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"Made in Britain" -- the ETO Contract jackets and coat


GIl Sanow

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Earlier Beau Wright, Jeepers704 and SARGE all chipped in with references to the "E.T.O" (European Theater of Operations) clothing worn by some GI's. Unfortunately none of them seem to have one handy. I do, so I will get the ball rolling.

 

First up is the early EM version. It seems to be a cross between the M1941 field jacket, but unlined and made of wool. It has slash pockets, with flaps, and lacks shoulder loops. The cuffs close with straps. What is not so immediately noticeable is the gas flap in the front. It buttons through both plies of the jacket front.

 

This one was made in 1943 and has no insignia. I have only seen a few of these. I suspect they were not general issue. If I recall correctly, I have only seen AAC (8th or 9th AF) SSIs on them.

 

Note that on the label, it reads "Field Jacket LINER".

 

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Johan Willaert

The label says: "Field Jacket LINED".

 

I have an unlined version of the first pattern jacket, so both existed.

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If one studies "Quartermaster Support of the Army" the volume that covers WW2, much space is devoted to the development of the M1943 field jacket "system". A multi-layered set of clothing that was intended to keep the soldier warm in cold weather. Long underwear, the wool shirt, the sweater and the wool field jacket (i.e. "Ike Jacket") was to be worn under the new M43 field jacket and its frieze liner.

 

All of these things got into the system OK, with the exception of the Ike Jacket. That was not approved until 1944, as we all know. Actually, it probaly never saw combat use anyhow, but that is another story.

 

The second type ETO EM jacket, not called a liner this time, was introduced in late '43 or early '44, before the Ike arrived. It seems to have been an improvement over the first pattern. Shoulder loops were added as were patch breast pockets, rather like the Brit battle jacket. Cuffs bottoned tightly, like the Ike, but it was still unlined.

 

These are often seen with full insignia, as this one is. Probably not worn in combat, it served as a dress jacket before the Ikes were issued.

 

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There was also a version of the ETO jacket made for officers. It was the typical chocolate brown and probably had insignia as this one does. This one belonged to COL Jesse Matlack, C/S of the 36th Div. Interestingly, it was made at the Adriatic Depot in Italy, not in Britain.

 

The label shown is from a Brit made officer jacket.

 

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There apparently were ETO contracts for officer service coats also. They are not immediately recognizeable, but 2 features may help you spot one.

 

FIrst is the sewn-down belt. Secondly is the pocket hidden behind the belt on the left side. Apparently this was for the man's ID card, small change or whatever.

 

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This one belonged to MAJ Thomas Nichols, Jr. of Ike's SHAEF staff.

 

Here's the hidden pocket.

 

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Here are two that I own. A Lt. from the 82nd Airborne and a Flight Nurse from the 9th Air Force.

 

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"YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH RED WINE, TOO MANY BOOKS, OR TOO MUCH AMMUNITION."

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The woman's jacket.

 

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Inner belt detail.

 

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label

 

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"YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH RED WINE, TOO MANY BOOKS, OR TOO MUCH AMMUNITION."

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If I am understanding correctly, the true "ETO Jacket" is the version with the plain exposed buttons as shown in the first photos. The true "ETO Coat" is the more-or-less standard Officer Coat with the modifications such as the sewn down belt and concealed change pocket.

 

The last two jackets shown by Gary are a modified ETO Coat that has been made into an ETO Jacket and a female jacket with concealed buttons. So, I take it that the female jacket is in fact an ETO made example of the later 1944 pattern "Ike Jacket" with concealed buttons rather than a true early "ETO Jacket," even though it is British made in the ETO?

"You can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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The hidden pocket is for either a bus or train ticket. Virtually every English made jacket I have ever seen has the pocket.

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"YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH RED WINE, TOO MANY BOOKS, OR TOO MUCH AMMUNITION."

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I think I agree, though the woman's jacket does not have "ETO" on the label. I do think it meets the criteria of being a US uniform with Brit contract labels.

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Sarge,

I am not exactly sure what you are asking but I have seen three different patterns (with different contract numbers) for ETO jackets. This is the only woman's jacket I have been able to find so know very little about them as I can find no other reference data either.

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"YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH RED WINE, TOO MANY BOOKS, OR TOO MUCH AMMUNITION."

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Gary,

I guess I am trying to understand the term ETO Jacket as opposed to the generic Ike Jacket terminology. Since there really is no such thing as an "Ike Jacket" in military nomenclature, there seem to be at least two separate short jackets (that were official items of issue) that look much alike except for the concealed buttons. Both of these jackets were made in the ETO, therefore would one call any jacket made in the ETO an ETO Jacket?

 

Your very nice female jacket uses the nomenclature for the 1944 dated "Jacket, Field, Wool, OD" or Jacket, Field, Wool, Serge, OD, Officers" seen in these concealed button jackets. Does manufacture of either of these jackets in the ETO make either style an ETO Jacket or should we consider just the jacket with the exposed buttons and an ETO Jacket tag an ETO Jacket?

"You can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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