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For any Living History or Reenactment group, this can be a sticky question.  To simplify it, we have published a UNIFORM & EQUIPMENT GUIDE that you can download.   This will answer many of your basic questions about what we will and will not accept.  The short version is:  If it’s not WWII G.I., it won’t fly.   There are a few exceptions, but M65 field jackets, black combat boots, M16 rifles and shoulder length hair will not meet our standards.


Download the “UNIFORM & EQUIPMENT GUIDE” by clicking “START

This will download as an Adobe .PDF file that you can print and assemble into a booklet.


The following is a summary of how to get started – but if in doubt, ask!   There are

many uniform variations NOT covered on this page that may be acceptable.




GETTING STARTED:             As a newcomer into reenacting or living history, one of the biggest challenges is getting a proper uniform.  When this hobby got started 30 years ago, WWII uniforms were both cheap and plentiful, but those days are fading fast.  (My wife’s comment at this point is that they are really expensive, and you’d better either get permission in advance or buy flowers when she sees the bill.)   These days, there are still original uniforms out there, but they can be expensive, and are collectables, going up in price every year.   E-Bay is a great source, but the prices are retail.  Compare prices there, and buy at Goodwill, surplus stores, gun shows and antique stores when you can.   If you are a larger size, you may have to buy reproduction items to get the clothing to fit you.


WHAT TO BUY:                 Let’s start with the basics, because that’s the best place to start.  No matter what unit you decide to get involved with, some pieces are common to every U.S. Army unit, and these are the items you should look for first.


http://www.wwiiimpressions.com/images/woolshirt.JPG1)      Wool Shirt:                 Two basic styles were used in WWII, and they look almost identical.  Look for a mustard-green colored wool shirt that buttons up the front and has two patch pockets on the front.  These shirts are sized like a modern dress shirt, with a neck and sleeve size (15x33).  With original shirts, try the shirt on, as these may have shrunk in size if it was washed in the washer & dryer.   It is well worth your time and money to buy the best quality you can afford here, as this shirt can also work with your Class A (dress) uniform.  (Once you own one – dry clean or Dryell.  Do NOT wash in washer and dryer).  Acceptable items include WWII originals and reproductions from What Price Glory, WWII Impressions and At The Front.


http://www.wwiiimpressions.com/images/wooltrousers.JPG2)      Wool Trousers: The trousers to buy are a heavy weight wool that does NOT match the shirt.  They are a little more mustard in color, with a watch pocket in front, button closure on one back pocket, and a button fly.  These usually have white cotton pockets and waistband.  These are sized with a waist and inseam, and it is encouraged that you try them on for size, as they can be both shrunk and altered.  Buy the best quality you can afford here, as these trousers can also work with your Class A (dress) uniform.   There is another color that closely matches the IKE jacket – these should be reserved ONLY for dress use – not for dual purpose wear.  Once again – do not wash and dry – dry clean or Dryell only.   Acceptable items include WWII originals and reproductions from What Price Glory, WWII Impressions and At The Front.


3)      Web Belt:                    While not a big item, the right web belt is worth your time and money.   A WWII belt should be a light olive drab color (LOD) with a blackened bronze open-faced buckle.  You can see both the belt color and buckle in the above photo.  A pristine original may be marked with a length, a date and a “U.S.” stamp.  Acceptable items include WWII originals and reproductions from What Price Glory, WWII Impressions and At The Front.



4)      Boots/Shoes:              Here’s where your impression can vary, but our recommendation is that you buy a basic U.S. service shoe.   There are a couple of variations, but this was the basic shoe worn by almost all G.I.’s in WWII.  This will work in the field, with your Class A uniform, with summer uniforms and almost every combination.  They will NOT work with US Leggings, Dismounted, M1938paratroop uniforms (except glider troops).  Until you get more advanced, do NOT buy the roughout version (they look like suede on the outside) – these are only worn in combat.  Options to consider include Mountain Boots  and Two-Buckle Boots (see below).   Acceptable items include WWII originals and reproductions from What Price Glory, WWII Impressions,  and At The Front.


5)      Leggings:          The canvas leggings are in the same LOD color as the belt, and fit over the service shoe and trousers, lacing up the outside of the leg.  These are only worn with the combat uniform, but can be worn with both the summer and winter uniforms.  These come in sizes, so try them on before you buy, or ask for help.  Acceptable items include WWII originals and reproductions from What Price Glory, WWII Impressions and At The Front.


6)      Helmet:              The basic U.S. Army helmet is a helmet and liner assembly.  The shell is steel and the liner is made of fiberglass with web suspension.   There were two basic helmets used in WWII that you may want to buy – the early fixed-bale helmet and the later swivel-bale helmet.  To learn about the variations of helmets and liners, we encourage you to visit Top Pots to learn more.  Unless you are planning to develop an Airborne impression, we encourage you to get a front-seam, fixed bale M1 helmet with sewn-on straps.  The post-war helmets look very similar, but the WWII version IS different.  Also look at the liner – get the liner with the center webbing forming a loop in the center.   Acceptable items include WWII originals only.


The above items will get your basic uniform.   There are variations you may want to consider, and we will gladly assist you in making a decision.   Some of these options our listed in our uniform guide.  To see a list of uniform suppliers, visit our OUTSIDE RESOURCES page.


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Contact us at INFO@TenthMountain.org                                  Last updated:  4/16/2015                                Copyright © 2015 All Rights Reserved 


Our thanks to all of our sponsors, especially the Tenth Mountain Division Foundation, Inc. and the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division, Inc.


Select photos used courtesy of Denver Public Library