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1970S U.S tank crew uniform help please
Richard50
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Posted: Saturday, October 03, 2020 - 05:43 AM UTC
Hi Guys.
Hope we are all keeping well.Im looking for some pointers on the uniforms that u.s tank crews wore in the 1970s.Im particularly looking for winter uniforms as worn in 70s in Germany during the 70s.Any book recommendations etc are very welcome.
Many thanks from Richard
Kevlar06
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Posted: Saturday, October 03, 2020 - 07:13 AM UTC
Hmmm...big question with many answers. I can’t recommend any books for that particular timeframe— maybe Osprey has one? But as an Armor Officer serving in Germany in the 70s, I can tell you what we wore— the same basic uniform as everyone else. In the vehicle, tankers coveralls were common, these were a basic green one-piece coverall—step in and button down the front— the same worn by mechanics, always worn over the fatigue uniform. There was a cold weather variation that was heavier, a darker green with a zipper down the front. There were other items that could be found, but not necessarily particular only to tankers:

CVC helmets
Over-the-shoulder holsters for the .45
Tanker Jackets (Mostly found in CAV units)— locally made from shelter halves Tanker Boots (non-standard issue locally made or made to order)

Most armored units issued “Tank Crew Qualification“ patches that were displayed on the right pocket of the field jacket or tankers jacket for crews who had successfully gone through qualifications. And of course the unit and combat patches could be found on the shoulders. Ranks were displayed in black (or brown for Majors and 2LTs) on the collars and cap/beret/helmet cover either “pin-on” or “sew on” types. (I have a funny story about that). Sew on tapes displaying “US ARMY” above the left jacket/uniform upper pocket and the individuals name above the right— not necessarily found on coveralls or wet weather gear.

Because they were locally made, a tankers jacket could vary in detail, but they were basically a short waisted cut with a slanted hand pocket on either side (think of a windbreaker) with no collar or a soft flex collar that zipped all the way up to the neck. The waist was usually a soft flex “stretch” type. They were commonly lined with a camouflage poncho liner, or the liner for the cold weather jacket. For winter, many troops also modified ponchos and shelter halves into a longer waterproof coat, or used their issued -wet weather gear.

For the most part, armored units were issued the same cold weather and warm weather gear as the rest of the US Army, along with the same green Fatigue Uniform, Black boots and Field Jacket. Some units (like the 11th ACR) wore black berets, but that was non-standard for the rest of the army (except ranger and SF units). In the latter years of Vietnam, Stetson hats became popular for many Air Cav units.

I had a tankers jacket that I wore primarily in garrison, or sometime in the field if I was riding in a 1/4 ton as in doing an evaluation or acting as an umpire. I wore my coveralls in the tank over my fatigue uniform. If it was wet/cold, I’d wear my specially made “poncho-jacket”- a long jacket I had made by the base tailor out of my issue poncho that resembled a field jacket without the pockets, lined with a blanket, and had buttons around the collar for attaching the “cold weather hood”— this was a hood for the issue extra long cold weather parka, which had a fur fringe. Uniforms varied a lot more in the winter than in the summer, when most of us wore just the coveralls, sleeves rolled up or rolled down depending on conditions. Usually, sleeves rolled was a unit directive.

All the “tailor made gear” was optionally purchased and made by the base tailor, or available through the “US Cavalry Store” in Kentucky ( right outside Fort Knox) via mail order. Tankers boots were commonly purchased that way, but, some base tailors were also “boot repair” outlets, and could modify boots to suit. A tankers boot used a zipper or flap rather than laces, and could vary to individual taste. Some had a flap with a long securing strap to wrap around the ankle. I had a simple zipper installed in my service boots on the outside on an angle. I also had Vibram soles added— heavy lugged for traction. The common issue boot was black leather lace up with a flat leather sole and rubber heel. It was lousy for winter traction.

I was in the 11th ACR from 1976-1980, but went through basic trading and saw variations of most of the stuff above from 1974 onward. By 1980, a lot of this “optional” stuff was being suppressed in Germany, and it was all gone by 1983 with the exception maybe of the cold weather gear. Hope this helps a bit.

It might help if you had a specific unit and weather condition in mind.
VR, Russ
stikpusher
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Posted: Saturday, October 03, 2020 - 09:42 AM UTC
The above post covers it pretty thoroughly. Especially the custom made non issue “unauthorized but worn” gear. Basic uniform issued was the olive green permanent press fatigues. Field jackets and pants were also standard issue. Black leather gloves with separate knit wool liners were another piece of basic issue. A couple other cold weather issue items were the wool field shirt and split tail parka with a button on synthetic fur hood. A synthetic fabric pile cap was another cold weather gear issue item, as were insulated black rubber “Mickey Mouse” boots. Wet weather gear was an olive green poly vinyl two piece rain suit, as well as black rubber galoshes with a metal buckles. The CVC helmet type transitioned during the 70’s from the larger “bone dome” type to the smaller profile type seen today.

Uniforms Illustrated No. 6, NATO Uniforms Today has photos of most of these items from the later portion of the 70’s on.

US Army Uniforms of the Cold War 1948-1973 by Shelby Stanton would cover the older items to be seen.
Garrand
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Posted: Saturday, October 03, 2020 - 01:55 PM UTC
As an aside, I have a pile of kits I could really use some figures for from this era. I can only use the Tamiya M48A3 driver & Bradley/M1 tank commander figures so much before things start getting too redundant.

Another aside: what year did the Bone Dome start to dissappear & the newer lighter CVC start to be introduced? I need to start crewing my Takom M60A1 in MASSTR.

Damon.
TopSmith
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Posted: Saturday, October 03, 2020 - 03:53 PM UTC
I remember the crappy polyester no wrinkle fatigues. Being low rank at the time, I had none of the fancy gear. We did get issued a cold weather parka, and the cold weather boots. Rain gear was the rubber rain coat and pants. I wore the parka and rainpants when we were in the field in the winter. If I was driving the tank, I wore the poncho on top of the parka trying to keep the wind off of me. I remember putting a piece of carpet in the drivers compartment to keep my boot seperated from the cold hull. The hull would pull the heat out of your boot.
Scarred
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Posted: Saturday, October 03, 2020 - 05:22 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I remember the crappy polyester no wrinkle fatigues. Being low rank at the time, I had none of the fancy gear. We did get issued a cold weather parka, and the cold weather boots. Rain gear was the rubber rain coat and pants. I wore the parka and rainpants when we were in the field in the winter. If I was driving the tank, I wore the poncho on top of the parka trying to keep the wind off of me. I remember putting a piece of carpet in the drivers compartment to keep my boot seperated from the cold hull. The hull would pull the heat out of your boot.



I had the good old Army issue rain gear. They were fielding the goretex rain jacket but clothing and sales were always out and officers got first dibs. So I took my rain gear to the tailor shop on base and had a parka liner and cold weather pants liner sewn in them. Made all the difference in the world. When the other guys saw them they had some made for themselves. A heck of a lot cheaper and warmer than the goretex.
stikpusher
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Posted: Saturday, October 03, 2020 - 06:10 PM UTC

Quoted Text

As an aside, I have a pile of kits I could really use some figures for from this era. I can only use the Tamiya M48A3 driver & Bradley/M1 tank commander figures so much before things start getting too redundant.

Another aside: what year did the Bone Dome start to dissappear & the newer lighter CVC start to be introduced? I need to start crewing my Takom M60A1 in MASSTR.

Damon.



If you’re doing a MASSTR scheme, the safe bet is a bone dome. I have yet to come across a photo of the later CVC in use with a MASSTR scheme AFV.
Valkyrie makes a tank crew set that would work for that crew, item 35017.
Richard50
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Posted: Saturday, October 03, 2020 - 08:54 PM UTC
Hi Guys
Many thanks for your information on my question.Really great of you to respond.Im into the m60 tanks and planning doing a 1.35th M60a1 on Exercise in Winter around 1977-1979.Probably green with a whitewash pattern over the top.Will try and get the books mentioned and get some of the Tankograd series on Exersises in 70s in Germany.
Thanks all and much appreciated.
Kind regards from Richard
marcb
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Posted: Sunday, October 04, 2020 - 03:14 AM UTC
This set might work:
http://www.valkyrie.co.kr/
Kevlar06
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Posted: Sunday, October 04, 2020 - 03:52 AM UTC

Quoted Text

This set might work:
http://www.valkyrie.co.kr/



The VF35017 set would work, although the “bone domes” would have been gone by 77-79, I never saw one after 77. If you look closely though, it looks like they do come with alternate CVC heads. These figures have the heavy field pants” with the pocket on the upper leg. We preferred coveralls, but field pants were also seen— these were worn over the fatigue pants, and held up with suspenders. So your plan of depicting your M60 in the winter will work with these figures. I spent 76-80 in Germany, and I don’t think I ever saw an M60A1 in winter white wash though. I suppose they might have had it elsewhere, but there were really no large exercises done in the snow when I was there, although small exercises and alerts were the norm. We certainly didn’t apply it to our vehicles. We did repaint from summer to winter verdant MERDC camouflage though, as did most units, if they could get the paint.
VR, Russ
marcb
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Posted: Sunday, October 04, 2020 - 04:17 AM UTC
They also do a "1980's" set.
Hornet makes separate heads with cvc helmets.
http://www.hornetandwolf.com/
TankCarl
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Posted: Sunday, October 04, 2020 - 08:44 AM UTC
Damon, what I wore,
The bone dome, was replaced in my unit around June of 1975, and we got the Cvcc with the individual ear flap/headphones.In the summer, we would wear the permanent press fatigues, OD color.

In garrison, we wore the baseball cap, in the field most always the steel pot, or CVCC when on the vehicle.I would also wear the cotton mechanic's coverall,(Tanks were dirty).In the winter, going to the ranges, we would often wear the OD green wool shirt, and field pants, with the side leg cargo pockets. These had a button in liner for those cold winters. Over this I would wear the standard Field jacket, and the liner in it as needed, and the button on fur lined hood.
Kevlar06
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Posted: Sunday, October 04, 2020 - 11:38 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Damon, what I wore,
The bone dome, was replaced in my unit around June of 1975, and we got the Cvcc with the individual ear flap/headphones.





I agree with Carl. I wore the “bone dome” at Fort Lewis in 74 and 75 and at Fort Knox in 76, other than that I never saw another one in Germany. I think they’d all been withdrawn by 77.
VR, Russ
Richard50
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Posted: Monday, October 05, 2020 - 03:49 AM UTC
Hi Russ.
I seem to recall i saw an article in Abrams squad model magazine which got me interested,Think the guy built an M60a1 RISE PASSIVE tank and it was green and had swathes of white on it in a random fashion.Will look for the book and im sure it was supposed to be winter 1979 Eternal guardian exercise or something like that.I can send you the picture or maybe the guy is using artistic licence.
cheers now from Richard.
thathaway3
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Posted: Monday, October 05, 2020 - 04:11 AM UTC
One of my pet peeves! It's not just tanker uniforms, but the availability of US Army soldiers in "Cold War" uniforms, summer or winter in 1/35 scale is virtually non-existent.

You can get Vietnam war uniforms and there are quite a few kits with various soldiers, infantry mostly, in the uniforms that came out in the early 80's when the BDUs and Kevlar helmet replaced the fatigues and steel pot.

BUT what are you supposed to use if you want to make a diorama either summer or winter, of US soldiers in Germany, during the period of say 1961-1980 or so?

Sure it's wasn't a "shooting" war, but that's an entire generation of US soldier uniforms not represented. (Unless you count the 2-3 figures in the Tamiya M-577)
Kevlar06
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Posted: Monday, October 05, 2020 - 04:16 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Hi Russ.
I seem to recall i saw an article in Abrams squad model magazine which got me interested,Think the guy built an M60a1 RISE PASSIVE tank and it was green and had swathes of white on it in a random fashion.Will look for the book and im sure it was supposed to be winter 1979 Eternal guardian exercise or something like that.I can send you the picture or maybe the guy is using artistic licence.
cheers now from Richard.



PM sent.
VR, Russ
marcb
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Posted: Monday, October 05, 2020 - 04:47 AM UTC
A little earlier, but usefull:
https://www.mn-modelar.cz/1-35-us-tank-commander-koera-winter-1950-51/
stikpusher
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Posted: Monday, October 05, 2020 - 05:36 AM UTC

Quoted Text

One of my pet peeves! It's not just tanker uniforms, but the availability of US Army soldiers in "Cold War" uniforms, summer or winter in 1/35 scale is virtually non-existent.

You can get Vietnam war uniforms and there are quite a few kits with various soldiers, infantry mostly, in the uniforms that came out in the early 80's when the BDUs and Kevlar helmet replaced the fatigues and steel pot.

BUT what are you supposed to use if you want to make a diorama either summer or winter, of US soldiers in Germany, during the period of say 1961-1980 or so?

Sure it's wasn't a "shooting" war, but that's an entire generation of US soldier uniforms not represented. (Unless you count the 2-3 figures in the Tamiya M-577)



Don’t forget the 4.2 mortar crew from the Tamiya M106 track, and the driver for the M151 in the 70’s era ERDL cammies. But the pickings are slim indeed. Since Miniart is now doing a few early and mid Cold War era Soviet tank crews, perhaps they will grace us with a few NATO counterpart sets as well... I know wishful thinking...
BootsDMS
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Posted: Monday, October 05, 2020 - 05:58 AM UTC
Richard,

Sadly, we've been around this particular buoy many times - ie the lament for the lack of figures for this period.

The only answer is to modify models yourself - depending on the pose of course - using Hornet Heads (which help immensely) and Milliput or similar. Depending on your base figures eg the US Mortar Crew just mentioned, or say, the US Command Set (both Tamiya) be prepared for a fair bit of sanding; however even I with my usual ham-fistedness (and now incipient arthritis) can manage, with Milliput, in modifying tunic lengths and replacing rolled up sleeves and the like.

Figures in coveralls ie for actual AFV crews - are easier to modify after all, a coverall is a coverall; you might find, if you wish to try and convert, something like the Tamiya German Ammo Loading set relatively easy to adapt, or the ever-useful Dragon LAH at Kursk figures.

Until the manufacturers spark, and to their great credit, Valkyrie produce some outstanding figures, but they seem to be the only ones, the answer is to modify and convert.

Brian
stikpusher
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Posted: Thursday, October 08, 2020 - 07:04 AM UTC

Quoted Text

As an aside, I have a pile of kits I could really use some figures for from this era. I can only use the Tamiya M48A3 driver & Bradley/M1 tank commander figures so much before things start getting too redundant.

Another aside: what year did the Bone Dome start to dissappear & the newer lighter CVC start to be introduced? I need to start crewing my Takom M60A1 in MASSTR.

Damon.



I guess that the two piece CVC helmet and MASSTR camo scheme did see service together. I found these nice photos. Interesting that the loader is wearing LBE over his fatigues...



Kevlar06
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Posted: Thursday, October 08, 2020 - 07:31 AM UTC
Good photos! Wearing LBE over the Fatigue uniform or coveralls was common. And, you’d also commonly see LBE draped over the commanders and loaders hatch covers when not expecting contact. LBE was to be worn off the tank, and the hatches were a great place to “park it”. The MASSTR and MERDC schemes lasted through the late 70s, depending on what unit or Corps you were in. V Corps units had mostly adopted MERDC by the late 70s.
VR
Russ
stikpusher
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Posted: Thursday, October 08, 2020 - 10:03 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Good photos! Wearing LBE over the Fatigue uniform or coveralls was common. And, you’d also commonly see LBE draped over the commanders and loaders hatch covers when not expecting contact. LBE was to be worn off the tank, and the hatches were a great place to “park it”. The MASSTR and MERDC schemes lasted through the late 70s, depending on what unit or Corps you were in. V Corps units had mostly adopted MERDC by the late 70s.
VR
Russ



I just figured that the LBE would snag on stuff inside the tank and would therefor be stowed somewhere. I was Mech Infantry in the 80’s for awhile, and in that case the M113 TC and driver would usually not wear their LBE in the vehicle. Of course the squad in back did wear their LBE while riding. No LBE on hatches, but it was fairly common to see a man pack PRC-77 on the TC hatch to allow for another radio net besides whatever radio setup the track may have had: 46, 47, or 160. It’s been awhile...
I seem to remember the tankers that I saw just wearing their pro mask carriers and shoulder holsters. But usually when we were in the field on field exercise it was MOPP 2 from the SP time out of the motor pool until we hit the wash rack coming back in.

Now some figures in MOPP 2 and 4...
Kevlar06
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Posted: Thursday, October 08, 2020 - 02:41 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Good photos! Wearing LBE over the Fatigue uniform or coveralls was common. And, you’d also commonly see LBE draped over the commanders and loaders hatch covers when not expecting contact. LBE was to be worn off the tank, and the hatches were a great place to “park it”. The MASSTR and MERDC schemes lasted through the late 70s, depending on what unit or Corps you were in. V Corps units had mostly adopted MERDC by the late 70s.
VR
Russ



I just figured that the LBE would snag on stuff inside the tank and would therefor be stowed somewhere. I was Mech Infantry in the 80’s for awhile, and in that case the M113 TC and driver would usually not wear their LBE in the vehicle. Of course the squad in back did wear their LBE while riding. No LBE on hatches, but it was fairly common to see a man pack PRC-77 on the TC hatch to allow for another radio net besides whatever radio setup the track may have had: 46, 47, or 160. It’s been awhile...
I seem to remember the tankers that I saw just wearing their pro mask carriers and shoulder holsters. But usually when we were in the field on field exercise it was MOPP 2 from the SP time out of the motor pool until we hit the wash rack coming back in.

Now some figures in MOPP 2 and 4...



Your assessment is about right regarding LBE. I’d say the photo might be a bit staged, but on some occasions, we did wear the LBE inside the tank, but not often. I have a funny story regarding that. One wet day in Wildflecken in1977, I took off my LBE, and hung it over the binocular case mounted on the turret wall at the commanders right knee. We were negotiating some rough terrain, and I was rotating the turret to keep the gun out of the dirt when my gunner grabbed me by the left leg and started shaking it wildly, at the same time hollering for the driver to “stop stop!!!“. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, but when I looked down, I saw the canvas binocular case strap had come undone in the wet, dropping my LBE to the turret floor, and toppling the binos into the space between the capstan drive and turret ring, very effectively folding the plastic case in half, while turning the binos into two telescopes. I had to pay for them in the report of survey, which was $248. At the time, I only made $638 a month. When I graduated to a CAV Platoon in the fall of 1977, I was assigned a Sheridan and a “command” M113. I had one push button VRC12 radio, and a VRC47 with an aux, but I also used our platoon PRC77 on the back of my hatch just as you explained. I could monitor my platoon, the Troop net, and the Squadron Command net all at the same time. For that single reason, I had a very successful Platoon. My boss never figured out how I knew what orders were coming down from Squadron at the same time he did. Until the day he looked in my track. He was astonished to see I had as many radios as he had in his Jeep. I was ordered to give one up, so I stopped carrying the PRC 77 on the hatch— transferring it to my Sheridan. I had a good commo guy who kept me hooked up to all the important nets, in exchange for boxes of Oberto Beef Jerky and Peperoni my parents sent me by the case— my Dad knew the owner of the company back in Seattle, I’d get “care packages” every six weeks or so. I could never eat it all anyway— they were huge surplus bags of ends cut from the sellable packaged items— but it was great trading material. But I digress. One thing we never took off was the shoulder holster and .45. That stayed on your body at all times.
VR, Russ
Removed by original poster on 10/09/20 - 08:00:53 (GMT).