Deciphering UK DPM?

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    Martin
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    Deciphering UK DPM?

    Post by Martin on Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:06 am

    I have a box full of UK DPM from all eras that I want to sort out. Is here anyway of telling the date (ie year) from the tags? Does the contract number indicate anything?

    Does a guide exist for identifying UK DPM items, or does anyone have any links to helpful sites/forums Question Question ?

    Regards,
    Martin

    Edward53
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    Re: Deciphering UK DPM?

    Post by Edward53 on Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:39 am

    There's no such guide that I know of, and the only other really helpful forum is HMVF, the Historic Military Vehicles Forum, which is very much UK-focused. I'm sure that if you posted some pictures people would be only too glad to offer advice. The important thing is to show the label, assuming it survives. A few pointers: combat smocks had button cuffs up to the 68 pattern, the 85 pattern and later ones having velcro cuffs, but this doesn't apply to windproofs and waterproofs. Garment sizes changed from Imperial (Size 1, 2 etc) to metric from the late 70s to the mid 80s, depending on the item, eg sniper smocks and parkas were metric early on, jerseys late. The big cut-off in terms of value seems to be the Falklands War, especially for windproofs and other SF kit. The subject's too big to say more here, but I hope this helps a bit.

    Martin
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    Re: Deciphering UK DPM?

    Post by Martin on Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:32 pm

    Edward53 wrote:There's no such guide that I know of, and the only other really helpful forum is HMVF, the Historic Military Vehicles Forum, which is very much UK-focused. I'm sure that if you posted some pictures people would be only too glad to offer advice. The important thing is to show the label, assuming it survives. A few pointers: combat smocks had button cuffs up to the 68 pattern, the 85 pattern and later ones having velcro cuffs, but this doesn't apply to windproofs and waterproofs. Garment sizes changed from Imperial (Size 1, 2 etc) to metric from the late 70s to the mid 80s, depending on the item, eg sniper smocks and parkas were metric early on, jerseys late. The big cut-off in terms of value seems to be the Falklands War, especially for windproofs and other SF kit. The subject's too big to say more here, but I hope this helps a bit.

    Thanks Ed - that's a great resource - I'm going through it now... It seems there is no way to get the actual year of manufacture from te label - pity...

    Edward53
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    Re: Deciphering UK DPM?

    Post by Edward53 on Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:31 pm

    How many items have you got, and do you have any idea at all of their age?

    Martin
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    Re: Deciphering UK DPM?

    Post by Martin on Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:28 am

    Hi Ed,

    I've got about 10 sets (not including desert sets which I haven't got to yet...). I think I pretty much have figured it out for nearly most of the items ie categorised them into P68, P84 etc - once I've finished photographing everything I'll post them up. One thing I noticed with the P68 items is that there are the early P68 items (that actually say Pattern 68 on the label) and the actual DPM pattern is the very "spotty" type, then there are later P68 items on which the DPM pattern has no "spots" coming off the shapes. Then P84 reverts back to a "spotty" DPM but not as "spotty" as the early P68... hope that makes sense... Do you know anything about these different DPM camo patterns?

    Regards,
    Martin.

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    Re: Deciphering UK DPM?

    Post by Gulf91 on Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:29 am

    Martin wrote:Hi Ed,

    I've got about 10 sets (not including desert sets which I haven't got to yet...). I think I pretty much have figured it out for nearly most of the items ie categorised them into P68, P84 etc - once I've finished photographing everything I'll post them up. One thing I noticed with the P68 items is that there are the early P68 items (that actually say Pattern 68 on the label) and the actual DPM pattern is the very "spotty" type, then there are later P68 items on which the DPM pattern has no "spots" coming off the shapes. Then P84 reverts back to a "spotty" DPM but not as "spotty" as the early P68... hope that makes sense... Do you know anything about these different DPM camo patterns?

    Regards,
    Martin.


    Noooooooooooo Martin,please please dont turn into one of the DPM fanatics that cant sleep at night over the dots on the DPM Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

    Martin
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    Re: Deciphering UK DPM?

    Post by Martin on Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:49 am

    Yeah, these dots have been stressing me out when I'm sorting through my DPM box....

    Edward53
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    Re: Deciphering UK DPM?

    Post by Edward53 on Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:12 am

    The old "dotted camo" question again! There are various opinions about this. Mine is that if dpm is liberally dotted, it's more likely to be early, but that's only a pointer and not proof. Some combat clothing was still made with classic "70s" dotted dpm into the late 80s, though this is not common. I've noticed that early 70s dpm tends to have lighter colours, the green changing from yellowish to blueish in the early to mid 80s. None of this is foolproof. For instance, I have a sniper smock that I know to be late 70s in darker dpm with no dots on the camo. Until someone posts a comprehensive guide to dates and labels, patterns and pattern modifications will continue to be the best guide.

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    Re: Deciphering UK DPM?

    Post by Martin on Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:20 am

    I agree - I think the P60/P63/early P68 was manufactured in the "first version" or "heavily spotted" DPM then went to the later P68 "unspotted" DPM in the late 70s/early 80s then the P84 "lightly spotted bright green" DPM, however previous pattern DPM cloth was used to manufacture later model uniforms as you mention...

    BTW do you think this is legit: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ultra-rare-UKSF-desert-trials-smock-SAS-SBS-1st-Gulf-Combat-Prototype-/281567891849?pt=UK_Collectables_Militaria_LE&hash=item418ec11189

    Regards,
    Martin.

    Edward53
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    Re: Deciphering UK DPM?

    Post by Edward53 on Fri Jan 23, 2015 7:35 am

    I do not believe this ebay item is a Gulf War One piece, as that pattern of garment is 100% post 1991. Troops in the Gulf War wore ddpm shirts, 85 patt dpm smocks, dpm parkas, dpm para smocks, WW2 windproofs, dpm arctic smocks and, according to one contemporary source, privately purchased ddpm arctic smocks. Obviously it is not possible to prove a negative, but the pattern, the type of camo and the lack of written or photographic evidence all point to a post 1991 date, probably 92-94. UK trials garments should have a red SCRDE trials label inside, so I find that an unlikely identification.

    I think this is either for some country other than the UK or a private purchase item. It's still nice, and  very rare. I would however take the description with a large dose of salt.

    Martin
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    Re: Deciphering UK DPM?

    Post by Martin on Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:46 pm

    Hi Ed - yeah my feeling was that it wasn't legit...

    As for the normal DPM, I've started documenting all my pieces... so far:

    Early P68 DPM "Heavily Spotted" Combat Smock & Trousers:


    Late P68 DPM "Unspotted" Combat Smock & Trousers:


    P84 DPM "Lightly Spotted" (Bright Green Variation) Combat Smock & Trousers:


    So I'm slowly working the spots out... so far:
    P60 and P63 and Early manufacture P68 (early 1970s) = Heavily Spotted DPM
    Late manufacture P68 (late 1970s and early 1980s) = Unspotted DPM
    P84 (from 1985) = Lightly Spotted DPM with two colour variations: Bright Green and a Dark Brown.

    More to follow...

    Edward53
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    Re: Deciphering UK DPM?

    Post by Edward53 on Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:59 am

    As mentioned, the camo pattern is a pointer but not a clincher. The colour of dpm is a help, but in one direction only - it can sometimes identify a piece as later, but not as earlier. Pattern and labelling are the only reliable pointers and they only take you so far.

    Do you have some 63 patt dpm? Very rare kit, would love to see it!

    Gulf91
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    Re: Deciphering UK DPM?

    Post by Gulf91 on Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:13 am

    Edward53 wrote:As mentioned, the camo pattern is a pointer but not a clincher. The colour of dpm is a help, but in one direction only - it can sometimes identify a piece as later, but not as earlier. Pattern and labelling are the only reliable pointers and they only take you so far.

    Do you have some 63 patt dpm? Very rare kit, would love to see it!

    Well said Ted. I bet you could find an early labelled smock by one maker that has bloody dots and another by a different maker that has no dots. A complete waste of time in my opinion but this identifying and categorising DPM is a massive bugbear of mine,just no point in it at all,a complete waste of somebodys time and sorry if this comes accross as harsh but surely there is more to life than worrying about Dots on DPM????

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    Re: Deciphering UK DPM?

    Post by CollectinSteve on Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:33 pm

    I once tried to make sense of the DPM patterns and I gave up. The Brits simply were not interested in consistency or conformity. I agree with Ed that there's definitely trends that can be documented to give a hint of when something might have been made, but outside of the cut of the garment it can not be seen as definitive.

    I have always cursed the Brits for not putting dates in their uniforms! I curse my forefathers for their lack of consideration!

    Steve

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