The history of the ‘smock’ in military usage goes back to the Second World War when they became famously associated with the German Fallschirmjaeger, the British and Allied Airborne Forces and the British Special Air Service.
WWII-era British Airborne Force ‘Denison Smock’, from the Imperial War Museum’s collection. © IWM (UNI 11787)
Continuing to be inherently associated with Airborne and Special Forces in the UK, Commonwealth and Western European countries, the ‘old skool’ style smock reached what was perhaps the pinnacle of its design with the famous ‘Kit Karry Smock’ from Special Air-Sea Services in the UK (see below). However, since the start of the Global War On Terror, the kit used, carried and worn by Special Forces (and even regular grunts) has undergone a remarkable transformation – so much so that many people felt that the smock no longer had a place in the modern kit list of combat shirts and body armour / plate carriers…
But, as is so often the case, units are (re)discovering that some of the old ways were in fact the best ways. Such is the case with the new Striker Stealth Smock from UF PRO®. UF PRO® learned from working with European Pathfinder and other Special Units that there are occasions when you simply want to or need to travel light, and that there are also times when a combat shirt under a plate carrier simply doesn’t provide enough warmth or weather protection, and that you also sometimes want to carry secondary or sustainment items in your backpack but keep all of your essential items’ within reach of your hands…
After reviewing the current needs with a German special unit, it became clear to UF PRO® that the classic smock design couldn’t meet the desired criteria – so they would have to reinvent it, and the result is the Striker Stealth Smock.
So by now you might have already seen the news that the US Navy is ditching their ridiculous camouflage duty uniform – known officially as “Navy Working Uniform Type I” (NWU-I), but nicknamed ‘Blueberry’ because of its camo pattern.
While this could certainly be considered good news, and a step in the right direction, at first glance…. The end result actually makes even less sense. For all of its faults, the NWU Type I duty uniform at least had one thing going for it – with its coloration it was pretty obvious that it was a ‘Navy’ uniform (all those blue and grey colors).
Now the Navy brass have decided that since the ‘Blueberry’ uniform was unpopular, all sailors should instead wear the jungle/woodland environment NWU Type III uniform in AOR2 digi-cam – a uniform that has been mostly associated with the SEALS, since they actually had a need for such a camo uniform.
So, as of Oct. 1, 2016, EVERY desk-bound, base-dwelling, shore-duty sea person will get to feel special by wearing jungle cammies to the office too. No word on whether every set of Type III BDUs will also be issued with a ‘special snowflake’ patch well…
For more info about the other Navy uniform changes that are coming down the blow tube, read up on Soldier Systems Daily.
Picture of a group of mountain troops (‘Gebirgsjaeger’) of the West German Bundeswehr, from a 1959 issue of LIFE magazine.
Note the use of the G1 (German model FN FAL), the Bundeswehr 1956 pattern ‘Splinter’ camouflage, and the US-style ‘steel pot’ helmets. Here’s a closer look at the M1956 Splinter Camo uniforms used in the early days of the Bundeswehr.
Photo source: militaryblog.jp
Hot on the heels of our last article about Natick Labs came this online article from ‘The National Geographic’ about a new book by renowned author Mary Roach:
Mary Roach, a self-confessed “goober with a flashlight,” has created a niche for books with one-word titles—Gulp (on the digestive system); Bonk (on the science of sex)—that take a funny, and informed, look at the scientific secrets of everyday things. In her latest book, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, she goes behind the scenes of modern warfare to celebrate the unsung heroes of military science, who do everything from design high-tech clothing for the battlefield to perform penis transplants—all in the name of keeping soldiers “alive and comfortable.”
Read the full interview here: nationalgeographic.com
SEALS Action Gear is pleased to announce that they are now stocking the full range of UF PRO® Tactical apparel. This European made, high quality clothing is second-to-none in construction, functionality and striking design; and includes the following key products:
Striker XT Combat Pants
The flagship of the range – the XT pants are setting new industry standards for operational uniforms.
Giving specialists a significant increase in usefulness and efficiency was the highest priority during the development of the Striker XT Combat Pants.
The stretch areas have been expanded and new and ergonomically perfected knee protection has been introduced. This is made using an intelligent combination of technologies that enable highly efficient protection of the knee and tibia areas without fitting the protection system with a Velcro strap.
The width-adjustable lower leg area enables the effective fixing of objects in the lower leg pocket, including during rapid movement.
The large side pocket with inner compartments can be accessed in two ways.
The stretch areas in the hip/buttocks area and above and below the knee protection are made of an extremely resilient Schoeller®-dynamic stretch material.
Striker XT Combat Shirt
Based on the previous Striker Combat Shirt, some important components have been changed in the new XT model that considerably improves the wearing comfort and functionality.
In the torso area, the mix of polyester and merino wool offers extraordinary durability, wearing comfort and odor-inhibition. The cut of the sleeve and the slide-in pockets have been ergonomically improved so that you will always land on the inserted elbow pads. Furthermore, this optimized cut allows users to pull up their sleeves comfortably for medical access.
An additional elastic ribbon in the underarm pocket offers better fixing for inserted equipment.