U.S. Army Mountain Tent
Red Cross woman feeds donuts to 10th Mountain Division soldier, with Mountain Tent rolled under his arm. Naples, Italy, December 1944, as the 10th arrived in Italy for combat.
Today in WW II: 21 Jan 1942 Rommel's second offensive drives the British 8th Army back almost 300 miles, halting on 4 Feb between Gazala and Bir Hacheim, 30 miles west of Tobruk, Libya.
Two Man Mountain Tent
Two Man Mountain Tent, World War II photo.
In 1942, the Army started development of a two man tent for use in cold weather conditions, typical of winter and mountain operations. A one piece design was favored, based on advice from mountaineers and field tests, to eliminate problems with zippers, buttons, and snaps that could not eliminate drafts and stand up to strong winds. It could also be larger for the same materials. The complete specification was for a tent that would:
- Weigh not more than five pounds
- Provide complete protection in driving rain or blizzard at any temperature with wind velocity up to 75 mph
- Hold two men normally and three in an emergency
- Provide adequate ventilation in calm or storm
- Provide a protected cooking space in open snow or ground
The "Tent, Mountain, Two Man" that resulted from this specification and a series of preliminary designs was made of balloon cloth, white on one side and olive drab on the other, reversible for camouflage under varying conditions. Four light, strong jointed poles were used in two collapsible sets, for front and back. The poles passed through sleeves along the sloping edges of the tent, meeting at the top to form an inverted V-shape. Guy ropes at front and rear, with additional side ropes in severe conditions, made the tent stable in high winds.
The Mountain Tent had a sewn in floor for protection from dampness, a tunnel entrance, and two "snorkle" ventilation tubes, front and rear. The entrance and vent tubes had insect netting for protection in warmer weather and could be closed off with tie strings when very cold.
The tent fabric was impermeable, so the ventilators had to be kept open most of the time, especially if cooking with the liquid fuel Mountain Stove. The ventilators could be adjusted from fully open to nearly closed.
The most recent technical manual for this tent is TM 10-8340-221-13, "OPERATOR'S, ORGANIZATIONAL AND DIRECT SUPPORT MAINTENANCE MANUAL FOR TENT, SHELTER-HALF AND TENT, MOUNTAIN, TWO-MAN (REPRINTED W/BASIC INCL C1-2)" dated 7 September 1972.
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