Exhibiting three styles of WW II officer's uniforms: (left to right) Major General David G. Barr, G-1 of Army Ground Forces, Brigadier General Henry Barlow Cheadle, CG, 10th Armored Division, and Colonel Basil G. Thayer, Deputy Divisional Commander, 10th Armored, Newport News, VA, 13 October 1945.
Today in WW II: 27 Nov 1942 Operation Lila: German Army units reach Toulon, on the Mediterranean coast, to capture the Vichy French fleet based there. More↓
Many items of officer's clothing were basically the same as used by enlisted men, but often were made of better material and may have a quality lining while the EM version was unlined. Officers bought their own clothing and would have items specially tailored to the regulation pattern but with a better fit and some personal "improvements". Individualistic (and wealthy) commanders like Patton or MacArthur were known for their vanity in this regard. Another popular variation was the wearing of Air Corps leather flying jackets by ground forces officers. General officers had specially tailored uniforms with distinctions of their rank.
Officer's Service Uniform
The winter service dress coat for an officer is made of higher grade material than the EM "Coat, Wool Serge, OD", the Service Coat. Typically the wool blend of an officer's coat is elastique as is the officers Service Cap.
Several colors were in use. The green olive drab Army Service Coat, when worn with the rose shade wool slacks, were called the "Pinks and Greens" the combination used for dress (center officer, top photo). Other trousers could be worn, in a color matching the coat, for a full green olive drab winter uniform (left officer, top photo).
A second Service Coat color was darker, still olive drab but with a chocolate shade of brown. With matching trousers this was the brown olive drab winter officer's uniform.
In 1944, the "Jacket, Field, Wool" (Ike Jacket) was authorized in the ETO. Officers began to wear this jacket, usually tailor made, instead of the Service Coat, with both "pinks" and with trousers of a matching dark OD shade (right officer, top photo).
In summer or tropical locations, the officer's uniform was khaki cotton with a khaki Service Coat or khaki shirt and trousers, as weather and the unit commander would dictate. A matching khaki Service Cap or Garrison Cap completed the summer uniform.
The officer's web trouser belt had a solid face buckle, distinguished from the open faced EM buckle.
U.S. Army World War II Officer's Shirts
Two officers of the 86th Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, 8 August 1945.
As with the service uniform, officer's shirts were tailor made. A "pink" or chocolate OD shirt could be worn with the winter uniform, along with a matching tie of either color. A khaki shirt, as noted above, went with the summer uniform, with a khaki tie.
The M-1921 or "Sam Browne" officer's belt, worn over the uniform, required shoulder loops on officer's shirts, to retain to strap on the shoulder. Even though the Sam Browne belt was no longer used, the shoulder loops became a distinction of officer's shirts in 1924 and continued until 1946.
Officer's wore their shirts without the Service Coat in warmer weather or in the field as the situation called for.
U.S. Army World War II Officer's Outerwear
Special overcoats were made for officers as well as trench coats and rain coats. As with other items of the uniform, the overcoat was usually privately procured by the officer in a fabric and detailing of his own choosing. Both short and long models of overcoat were used, but the "Overcoat, Short, Officers M-1943" became the standard in the last years of the war.
Officer's Field Uniform
In the field, the officer's uniform differed little from the enlisted man and consisted of the olive drab wool winter or khaki cotton summer trousers and shirt with field jacket or overcoat as an outer layer. This was a practical matter -- don't draw fire to an officer -- and also a matter of morale and good leadership. As the war went on, many officers dropped distinctions they were entitled to, preferring to work and dress closely with their men. Rank was indicated with collar insignia, cap devices, or in some cases were painted on the M-1 helmet. Officers generally did not wear the HBT fatigue uniform.
U.S. Army Officer's Dress Uniforms
Under wartime conditions, dress uniforms were not required after 1941 in the U.S. Army. However, many officers did own them and upon formal occasions they were worn. Of course there more social events outside the war zones and among higher ranking officers.
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