'59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

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    Bury_Dave
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    '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by Bury_Dave on Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:12 pm

    Thought I'd share these smocks with you all.














    I have an olive green '63 pattern smock and another mint '77 pattern DPM Para smock plus some other bits I'll post as I get time.







    CollectinSteve
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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by CollectinSteve on Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:37 am

    How many different para models are there? I just received one today with vertical zips and snaps, which is the first of this sort I've come upon for my collection. I've got maybe 2 or 3 other types. Just curious how many I have to collect before I've got all my bases covered Very Happy

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by Bury_Dave on Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:47 am

    Hi Steve, to be honest I think that there were only ever 2 label descriptions ; one being 'Smock Parachutist' and the other being 'Smock Parachutist 1959 pattern'. Lastly, 'Smock Parachutists DPM' (I think. I need to look at my examples in my attic) And technically only ever one official smock designation.

    However, there were non-labelled changes.
    The so-called first pattern was the setp-in smock. A copy of the German first pattern but in khaki drill. Used at Bruneval and the Tagino viaduct raids and quickly superceded.
    Second was the one with knit cuffs and the tail piece that could only be connected to the front and was often either cut off after the jump or left hanging or press studded to one of the tabs to the left or right of the front to narrow the smock. This was the first camo pattern smock.
    Third was the one where you could press stud the tail to the rear of the smock and which had a button tightening tab above each wrist.

    Post WW2 were half zip with knit cuffs. Then full zip and then later the '59 pattern. In 1976/77 the Regt went to the DPM smock. This was basically a '59 pattern Denison but with internal drawcord at waist and one on the bottom hem - thus removing the need for the two tabs. They also had the pen and ruler pocket on the left sleeve like the '68 pattern smocks that teh Army were using then. These early DPM ones were sized as per the Denisons. Later in around '81/'82 they went NATO sizing. In 1984 they had the field dressing pocket on the right sleeve. Since then there have been no changes other than material type and a massive worsening of the quality of the garments overall.

    Where there is confusion is the fact that different makers (and there were several) of the '59 pattern Denisons, interpreted the specs in slightly different ways giving rise to different colour variations. This, along with different wear rates and washing processes, meant that in any given unit that there would be a real hotch-potch of smocks all looking like different patterns.

    With the DPM ones there were fewer makers and I think that the cloth may have come from a central supplier who had a contract to supply the MoD as a whole with cloth and the makers just cut and assembled the smocks. Because teh whole Army went camo, the size of teh contracts to print cloth went up. when just the paras and some SF were wearing camo, the print runs of cloth were MUCH smaller.

    Each material supplier has seemed to have slightly different colour variations in DPM too.

    You also find people washing out labels of post WW2 smocks and trying to pass them as WW2 issue 'officer' smocks. There were no officer smocks issued as such. Some officers used the long zippers from the green, sleeveless smocks to replace their half zips to make donning and doffing the smock easier. Perhaps also officers didn't wear their smocks as hard as the men and so those issued with the 'second pattern' kept them longer than the guys did and so you might see more officers wearing smocks with knit cuffs than enlisted men.

    The higher ranking officers would have had all uniform clothing privately made by tailors and they had a Denison type smock made up in a lighter weight gaberdine material. I won't bore you with the details but Monty and Browning were both photographed in such garments as were a couple of others who's names escape me right now.

    Remember too that the 'second pattern' smocks had a hand applied camo which quickly faded.

    I'm sure i haven't fully answered your question but perhaps now you can see that there was only really a couple of patterns by label but lots of variations by colour or slight mod.

    Incidentally, the vertical zips type you mention is not a 'Smock Parachutists'. A photo might be useful as the only one i am aware of that had vertical zips was the French Lizard ones.


    Last edited by Bury_Dave on Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:40 am; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : Can't spell !)

    CollectinSteve
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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by CollectinSteve on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:05 am

    Thanks for the info! Very helpful. So there really is only one type of DPM parachute smock. Interesting!

    After careful inspection I found that the vertical zip pockets are a modification, probably when the smock was still brand new. The tailoring is fantastic. Little details all done with great care for good long term use. This was no hack job. I don't know what the pocket with the snap strap above the left breast pocket was for, but it was obviously for something quite specific.



    Steve

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by Gulf91 on Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:29 am

    CollectinSteve wrote:Thanks for the info! Very helpful. So there really is only one type of DPM parachute smock. Interesting!

    After careful inspection I found that the vertical zip pockets are a modification, probably when the smock was still brand new. The tailoring is fantastic. Little details all done with great care for good long term use. This was no hack job. I don't know what the pocket with the snap strap above the left breast pocket was for, but it was obviously for something quite specific.



    Steve

    Nice mods on the smock Steve,any chance please of a pic of the label?

    Bury_Dave
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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by Bury_Dave on Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:19 am

    It's a later issue para smock for sure. Intereting mods. I suspect the press studded strap os for a compass lanyard for the Standard issue Silva compass rather than the prismatic (which was usually carried in the dedicated pouch tht sat on the belt.

    Tommo
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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by Tommo on Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:12 am

    Very Nice!

    Would agree on the pouch being for the Silva Compass.

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by loski on Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:22 pm

    intresting mods iwould agree with dave about the pocket with the snap fastener being for a sylva compass

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by kammo-man on Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:08 pm

    Dont forget there is a DPM snipers smock .

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by koalorka on Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:16 pm

    Dave, that's some excellent history on the post-war parachutist smocks, thanks for contributing!

    That late model P59 would be hard to upgrade as well... Shocked

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by kammo-man on Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:28 pm

    Dave ,
    There is an official issue officers smock manufactured under the AM which was made using the Windproof fabric and double layered , not to mention the RN varient made with the attached hood for Beach use.

    owen

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by Bury_Dave on Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:29 am

    Hi Owen, you are absolutely spot-on about the other smock you mention. However, as they are 'only' camo smocks and we were talking about Smocks, Parachutist, technically they don't qualify. They weren't issued for jumping.

    The Air Ministry ones I've never seen (unless the period photos of Monty and others in an odd looking smock are the smock in question ..... )but might be this one .......





    The Royal Navy smock, I believe, is this one ......



















    (Photos reproduced by kind permission of Daniel at www.regimentals.co.uk

    Like I say though, these smocks are not for parachuting and the tail is to keep the smock in place and keep the wind out.

    What I call the first pattern smock may have had an AM stamp but was specifically for the newly-formed Parachute Regiment, here's a photo or two of it in action ......





    There was a lot of trials issue kit when the Regt was formed. Things like crepe soled boots, knee pads etc, but these were soon dropped as experience in the field showed many of these items to be of little or no value.

    I hope the above is of some interest to someone here !

    Dave Smile

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by Bury_Dave on Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:35 am

    koalorka wrote:Dave, that's some excellent history on the post-war parachutist smocks, thanks for contributing!

    That late model P59 would be hard to upgrade as well... Shocked

    Thanks. I lay no claim to being an 'expert' as I lack the necessary OCD tendancies Wink but I am happy to share what I do know.

    and yes, that '59 pattern is as good as you can get. Mint and shiny and unworn Very Happy My own old one looks very scrappy next to it Embarassed I'll dig it out and chuck some photos on when I get a chance.

    Where in Canada are you ? I was in Calgary for the 90's. Might be heading back soon too.

    Cheers,
    Dave

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by kammo-man on Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:10 pm

    Dave ,
    Montys one is the AM version made from the same windproof high grade poplin ........but double layer cloth.
    If you go to WAF and do a search there is a great thread on them.
    To me a dream item to own , and to be honest when I collected Denisons hunted for 20 odd years to find one , with only one faint sniff ever , I would have swopped a SS camouflage smock for one any day.
    Thats the one known RN smock , its a beauty , pity its so light in color but sill who cares ?
    I was looking through my old photos last night and remembered the Denison I had seen many years ago in the IWM ...........is was officer modified and blanket lined example complete with a added hood that was also blanket lined made from a cut up smock , the card beside it told of an British Airborne officer who had this done for the winter of 44 and that he served somewhere in the Bulge , it was complete with other items from him.
    So in some weird way there once existed a "official" hooded version !!!!!
    When I get my scanner set up I will add this picture to the thread.
    owen

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by bravo_2_zero on Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:10 pm

    kammo-man wrote:Dont forget there is a DPM snipers smock .
    They are slightly different to the para, non angle chest pockets, lower pockets moved to the side for prone access and padding elbows and shoulders. The para smock is a feather weight smock at the side of a sniper jacket, I think they sew house bricks into them somehow Laughing

    I have a custom smock I don't know if I've shown on here before ?

    It's a para smock I bought from a surplus shop back in the 90's. I then found an old COP jacket which was made from same cloth as my smock and had brass snaps on the pockets too. So I had a word with a chap and a recce smock was born way before the likes of Arktis made them.

    Jacket has 10 or so pockets all to my design, 2 of which hold the 58patt bottles , 1 compass , 1 FFD , 2 small utility , a forearm speed loader pocket, camo loops I stole from helmet elastics and sewn on, sniper elbow pads again stolen from the sniper stores and sewn on.

    This made one hell of a recce smock and I wore it without webbing.

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by Tommo on Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:19 pm

    Mate, pictures!!!

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by bravo_2_zero on Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:26 pm



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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by kammo-man on Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:50 pm

    Now thats a serious piece of kit !!!!


    owen

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by Bury_Dave on Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:53 am

    Very similar to the Swiss Alpenflage concept.

    Sniper pads were a common mod for recce platoons although i never liked them myself. After all, if you knackered your kit in the field, you got new stuff for free Very Happy

    And I have to say that fully loaded, I would never put my faith into the stitching and always preferred belt kit with an E&E kit carried on me so that I could dump the belt kit if needed ( or it was removed from me )and still have a few items for going on the run. I could see the whole smock being taken off me or having to dump it for a river crossing.

    There have always been two types of soldier; those who have every gadget and mod to give them what they feel is an advantage and those who keep it simple. Neither is right nor wrong but i fell in the latter camp.

    B20 ( Why did you chose that nic' ? Very Happy ), who did the work on your smock ? JJ's ? DuBoras ? And BTW COP vests and smocks were being churned out by SASS since the mid 1970's ...... Arktis were relative latecomers to the party.

    Dave

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by bravo_2_zero on Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:07 am

    I got the smock from jay jays of Sheffield when he first started in the 90's ( he later went down Wales way ). I went in to buy some danner boots, £189 in 94 was mega money and picked up a para smock for £15 I thinks it was damaged.
    I went to a local carboot and bought a SASS jacket for £4 that had 20rd .556 mag pockets which were no good.

    My relative who worked in the stores and had just done the sewing course to repair kit helped me sew one jacket to the other. He also let me take bits of jackets that were being destroyed. I even had a play with an original Vietnam starlite scope before it was turned in, don't know why he had it ?

    Brill bit of kit and made the other sqaddies green when I could pull a water bottle my side and not take of the webbing Laughing

    I wore this with set of tropicals, jungle hat, depending on season danners or black US jungle boots and a t-shirt.

    Kit was camo 120l Bergen and either the GPMG or LSW as I was qualified SF too.

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by Bury_Dave on Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:38 am

    bravo_2_zero wrote:My relative who worked in the stores and had just done the sewing course to repair kit helped me sew one jacket to the other. He also let me take bits of jackets that were being destroyed. I even had a play with an original Vietnam starlite scope before it was turned in, don't know why he had it ?

    I imagine if you were SF qualified (Sustained Fire for those thinking it means Speshul forces ...) you got to use some very good IR & NVG sights and the Vietnam era ones would have been very old hat.


    bravo_2_zero wrote:Brill bit of kit and made the other sqaddies green when I could pull a water bottle my side and not take of the webbing Laughing

    I'll beg to differ with you on that. All that kit in a loose smock, I would have thought it would move all over the place when moving or lying prone. Webbing you can strap together and it doesn't move no matter what you do. Pulling a waterbottle from apouch or a pocket .... no difference surely ?

    bravo_2_zero wrote:I wore this with set of tropicals, jungle hat, depending on season danners or black US jungle boots and a t-shirt.

    You me and every other person in the Army since 1978 !!!! Laughing

    bravo_2_zero wrote:Kit was camo 120l Bergen and either the GPMG or LSW as I was qualified SF too.

    I didn't know the GPMG was in use before Afghanistan. I had thought the greater engagement ranges there were what had bought it back. Then again, what do I know ? I'm old skool and pre SA80 / LSW. I didn't even know the LSW worked in the SF role as I thought it's range was so crap (800m) that it was as good on the bipod as the tripod.

    When were you in ?

    I better pay attention Laughing

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by bravo_2_zero on Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:11 pm

    Bury_Dave wrote:
    bravo_2_zero wrote:My relative who worked in the stores and had just done the sewing course to repair kit helped me sew one jacket to the other. He also let me take bits of jackets that were being destroyed. I even had a play with an original Vietnam starlite scope before it was turned in, don't know why he had it ?

    I imagine if you were SF qualified (Sustained Fire for those thinking it means Speshul forces ...) you got to use some very good IR & NVG sights and the Vietnam era ones would have been very old hat.


    bravo_2_zero wrote:Brill bit of kit and made the other sqaddies green when I could pull a water bottle my side and not take of the webbing Laughing

    I'll beg to differ with you on that. All that kit in a loose smock, I would have thought it would move all over the place when moving or lying prone. Webbing you can strap together and it doesn't move no matter what you do. Pulling a waterbottle from apouch or a pocket .... no difference surely ?

    bravo_2_zero wrote:I wore this with set of tropicals, jungle hat, depending on season danners or black US jungle boots and a t-shirt.

    You me and every other person in the Army since 1978 !!!! Laughing

    bravo_2_zero wrote:Kit was camo 120l Bergen and either the GPMG or LSW as I was qualified SF too.

    I didn't know the GPMG was in use before Afghanistan. I had thought the greater engagement ranges there were what had bought it back. Then again, what do I know ? I'm old skool and pre SA80 / LSW. I didn't even know the LSW worked in the SF role as I thought it's range was so crap (800m) that it was as good on the bipod as the tripod.

    When were you in ?

    I better pay attention Laughing

    Mid to late 90's.

    The LSW was a real pig, horrid thing to carry. I had to do everything with that thing including the skill at arms for some bizzare reason ? Everyone said I shouldn't have done that it should have been the SA80 ?

    Yeah I did use the GPMG sometimes outside the recce role but mainly in SF. I shot a few match 82's as the gunner.

    The starlite scope was something that had been turned in that was sent down south somewhere with a load of SUSAT's that were faulty. We used the ISW and some thermal device what ran of a bottle of compressed air , the view was red and black.

    Yeah there was a few real kit monsters who had every gadget and shiny object you could think of. I was kind of make and mend do, mod type. Like my jungle boots, I robbed 2 flick locks from some chemical smocks and fitted them to the jungle boot laces. They were brill I could do them up in seconds with the speed lace eyelets.

    The smock did make a difference when laid up in an OP with the side pockets, yeah running about with suff in was a little bouncy but I don't recal ever doing much of that in recce when in the field. We carried to much weight in the Bergen to do much of that What a Face

    But if I was going to do it again then I'd add loops for a belt, add some thin padding and use of nylon webbing too. But the couple of years I used this was perfect for me and far better than that 94 patt tat I was issued.


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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by Bury_Dave on Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:16 pm

    Found my old smock after a bit of a root about in the attic - as well as a few other bits .......



    Makes me rather nostalgic .............

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by bravo_2_zero on Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:22 pm

    I'd love one of these brush paint camo smock Wink

    I will find one cheers

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    Re: '59 & '77 pattern Para Smocks

    Post by Tyler Flint on Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:11 am

    I recently got a Canadian DPM para smock Smile

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