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    Sparse Desert DPM Items

    CollectinSteve
    CollectinSteve
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    Location : New England, US
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    Sparse Desert DPM Items Empty Sparse Desert DPM Items

    Post by CollectinSteve Sun May 21, 2023 5:45 pm

    British Sparse Desert DPM items are pretty hard to find.  I'm fortunate enough to have the standard uniform and a few other bits of kit.  

    I'm curious what people know about this pattern and the items were made in it.  As far as I know these items exist:

    1.  Jacket (standard top)
    2.  Trousers
    3.  Helmet Cover (pretty sure I have one somewhere)
    4.  Body Armor Cover
    5.  SAS/Windproof Smock


    I have pictures handy for the smock and body armor cover, so here they are:

    Sparse Desert DPM Items Dscf7210
    Sparse Desert DPM Items Dscf7211
    Sparse Desert DPM Items Dscf7212

    Sparse Desert DPM Items 11b30b10
    Sparse Desert DPM Items 82a15f10
    Sparse Desert DPM Items A712b810

    Steve

    jimmyduncan23 likes this post

    michelwijnand
    michelwijnand
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    Name : Michel Wijnand
    Age : 35
    Location : The Netherlands
    Registration date : 2016-11-09
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    Post by michelwijnand Sun Jun 04, 2023 6:55 pm

    Aren't the smocks that are sometimes seen all commercial? I don't remember ever seeing one with a full label with NSN and contractcode. I think I've seen some mention they were from SASS or so.

    Also, very interested to see the helmet cover, I haven't seen one before
    CollectinSteve
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    Post by CollectinSteve Sun Jun 04, 2023 8:45 pm

    I know next to nothing about British tags and the data on them, so there is that Wink However, I don't know what you are referring to as the smock label with garment data is washed out. The size is barely readable. The label for the body armor, however, is very readable. Did you get the two confused?

    Also, I thought the commercial SASS smocks had features that were distinct to them and not present on military made items. This one seems to be strictly conforming to military construction. It also has the small buttons which is consistent with the field uniform:

    https://iacmc.forumotion.com/t7801-sparse-desert-dpm-set

    Steve
    michelwijnand
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    Name : Michel Wijnand
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    Post by michelwijnand Mon Jun 05, 2023 11:37 am

    Well about the tag, I've looked at quite a lot of them to compare them and see how to date them by the tags, and by the early 80's already there would have
    been both a Nato size and the British size system on the tag ("Size #"), but on yours it actually says the size in CM, which is different than the official systems.
    It also seems like it would be pretty hard for the upper blank/faded bit to fit everything that seems to be missing compared to "normal" labels, item name, manufacturer
    name, contract code, and also an NSN.
    IIRC sometime during the 80's the 2-piece labels in windproof smocks were all superceded by 1-piece labels, on teh arctic windproof even in the late 70's already.

    1 Thing I am not completely sure about are the chestpockets, I have a late 70's smock with them being slanted, and a mid-90's one with them being straight, so
    sometime between they were changed but I never actually checked when as I just noticed this somehow haha.
    However, I have an SASS smock in normal DDPM which does seem quite a bit like your smock but there's still a few differences.

    About the buttons, as far as I know the 70's smocks already had large buttons as far as I can see on originals and old photos, sadly my own is missing pretty much all buttons,
    not yet the Canadian buttons but regular 4-hole ones.

    Here's some pics, the chestpockets are also slanted, the main label is also 2-piece and the lower part looks distinctly like yours but with a few more lines of stuff on it, but
    in place of the size being on the upper label it's actually on a third little label piece below the larger pieces.
    With my smock being made later it already has the Canadian buttons though.

    Sparse Desert DPM Items Dsc01032
    Sparse Desert DPM Items Dsc01033


    I hope you don't see this as me trying to pick apart your smock, but I'm just going pretty deep into this as it's something I really want to know exactly about what it is and
    from what company, and sadly can't find the post about the 1 other sparse smock like yours that I've ever seen which was on facebook and facebook is s*** when you
    actually want to preserve information...
    And also, I really really like your smock, even if it wasn't issue it's still cool as hell!
    CollectinSteve
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    Post by CollectinSteve Mon Jun 05, 2023 6:01 pm

    Thanks for the info! I am always interested in the truth and never about preserving what I'd like it to be. This thing is so rare it really doesn't matter Smile I know very little about Sparse Desert generally.

    You are correct about the buttons! I had forgotten that the smocks had large (non-Canadian) buttons for a very long time. So why does this one have pre-S95 small buttons? I can't see SASS deviating from the large buttons.

    Whether this was standard issue, a special run, or commercial the smock has all appearances of being worn by a serving British soldier. The corporal rank on the right arm was sewn on before its first washing (inside you can see the material is bunched up), there is a faint soldier's name written above the chest size, and "NORTHEAST" written on the wash/wear label seems to have a military purpose. The cloth is consistent with the uniform, both in colors as well as the feel. It's that crazy soft cotton (I have pajamas that aren't as soft and cuddly Wink ).


    While looking at pictures of smocks I found a commercial Sparse DDPM smock!

    https://www.kommandos.co.uk/en/british-army-desert-windproof-smock

    However, it is very recent production and the camouflage pattern is a modification of the more recent DPM, not the original Sparse type. The seller calls it a "reproduction".

    Steve
    michelwijnand
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    Name : Michel Wijnand
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    Post by michelwijnand Tue Jun 06, 2023 4:00 pm

    Same here, just like with my loadouts I encourage people to tell me when I've made a mistake because this hobby is all about learning, though some things can be tedious, like the British label stuff Razz

    And maybe whichever manufacturer made your smock, if it wasn't SASS, just had thenormal smaller buttons in large supply, or took them from normal shirts even.
    And you mentioned the fabric being soft? I remember my smocks all being sorta rigid, except the SASS one and I think also a DPM one from HM Supplies, maybe the fabric also came from normal shirt production?

    I bet whoever used that smock had to have had either some leeway to use what he wanted, or his officer was just too puzzled by it to even call in non-issue, as I've heard some nice stories about guys getting chewed out for just that.
    Which make non-issue but used stuff even more interesting. I especially like the earlier tactical vests and rigs from commercial brands, both for their British use and their Dutch Marines use.
    Eventhough PLCE webbing was quite good and there were issue chestrigs and vests from some point onwrd, there's always greener grass at some shop with commercil gear!

    Oh and the abomination from that link, him calling that a reproduction is quite a stretch!
    CollectinSteve
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    Post by CollectinSteve Tue Jun 06, 2023 5:44 pm

    michelwijnand wrote:
    And maybe whichever manufacturer made your smock, if it wasn't SASS, just had thenormal smaller buttons in large supply, or took them from normal shirts even.
    And you mentioned the fabric being soft? I remember my smocks all being sorta rigid, except the SASS one and I think also a DPM one from HM Supplies, maybe the fabric also came from normal shirt production?

    Whomever made it must have already been in the business of making windproof smocks because nobody in their right mind would go through the enormous expense of making a handful of these for the commercial market. Which means it was either an established MoD contractor or it was a commercial company already experienced with producing such smocks in quantity. Was there anybody else other than SASS back in the 1990s or early 2000s making windproofs? I purchased this sometime in 2011 off of eBay, so certainly nothing more recent than that.

    For sure the cloth used is the same weight, print, and colors as the genuine production uniforms. Therefore, at the very least my smock is made from MoD fabric. Surplus fabric often finds its way into commercial operations many years after it is no longer in use, so if that's what happened that wouldn't be a surprise.


    I bet whoever used that smock had to have had either some leeway to use what he wanted, or his officer was just too puzzled by it to even call in non-issue, as I've heard some nice stories about guys getting chewed out for just that.

    Yup, which further makes this a head scratcher. Presuming it was worn by a soldier in MoD service, then the likely scenario is he was in the TA. Traditionally reserves are often shorted on equipment and therefore regulations are relaxed to accommodate improvisation. However, in such cases there usually isn't the time or inclination to have special production runs to fill gaps, they just get whatever they can get "off the shelf". So it is still puzzling where this smock came from in the first place.

    Steve

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