lots of minor contract variations, and variations in quality of cut and cloth.

 

(??)

 

That tank corps uniform (posted above) looks like a relatively high-quality blouse to me. I wouldn't say it had anything to do with a "marine" pattern.

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I am a bit confused as well. I believe the USMC coat shown above is a USMC P14 coat done in army olive drab for the USMC ,not for the army. These are rare, but it is known that around 1914, the Marines did up some uniforms in army olive drab (hats as well) and they were tailored in the USMC pattern for USMC issue. I recall reading a thread where one was shown with provenance to a Marine assigned to the Philadelphia Navy yard. I have one of the OD USMC contract labeled bell crown hats in my collection. I have never heard of these being issued as an "emergency US army service" coat before. Would love to hear more from others. Kevin

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world war I nerd

MAW & Kevin,

 

I fully understand your misgivings regarding the USMC/Army Service Coat. I'm not 100% on board with the Tank Corps Service Coat either, because it does look as if it was tailor made. However, I'm not ruling it out either because it has the two rows of USMC style stitching between the bottom of the collar & the top of the upper pockets. Until evidence surfaces suggesting that there was, or was not, a USMC style coat made for Army personnel, it's probably best to keep an open mind.

 

There were indeed USMC P1914 Winter Field Coats and P1912 USMC Overcoats made from olive drab woolen material sometime towards the end of 1918 which were intended for USMC personnel. However, all of the OD USMC field coats that I've seen had pleated upper pockets and pointed cuffs (I can't remember if the lower pockets were bellows or patch style pockets, but I'm leaning towards them being bellows).

 

According to what I was told, the Army issued USMC coats had plain cuffs, no pocket pleats and no bellows pockets. In addition, they had USMC style pocket flaps (with a more prominent point) and the same "box" shaped USMC style lower pockets, which were sewn flat like the patch pockets found on regulation Army service coats.

 

In theory we are talking about two distinctly different olive drab coats:

 

  • One identical in every respect to the forest green P14 USMC Winter Service Coat, except that it was made with OD wool and destined for members of the USMC
  • Another hybrid coat similar to, but not identical to the P14 USMC Winter Field Coat. The hybrid coat lacked the upper pocket pleats, lower bellows pockets and pointed cuffs, These were allegedly made for members of the U.S. Army

I suspect that if there was a USMC hybrid coat, that it likely appeared sometime between the summer of 1917 and the spring of 1918 when there was a massive shortage of clothing (of all types) throughout the US Army & AEF..

 

Also in a PM to me, mrwocco (the poster of the Tank Corps uniform), stated that he'd seen another example of a USMC hybrid coat with a "NR" - North Russia shoulder insignia. Unfortunately, he didn't download photos of it.

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Regarding the tanker coated I posted I noticed on the inside lower right hand side lining it appears a label is sewn on the reverse. I contacted the seller if anything is written but received a reply stating no label was present.

 

Here is another photo I have saved. Most likely post war due to the gilt buttons.

 

Could this have been from the same tailor as the prior coat I posted? Almost all stated specs are present. The pocket flaps does appear more Army than USMC.

 

Double pleats on Army coats stands out. When I stumble upon photos of unusual specs coats I try to save them. Double pleats are most common on USMC coats both on their wool and cotton coats. Also Naval aviators had double pleats. But its very rare on Army coats, even on officers private purchase. But anything is possible.

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world war I nerd

Nice photo. The OD woolen fabric does seem to be of a heavier weight and similar to the material used to make the Tank Corps service coat.

 

I'll have to go through all of my period photos to see if I can find any similar USMC?Army hybrid coats.

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Hi French sam ,

Very nice tunic !

 

Here my example in Forest green to compare the color :

(1917-1918 dated)

 

Aurelien

 

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world war I nerd

Gentlemen, thank you both for posting excellent examples of the forest green & olive drab versions of the P14 USMC Winter Field Coat.

 

French Sam, how about a close up of the shoulder patch on your OD P14 coat?

 

Now all we need is an example of the P14 USMC/Army hybrid coat with a contract label to prove that it existed ...

 

Can anybody help?

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Sorry I don't have P14 USMC/army hybrid coat... :(

 

I'm looking for a P14 (2 pockets) USMC for a long time... :love:

 

If someone want to sell one... It would be with pleasure ! ;)

 

Best.

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Hi Gent;

I've a question, what is a P14 USMC/army hybrid coat ?

 

Because, I've bought some years ago this army service coat with USMC button,

I don't know if this buttons are sewn during WW1 or modified by a collector ?

 

(found in England / Kent)

 

 

Best regard

Aurel

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world war I nerd

French Sam, thanks for posting the 2nd Division shoulder patch.

 

As I understand it, the USMC Winter Field Coats worn during WW I were from left to right:

 

  • Two pocket, forest green P1912 Winter Field Coat, which was worn on a very limited basis.
  • Four pocket, forest green P1914 Winter Field Coat, which was standard issue when America went to war in 1917.
  • Four pocket, olive drab P1914 Winter Field Coat, which was presumably adopted late in the war.
  • Four pocket olive drab U.S. Army service coats (all patterns) began to replace worn out USMC forest green field coats in the spring of 1918, because General Pershing would not allow two different sets of service dress (olive drab & forest green) to be shipped overseas. thus olive drab service dress became to official uniform for all personnel serving in the AEF. This order included all U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine personnel attached to the AEF.

Photos courtesy of Bay State Militaria.com & the Hessian & Aurel Gobet collections

 

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