fourtycoats wrote:I just posted about this smock on FB as follows:
This is an interesting puzzle. You have to ask yourself, what was it made for? A fashion item? Unlikely as it is ugly, coarse and full of expensive to make detail, not necessary for it to sell as well as being made of expensive cotton. A repro? What is it a repro of? Repros are made to satisfy a demand for items that people want, that have a limited supply and are a lot cheaper than the original items. Not likely. An original Military/Government item. The most obvious conclusion. But what was it made for? A work item? A training item? A civil defense Item? My bet is this latter category.
But the Label clearly says ABL so it is a Belgium Army smock on the face of it. Not Civil Defence, it is clearly marked Armee Belge/Belgisch Leger.
It has a beaver tail to prevent the smock filling with air and inflating/ lifting up during a parachute jump. The beaver tail keeps the smock inplace during the decent.
Why would a beaver tail be fitted to anything other than a smock which someone is expected to wear when jumping from an aircraft?
But the studs to secure the tail when not in use have been put facing to the outside, rather than facing inwards as is the case oin all other Belgium Para smocks. The tail cannot be conveniently stowed when not in use.
Two options I can think of, It was made accidentally in the wrong material because someone overseeing the manufacture failed to read the specification and got it wrong. But somehow the items were not destroyed. and have found therre way onto the market.
Or, it is a trials item, a limited number were made, but not were ever issued either because of the Beaver tail error, or because when they were seen the decicion was made, "No we don't like them, forget that idea" , so the smock remains unknown until they have just emerged from storage.
Why would you make a training version that differed from the service item? No point whatsoever, training can be carried out in exactly the same garments as service operations are carried out in.
I have only one other suggestion. The smocks were produced to be worn by troops simulating "enemy troops" on exercises.
In some exercise situations the enemy troops played by your own men have to be distinguishable visually from the "friendly" forces. Solution? friendly forces wear camouflaged smocks, "Enemy" forces are in Khaki smocks.?
What I am struggling with is one smock has obviously seen waer and been laundered. The label is frayed, and the material between the frayed edge, and the missing stitching friom when it was a full patch is clearly a different colour to the rest of the smock, because the material in this area has been protected while the rest of the smock was getting grubby.....