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GIl Sanow

Show us your SAW khakis!

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I realize that there may not be all that many who collect the early U.S. Army khaki coats, but they are the beginning of the evolution of the uniform away from the traditional blue to more covert shades and cooler materials for the tropics.

 

It is pretty well know that the Army adopted khaki unifors during the Spanish-American War, though probably only officers wore them in combat in Cuba. Tons of them were left stranded in unmarked box cars near Tampa when the troops shipped out, and they were not issued in Cuba til after the Spanish surrender. The initial troops heding for the Philippines were issued whites (!) since no khakies were available.

 

The initial uniforms seem to have several common characteristics -- standing collar, 4 pockets, pointed cuffs and shoulder loops. Belt loops and a full-length pleat in the back were commonly seen on EM's coats, though the belts are only rarely found. "Facings" (collars, pocket flaps, cuffs and shoulder loops) were commonly made in branch colors. See #1 below.

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I realize that there may not be all that many who collect the early U.S. Army khaki coats, but they are the beginning of the evolution of the uniform away from the traditional blue to more covert shades and cooler materials for the tropics.

 

It is pretty well know that the Army adopted khaki unifors during the Spanish-American War, though probably only officers wore them in combat in Cuba. Tons of them were left stranded in unmarked box cars near Tampa when the troops shipped out, and they were not issued in Cuba til after the Spanish surrender. The initial troops heding for the Philippines were issued whites (!) since no khakies were available.

 

The initial uniforms seem to have several common characteristics -- standing collar, 4 pockets, pointed cuffs and shoulder loops. Belt loops and a full-length pleat in the back were commonly seen on EM's coats, though the belts are only rarely found. "Facings" (collars, pocket flaps, cuffs and shoulder loops) were commonly made in branch colors. See #1 below.

 

According to the reports given to Congress after the war, one of the problems initially encountered with issuing khaki uniforms was the branch-colored trim. If there were requisitions from artillery uniforms with red trim, and only blue trimmed infantry coats were available, someone was going to be really unhappy.

 

The solution of course was simple: reduce the colored trim to chevrons and detachable shoulder loops. An example is shown below:

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According to the reports given to Congress after the war, one of the problems initially encountered with issuing khaki uniforms was the branch-colored trim. If there were requisitions from artillery uniforms with red trim, and only blue trimmed infantry coats were available, someone was going to be really unhappy.

 

The solution of course was simple: reduce the colored trim to chevrons and detachable shoulder loops. An example is shown below:

 

Here is another, this time Infantry.

 

Note the different material used in the above coats. The khaki fabric varied considerably from canvas to twill to poplin. And note the color differences. The QM reported "fugitive" dyes were a serious problem -- fading was the issue. (I have seen some nearly white.) Also it must be noted that there was no Army Specification for these coats written until 1899 -- AFTER the war. Coats previously were made to patterns that seem to have been figments of the makers imagination. The variations are almost unlimited.

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Here is another, this time Infantry.

 

Note the different material used in the above coats. The khaki fabric varied considerably from canvas to twill to poplin. And note the color differences. The QM reported "fugitive" dyes were a serious problem -- fading was the issue. (I have seen some nearly white.) Also it must be noted that there was no Army Specification for these coats written until 1899 -- AFTER the war. Coats previously were made to patterns that seem to have been figments of the makers imagination. The variations are almost unlimited.

 

Finally there were coats made with khaki loops and no lower pockets. Were they intended to be worn tucked into the trousers as some have suggested? I cannot say. I just know I have seen them in photos and have an exaple to share.

This one has no pocket buttons, belt loops or back pleat.

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Finally there were coats made with khaki loops and no lower pockets. Were they intended to be worn tucked into the trousers as some have suggested? I cannot say. I just know I have seen them in photos and have an exaple to share.

This one has no pocket buttons, belt loops or back pleat.

 

Officers of course wore similar khaki clothing. Here is an example. These were privately tailored or purchased, not issued. This one is maned to a Lt., but the name is illegible.

 

Note the insignia on the shoulder loops. The eagle is similar to that worn on the "conductor" cap by officers. 2LT's wore no rank, just the accouterments of an officer (sword, etc).

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Officers of course wore similar khaki clothing. Here is an example. These were privately tailored or purchased, not issued. This one is maned to a Lt., but the name is illegible.

 

Note the insignia on the shoulder loops. The eagle is similar to that worn on the "conductor" cap by officers. 2LT's wore no rank, just the accouterments of an officer (sword, etc).

 

OK folks, I got the ball rolling. I showed you mine..... Now it's your turn! Whadya got?



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I really like your uniforms. Thanks for sharing. I have one with Cav color shoulder tabs. Not really sure if it meets spec but I have it.

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Great stuff! Initially, All of the troops in the Philippines in 1899 were still wearing the dark blue wool shirts and even pictures exist of them with the old blue sack coat! Some officers seem to have aquired some odd tailored white uniforms, but that seems to be all.

I do not recall ever seeing a picture of the earliest Khaki coats with the colored collars and pockets etc. being worn there, although one would think some must have.

Khaki does not seem to appear in PI until after 1900 during the later portion of the Philippine Insurection (war actually). I dont know how the troops could stand wearing those blue wool shirts, but this is what they fought in. The heat and humidity in PI is terrible.

Very soon after the American take over of PI, the various military tailors and supply firms that existed in Manila switched over to supplying the US military with clothing and other items. US military personel quickly availed themselves of private purchase uniform items more suited to the environment, although many of the early uniforms etc., do not seem to conform exactly to known regulation US examples. By the early 1900's almost every item of US military uniforms and insignia could be purchased in Manila of local or imported manufacture.

The US military of course continued to contract with Filipino firms from then on and had post tailors at every major base.

 

CB

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Great stuff! Initially, All of the troops in the Philippines in 1899 were still wearing the dark blue wool shirts and even pictures exist of them with the old blue sack coat! Some officers seem to have aquired some odd tailored white uniforms, but that seems to be all.

I do not recall ever seeing a picture of the earliest Khaki coats with the colored collars and pockets etc. being worn there, although one would think some must have.

Khaki does not seem to appear in PI until after 1900 during the later portion of the Philippine Insurection (war actually). I dont know how the troops could stand wearing those blue wool shirts, but this is what they fought in. The heat and humidity in PI is terrible.

Very soon after the American take over of PI, the various military tailors and supply firms that existed in Manila switched over to supplying the US military with clothing and other items. US military personel quickly availed themselves of private purchase uniform items more suited to the environment, although many of the early uniforms etc., do not seem to conform exactly to known regulation US examples. By the early 1900's almost every item of US military uniforms and insignia could be purchased in Manila of local or imported manufacture.

The US military of course continued to contract with Filipino firms from then on and had post tailors at every major base.

 

CB

 

I don't disagree. Somewhere long ago, I ran across reference to uniforms tailored in the PI and made of "Hong Kong Khaki." Certainly the British were using khaki then and HK was a Brit colony, so it seems a likely source as I do not think they were producing cotton in the PI.



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Hi Gil,

Actually some cotton cloth was produced in PI, but not Khaki twill. Most cotton cloth was indeed imported, primarily from Japan which had a big cotton industry before ww2, but also from stateside US sources. Some may have also come from India as well.

 

CB

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I have this uniform posted elsewhere, but since it is pertinent to this thread, thought I would post it here as well. This is my Spanish American War era USMC uniform. The original owner of this uniform served aboard the gunboat USS Hist during the War and wears the Sampson Medal for that service. He later served as the First Sergeant of the U.S. Marine Detachment aboard the USS Iowa. The tunic still bears his first Sgt's stripes as well as his 1st class gunner's rating.

 

***COLLECTOR NOTE***

All collectors should note that the individual who initially started this post has been banned and his posts are now being reviewed for authenticity.

 

Our main interest at USMF is making sure collectors are aware and can learn about period pieces. And, having non-original pieces as guides does a disservice to all. The administration encourages members having detailed information regarding the item being a fake, reproduction, and/or put together to come forward and post it here or in other threads.

 

For more information regarding the user “DevilDan1900” and the cause for this review, please see below link:

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...showtopic=15227

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I have this uniform posted elsewhere, but since it is pertinent to this thread, thought I would post it here as well.

 

Same here with my SAW uniforms, however the only way I can show them is on the manikins. By the way DD I never get tired of seeing that uniform.

 

Photo #1, the one on the right is wearing that 1883 blue wool shirt and the 1st pattern straight legged, suspender buttons only, khaki trousers. The trousers have the same cut as the 1884 blue wool trousers only made in khaki. The one on the left is a pre 1910 with a 1906/7 pattern tunic.

 

Photo#2 has the 1898 1st pattern tunic with the 1st pattern trousers like on the SAW one on the first photo.

 

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I just picked up this tunic. As you can see there are no pockets and the buttons are all missing. The color is more of a light gray. It is very well made and I believe it is original span am period. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks

Brad

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I just picked up this tunic. As you can see there are no pockets and the buttons are all missing. The color is more of a light gray. It is very well made and I believe it is original span am period. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks

Brad

 

Hmmmm -- looks more like a theatrical CSA coat. So far as I know, all SAW khaki had at least two pockets.



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