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USN Landing Forces / Invasion Smock (?)


doyler
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pararaftanr2
26 minutes ago, tthen said:

Excellent thread, I'll refer to it often.

Thanks

Okay, let's move this discussion forward a bit more then. Photos are scarce, but I believe earlier in the war (well before D-day) the Navy used a similar two-piece gas suit made from blue denim. As shown in one photo that Ken posted earlier, we can see by the caption on the reverse of that image, it actually dates to 1942. Note the contrasting lighter colored thread (probably white) used on the pockets and around the front opening of this suit. A group photo then provides another view as well.

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pararaftanr2

A layout of gas-proof clothing, done prior to the Normandy invasion, showing the differences between the Army (top) and Navy (bottom) issue. The Navy gear includes a tube of anti-vesicant cream while the Army even had a treated HBT cap.

 

Gas scan.jpg

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pararaftanr2

A fanciful (intentionally misleading?) caption accompanies this photo. Reporting to show a "newsman" trying out a Navy "foul weather gear" to assess its visibility for his fellow correspondents. In fact, it is the gas-proof suit, which he wears with a gas brassard on the left arm and an Army light-weight gas mask. Note also the treated blue wool gloves, shown and mentioned previously. I believe this photo was taken on an LSI, prior to D-Day, but not released until a few weeks afterward.

 

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Interesting. Not much help to the thread but I do remember discussions on denim collector forums - also frequented by the vintage clothing and repro "hipster" crowd - about an illusive denim WWII hooded smock. IIRC, there was a photo or two showing some African American soldiers wearing them but little else and no knowledge of labels, production numbers, or even examples in collections. I think I had seen it referred to as the "gunner's smock" but saw that it had been reproduced so didn't know if it was a fantasy piece or what. I think the denim version of the "gas smock" is the "gunner's smock". The white gunner's smocks are a similar but different beast with ties at the neck, etc. Often, if not found in the catalogues with their own numbers, variants are overlooked or renamed based on photographed use.

Is it very likely that the denim versions were included in "protective suits" or 'protective clothing" or was there a denim gunner's smock that was a different contract? 

Dave

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pararaftanr2

I'm of the opinion that "gunner's smock" is a modern-day collector's misidentification. These various suits, be they denim, white, or over-dyed, are all intended for gas protection and were not limited in issue to "gunners". I intended to post that photo you referenced but hadn't found it in my photo archives until just now.

 

These are mess attendants who volunteered as a gun crew aboard USS Indianapolis in 1942 and they wear the denim version of the suit. Note that one man is wearing the bib overalls over his top:

 

gunners.jpg

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Perfect. Agree wholeheartedly.

Thanks for posting that.

Dave

P.S. I'd love to pattern one of these if anyone is ever game!

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pararaftanr2

No idea on the dimensions, but every now and then one of the white tops, as a potential pattern, shows up on ebay. In that last photo, you can clearly see the reverse side of the denim where their sleeves are rolled up.

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pararaftanr2

Thank you. These suits have been in the shadows for too long. Being misidentified numerous times in print as "rain suits" has helped keep them largely in obscurity.

 

Here's a few more images.

 

Screen capture from color footage shot at Utah Beach a few days after the 6th, with 2nd NBB medical personnel evacuating casualties.

 

Probably late on the 6th, some 2nd Beach Battalion men resting by the seawall at Utah while others build the command post.

 

2nd NBB signalmen at work.

 

Very rarely captured on film, the suit being worn by 6th, or 7th, NBB men (standing on the left, note hoods) in this well-known photo from Omaha Beach.

 

 

 

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These are the survivors of one of the Navy Combat Demolition Units (NCDUs) that landed on Omaha Beach 6 June 1944. It was taken behind the beach at some point after the landing. It shows what they wore on D-Day. A mix of uniforms, but I see a few of the garments mentioned in this thread,,,

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pararaftanr2

Great example, thanks for posting it. Were you able to make out the manufacturer? I had forgotten that the size, in this case "M" for medium, was stitched into the fabric on the back of the hood, as shown in your third photo.

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numbersix
6 hours ago, pararaftanr2 said:

Great example, thanks for posting it. Were you able to make out the manufacturer? I had forgotten that the size, in this case "M" for medium, was stitched into the fabric on the back of the hood, as shown in your third photo.

 

Zielinski Co I believe, I think I have more detail written down somewhere, there is a numerical  under the manufacturers name too; I will endeavour to find the right notebook.

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Salvage Sailor
On 1/8/2022 at 10:59 AM, doyler said:

Have one of these USN Deck Coats. The material is like the foul weather pull over and trousers. This has an Alpaca type liner ad belted. Found from the estate of a WW2 Naval officer

 

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Aloha Ron,

 

I have the 1945 version of this N-1 Officers Long Foul Weather Parka posted here

 

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pararaftanr2
1 hour ago, numbersix said:

 

Zielinski Co I believe, I think I have more detail written down somewhere, there is a numerical  under the manufacturers name too; I will endeavour to find the right notebook.

From the contract list, it looks like they did make protective clothing for the Navy in 1941 and 1942. 

 

Zielinski1.jpg

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General Apathy

.

Hi Ron,

 

Thanks for starting this rambling thread from a small question at the beginning, pleased so many have had their interest peaked enough to join in with great photos and detail. . . . . . . . . . . I'm sure it will run for a while yet.

 

regard all,  lewis

 

.. 

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pararaftanr2

Another example of the gas suit in use. LCI(L) 85 was Coastguard manned. It struck a Teller mine when landing on Omaha Beach and was then hit by at least 25 enemy shells while unloading its troops. Backing off the beach, it made it out to sea where it came alongside the attack transport USS Samuel B. Chase to unload the wounded and dead. Taking on water and listing badly, it sunk a few hours later, but the crew was able to abandon ship. Taken from the deck of the Samuel B. Chase, this photo shows four of her crew, all wearing the suit under their life jackets.

 

LCI85_2350_300.jpg

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My Lord, maybe I'm seeing things but it looks like dead servicemen everywhere in various states of cover. Great eye on the suits but that's a really disturbing once I started looking around.

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pararaftanr2

Yes, very somber. The faces of the wounded were obscured with white dots. This is one of a very well know series of images and probably the least gruesome. A stark reminder of the sacrifices made that day for our freedom. It took the crew two hours to unload the wounded and dead onto the attack transport they were alongside.

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numbersix
On 1/10/2022 at 7:52 PM, pararaftanr2 said:

From the contract list, it looks like they did make protective clothing for the Navy in 1941 and 1942. 

 

Zielinski1.jpg

 

The six digit number code was stamped below the M A Zielinski Co stamp on the smock I had. Thank you, it's fascinating to know; when I searched 'M A Zielinski Co' on the internet a decade or so ago all I could find was a record of the company being investigated by a Government hearing in 1939 ( from memory).

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GITom1944
Quote

Someone posted a couple of photos on the Forum a few years ago of Marine infantry on Okinawa and some individuals appear to be wearing the overall trousers.

 

I learning more than contributing here... Nice smock, informative thread! I believe I posted the two color images some time ago (can't find the thread) - they are screenshots from Normandy. I had always believed (wrongly) that the hooded garments seen in b/w photos of sailors at Normandy were wet weather parkas. I then came across this reference in the June 1944 after action report from the USS Thomas Jefferson, APA-30 and became confused. I knew nothing about Navy gas protection clothing. Based on what others have posted it seems the hooded gear seen on D-Day were gas smocks. Good info!

 

Tom

USS Thomas Jefferson D-Day.jpg

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pararaftanr2
45 minutes ago, GITom1944 said:

 

I learning more than contributing here... Nice smock, informative thread! I believe I posted the two color images some time ago (can't find the thread) - they are screenshots from Normandy. I had always believed (wrongly) that the hooded garments seen in b/w photos of sailors at Normandy were wet weather parkas. I then came across this reference in the June 1944 after action report from the USS Thomas Jefferson, APA-30 and became confused. I knew nothing about Navy gas protection clothing. Based on what others have posted it seems the hooded gear seen on D-Day were gas smocks. Good info!

 

Tom

USS Thomas Jefferson D-Day.jpg

Very interesting information, thanks very much for sharing that. Seems odd to me that the Jefferson didn't receive the dyed clothing, or just do it themselves. Being an attack transport, she would have been about 15 miles off the Normandy coast, with only her landing craft crews being close enough to shore that white hoods might provide a target for enemy fire.

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pararaftanr2
13 minutes ago, dmar836 said:

So does this mean the OP's smock, being green, is post-invasion then?

Dave

Not at all. If you review the color photos in this thread, you'll see the green smocks were prevalent for the Normandy invasion. The OP's smock, lacking the blue plastic buttons, is believed to indicate it is a simplified version that probably came into service sometime after June of 1944 though.

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On 1/12/2022 at 7:19 PM, GITom1944 said:

Ah. I guess I was referring to Tom's post and this clip. It did say "The impregnated clothing furnished this vessel..." so maybe the impregnated, white smocks where just what they had experienced. Others had the green issued? Good stuff!

 

USS Thomas Jefferson D-Day.jpg

 

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