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Service Uniform

(or Class A)


Sometimes called an overseas cap (after its Great War predecessor) this item of headgear was made in olive drab wool serge, for those occasions where the helmet was not necessary. Early war caps had an expanding box pleat in the top, which are pattern preferred for the D-Day period we depict. To simplify construction and conserve material, the caps were re-designed very later in the war to have a square cut top. The edges of the cap were invariably piped in the colour of branch of service

With the adoption of the open necked service coat, the US Army adopted a black cotton tie for formal functions, however by 1940 this had become black mohair which, by 1942 had become substituted for a light olive drab mohair finish. Photographic evidence suggests ties were never worn in combat although General Patton was insistent that all soldiers in the 3d Army carried their ties and fines were issued for soldiers that refused to wear them. One presumes his logic is that would smarten the troops up or give them a potential tourniquet. Fortunately, after Sicily, the 1st Division and Patton seldom worked together.

Like the wool trousers, every GI received two wool shirts. The phrase coat style is because it opened fully at the front unlike the "pull over" predecessors and had two breast pockets with button down flaps. The shirt came in two types - 'regular' and 'special', the only difference being the special had a gas flap behind the buttons and gussets to protect against vesicant chemicals. Some shirts also have a pair of buttons underneath the collar intended as fastenings for the gas hood. Many soldiers removed the gas flaps as they added thickness and bulk when worn with their Class A & B uniform.

Like the under shorts, each GI was issued five singlets. These too were initially white at the start of the war, but due to camouflage reasons, production was changed to olive drab cotton. Original undershirts are available  as are very good reproductions and, like the GI under shorts, the choice between original and reproduction is left to the individual's scruples.

The Coat, Wool Serge, OD is also called the "service coat". In 1939 a design was approved for procurement in 1940 that was very similar to the Army coat in use since 1926 -- an all purpose 18-ounce wool serge material coat that was intended for all uses. That is, the coat was to be worn in garrison as part of a dress uniform and then the same garment was to be used in the field. To facilitate this dual use, the 1939 design of the coat was provided with a "bi-swing back", a set of pleats that gave extended freedom of movement (photo, left). The coat was somewhat form-fitting, had a half-belt 1.5 inches wide, and had two lower bellows pockets and two breast pockets. By the beginning of 1941 the Jacket, Field OD (M41 or Parson's Jacket) was in quantity production and being issued to troops. That jacket marked a change in thinking so that functional clothing was to be used in the field, separate from barracks, garrison, or dress uniforms. As a result the Coat, Wool Serge, OD or Service Coat was no longer seen as a field coat -- in effect becoming a dress coat -- and the necessity for the pleated back came into question. It was suggested early in 1941 at the Office of the  Quartermaster General (OQMG) that the "bi-swing back" could be eliminated to improve the 
appearance of the garment and to decrease its cost of manufacture and use of scarce wool cloth material. In June 1942 the "Revised Service 
Coat" was ready for issue without the side pleats in back and with simplified lower, inside pockets that were flat instead of bellows style (since 
this was no longer a field jacket). The revised design had no belt.
The revised service coat of 1942 remained for use as a dress uniform for enlisted men around camp and on pass or furlough. It was noted that 
whenever soldiers moved from a rear area to combat zones, the wool serge coat was left behind. This led to the adoption of the Ike Jacket in 
the ETO as a wool jacket that could be used for both combat and rear area purposes. Although the OD wool Ike jacket was officially adopted in 
1944 to replace it, the service coat remained in use throughout the war and beyond, although rarely in forward areas.

According to the table of issue, every GI received five pairs of under shorts. Early in the war, they were white, but as the war progressed, and interests of camouflage, they were produced in olive drab colour. They had three buttons at the waistband and had -in lieu of elastic tie fasteners for final adjustment. While un-issued and reproduction underwear is available (and surprisingly comfortable) this is one area of authenticity we leave to the individual's conscience!

Every soldier was issued one of these trouser belts. At 1 1/4 inch width, the belt had a metal tip and an "open face" buckle, which is a design still in service today. While "Closed face buckles", akin to those worn by officers, were sold at the PX, we insist on the "open face" type, which was more typical of the type issued to the enlisted man.

On entering the service, every soldier was issued two pairs of wool or more accurately 18-ounce serge trousers. The trousers have two side seam pockets, a watch pocket on the right front waistband and two rear hip pockets. Because they are made from a lighter shade material than the service coat and, to differentiate them from the darker, later war production runs, they have earned the anachronistic term of "mustards" by collectors. The cut of the wool trousers was improved following combat experience in North Africa, the most notable being the increase of the seat by two inches and the addition of an anti-gas flap across the fly. Later runs had flaps covering the rear pocket opening and button and tab adjusters at the bottom of the leg.

There were two types of socks for the infantryman cotton and wool and every soldier was issued with three pairs of each. While original socks are available, modern military examples are acceptable and, longer lasting.

The Army approached World War II with the Type I service shoe - an ankle height, chromed, brown leather boot - with a toe cap and plain leather
sole. It quickly became clear that the service shoe soles quickly wore out and, consequently, were unlikely to withstand the punishment
of combat. The solution was the unimaginatively titled Type II service shoe, which featured a composite rubber tap (sole) and heel. In mid-1943, combat experience revealed areas for design change, resulting in the creation of the Type III service shoe. 
Anachronistically called rough-outs by collectors to describe their appearance, they were constructed with the flesh side of the leather on the 
outside of the shoe, which was easier to break in, more comfortable and, in theory, capable of absorbing dubbing and gas proofing pastes more 
easily. Unfortunately, the shoe tended to absorb water equally well. This problem would also afflict the M-1943 combat boot, which used the 
Type III as the basis of its construction.

The overcoat was a double-breasted wool garment with two slash side pockets, epaulettes and a buttoned half-belt in the back that could be 
loosened to allow the wearer greater manoeuvrability. It originally had brass buttons, but in 1942, the buttons were replaced with plastic to 
conserve materials. While it was very smart, unfortunately, it wasnt particularly effective as a combat garment, being stiff, tight fitting and 
heavy (especially when wet) while the length of the coat tended to impede movement when marching or fighting. As such, it was to be replaced 
by the layering system of the M-1943 combat uniform and consequently was relegated to use with the service uniform and formal dress. 
However, shortfalls in the production of the M-1943 combat uniform and lack of warm clothing meant that stocks of overcoats had to be 
rushed to Europe for the winter campaign.


Insignia for the Service Uniform

Each of the various arms and services of the Army of the United States has its own distinctive marks and insignia. These were worn to aid unit recognition and to breed and esprit de corps among the men. The insignia authorised for wear upon the Winter Service Coat has been defined with the following in mind

That the insignia reflect the adopted identity of the unit
That the insignia reflect the honours awarded to that unit circa June 1944
That the insignia in no way implies that the individual has engaged in combat or that the individual has awards for wounds or for valorous conduct. This third criteria is especially important as the unit feels that it would he dishonourable to veterans to wear such awards

The HAT CORD. The colour of the hat cord is used to distinguish the arm of service to which a soldier belongs. For the infantry, the colour is Sky Blue. The 'cord' is worn as piping around the Garrison Cap.

We base our displays on the soldier of the 16th Infantry Regiment before D-Day. While we wear insignia pertinent to the unit at that time unit citations, fourragare, rank insignia, etc, we do not wear awards for valour. Our only concession to authenticity is the wearing of a single regimental crest on our garrison caps as marks of recognition and respect to the men of the 16th Regiment.


Two brass discs worn upon the upper lapel of the Service Coat also serve to indicate ARM of service. One disc shows "U.S." for the regular army, the other depicts a pair of  crossed rifles to designate infantry.

Each regiment has a heraldic crest, which describes its heritage and ancestry. The 16th Infantry's crest was approved in 1926 and has a background of blue and white vair, taken from the mediaeval coat of arms for the town of Fleville, which the unit captured in WWI. The crossed arrow and bolo represents the unit's involvement in the Indian wars and suppression of the Philippine insurrection respectively. At the centre, bottom is a representation of a five bastioned fort, which the unit adopted from the badge of the Fifth Corp whilst serving under them in Cuba. The regimental crests were to be worn on the garrison cap and both lapels of the service coat; however, this peacetime 
nicety fell by the wayside, presumably to free industry and materials for more productive contributions to the war effort. At the end of hostilities, the tradition of regimental crests resumed, with German companies being used to meet initial demand. We allow one crest to be worn on the garrison cap as a mark of recognition and respect to the men we represent. This is our only permitted concession to authenticity.


Issued to military personnel on ACTIVE federal service of 12 months or longer and who
in discharge of such service served at ANY time between September 8d 1939, and December 7th 1941. Ribbon: Yellow with narrow red white and blue stripes near the edge. The ribbon is worn on the left breast, above the pocket nearest the collar

For service in WWII OUTSIDE the continental United States. Ribbon: Blue with narrow red white combination of narrow black and white stripes representing Germany, and narrow red and white stripes representing Japan. near each end. The ribbon is worn above the left breast pocket next to the American Defence Service Medal.

The European-African-Middle Eastern (EAME) Campaign Medal was awarded to 
personnel for service within the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater between 7 
December 1941 and 8 November 1945 under any of the following conditions:

(1) On permanent assignment.
(2) In a passenger status or on temporary duty for 30 consecutive days or 60 days 
not consecutive.
(3) In active combat against the enemy and was awarded a combat decoration or 
furnished a certificate by the commanding general of a corps, higher unit, or an
an independent force that he actually participated in combat.


This represents the citation awarded to both the 1st and 2nd Battalions for the Sicily campaign of July/August 1943. The device is a blue ribbon set in a gold coloured metal frame of laurel leaves. It is worn above the right breast pocket centred over the flap button.


This was awarded to the regiment by the French government for its service during World War One. All members of the regiment are authorised to wear it looped upon the left shoulder, as per regulation. It consists of a single cord, braided and knotted, of dark green and scarlet threads terminated at the shoulder end with a buttonhole and at the free end by a ferret of metal.


This is the Divisional Patch, Located on the upper part of the outer half of the left sleeve of the service coat. It was also authorised to be worn on the overcoat and field jacket. The top of the patch was to be 1/2 inch below the top of the shoulder seam.

Click patch to see WW2 Patches


Issued as a Result of qualification in weapons designated as the principal arm. The weapon is indicated by a bar attached below the badge. The badge is attached to the left breast pocket flap, above and centred upon the button. It is worn centred between the left edge of the pocket flap and the button if worn in combination with the drivers' badge.Rifle, Machinegun, B.A.R, Pistol, Grenade, Carbine, Bayonet, Flamethrower

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