Olive-Drab.com Military HQ
What's New? | Olive-Drab Directory | Adv Search  
  Home >> Militaria >> Clothing & Gear >> WW II >> HBT Coveralls

Vehicles Weapons History Uniforms/Gear Rations War Dogs Photos/Video Info/Intel FAQ Store Facebook/Blogs

Loading...
Military Theme
T-Shirts & Stuff
Visit Olive-Drab.com's sister site for
over 8,000 free military vehicle photos!

WW II HBT Coveralls

Suit, One Piece, HBT, 1942
Suit, One Piece, HBT, 1942.

Today in WW II: 24 Apr 1945 Retreating German troops in Italy destroy all the bridges over the Adige in Verona, including the historical Ponte di Castelvecchio and Ponte Pietra.   

Field or Combat Uniforms: World War II Herringbone Twill (HBT) Coveralls

Tank crew standing in front of an M-4 tank, Ft. Knox, KY, June 1942
Tank crew standing in front of an M-4 tank, Ft. Knox, KY, June 1942.

The one piece coverall was part of the Army clothing inventory throughout the war. Originally issued only to mechanics and armor crews (such as the tank crew in the photo), the comfortable and inexpensive garment was later used by truck drivers, signal corps linemen, and also for general infantry use, especially the jungle version for troops in the Pacific. There were two main types issued to the Army before and during World War II.

  • Suit, Working, One Piece, HBT 1938
  • Suit, One Piece, HBT OD Special 1943

In addition, there were WAC coveralls, in its own section below. An Army camouflage One Piece HBT suit is discussed on the Camouflage Uniforms page, a suit similar to a suit used by the USMC in World War II.

Suit, Working, One Piece, HBT 1938

The one-piece herringbone-twill work suit was initially only issued to mechanics and to personnel of the Armored Forces. It was designed with a bi-swing back, a belt, two breast pockets, two patch hip pockets, a watch pocket and one leg pocket. Other than the mechanics and armored personnel, all other enlisted men received a two piece work suit (fatigues), also of herringbone-twill.

The right-hand breast pocket has a buttonless flap, a distinguishing feature of the 1938 Model I pattern. The suit is opened and closed by one zipper. The two back hip pockets are patch style, open without a flap cover. There is a buttoned passthrough on one hip pocket.

The suit was popular due to its comfort and its resistence to dirt. Usage revealed numerous faults however, such as a tendency to shrink badly when first washed, and also the need to practically disrobe to urinate. Tank crews objected to the metal buttons which became too hot in summer inside a tank.

This suit was altered with a new spec issued in April 1942.

Suit, One Piece, HBT OD Special M1943

Improvements in the design of one-piece HBT suits were discussed within the OQMG during 1942 and 1943. After a February 1943 conference at the Philadelphia Depot, the design emerged changed in many respects. Because of the complaints about burns from hot metal buttons, the placement of buttons was changed so no metal touched the wearer's skin. Other changes: provide a single breast pocket with a pencil slot, eliminate the button and buttonhole from the hip pocket, adding a rule pocket to the right leg, changing the leg closure to a small tab, and substituting a plain back for the bi-swing back.

The final design was called "Suit, One-Piece, HBT, OD7, Special" incorporating all the design improvements plus flaps to protect from gas infiltration (hence the "special" designation). The specification was PQD No. 92F, dated 23 May 1944. The color was the newer OD #7, the dark shade of late war items. This HBT worksuit was one of the most versatile clothing items of WWII, widely used in a variety of roles throught the American armed forces. The suit was used by mechanics, linemen and infantry personnel alike.

The top front left pocket comes with a flap and a button, absent on the right side, This is a unique characteristic of the third pattern suit. The wide cotton waist belt has an OD plastic buckle.

WAC Coveralls

WAC Wearing Coveralls

During 1942-1943, the work uniform for enlisted women assigned as mechanics or as chauffeurs, bus, or truck drivers was a one-piece coverall made of cotton jean cloth in the khaki shade. This uniform was worn by WAC officers only during unusual circumstances. The one piece garment was replaced in 1943 by a two piece outfit.

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

For good results, try entering this: army coveralls war ii. Then click the Search button.

Find at Amazon:  Military Issue equipment, clothing, boots, MREs, MOLLE gear and much more.

  Home >> Militaria >> Clothing & Gear >> WW II >> HBT Coveralls What's New? | Olive-Drab Directory | Adv Search