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What is that Color?

Discussion in 'WWII' started by Mad Hatter, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. I recently acquired a mint US military trench coat, it is hard to date as I know nothing about contract numbers and such but I'd suspect this one though in as new would perhaps date from the early 80's. I can't see a lot of change over the years so I'm confident I can wear it with my WW2 Pinks and Greens as the WW2 ones frankly look identical. The thing is I can't find a reference to the color. It looks almost light sage green in some light and more of a tan in others. Does anyone know the correct color name for this?
  2. I've managed to find a contract number and as it is a DLA # It has to be (1978 - 1993) Prefix DLA100-86-C would seem to suggest it was manufactured in 1986?

    US Trench.jpg
  3. Colonel Adam

    Colonel Adam Familiar Face

    Yeah, khaki!
  4. Yeah, not so much... From my experience Khaki is tan not green? In some light it does look on the tan side, but in others it looks very minty green.
  5. Colonel Adam

    Colonel Adam Familiar Face

    I used to feel the same way. It always drove me crazy when my "khaki" shirts or trousers looked really green in certain light. I even wrote to Dickies uniform company. They told me their khakis did have a green tint to them also. My new khaki field jacket looks tan sometimes, but looks definitely green at other times--depending on the light.
    However, I have a WWII service cap, and inside the band it states: worsted wool, tropical tan; and it's definitely a light brown color. This cap went with the tropical wool dress uniform, and was not the same color as the khaki shirt and tie it was worn with. I also have a WWII cotton khaki service cap--the one in my avitar photo right there on the left--and it has an almost yellow tint, but, in certain light outside it looks ever-so slightly green.
    Also, the summer khakis worn by the Army and Air Force in the seventies, when I served, which was the same as the sixties I believe, just before they did-away with them all together, was definitely more of a light tan; and, the Marine Corps shirts I wear today are also more tan.
    So, if your coat is WWII vintage, or there about, and khaki, then it should be more tan; but, if it's a newer one, it will have an obvious green look to it in certain light.
    This is why it almost literally drove me crazy! The fact is: genuine khaki does have a green look to it in certain light. What a lot of manufacturers today are calling khaki (or chino, which is really a type of fabric not a color) is really a light paper sack tan.
    Having said all of this, I've not seen your coat in person so I can't really tell you what color it is for sure--I could be way off--so what you should do is look it up on the internet, or better yet, ask someone who served in the Army when they were wearing them. Today they wear tropical tan, which to me looks kind'a pumkin color.
    Please don't take this the wrong way. I'm not trying to argue with you, I'm really just trying to help. It took me a long time to figure all this out, and I've become almost an expert on khaki and chino. Seriously, I could give you a whole history on the subject. In fact, you're welcome to go to my Facebook page, Adam Pendragwn from Essen Germany, where I did write a short history on it. But like I said, I haven't seen it so I might be wrong. And if you disagree, I respect that.
  6. Thanks for the info. Being from Canada I don't no any one who served in the US forces. I'm guessing it is Army, and is most certainly 80's vintage as it has a DLA# (DLA100-86-C) which would make it 1978-1993 issue. The 86 unless I'm misreading it, would indicate a 1986 manufacture date. It's a frustrating color as it goes anywhere from a tan, through sage green. All in all it was more out of curiosity as I like it and you don't see them up here. I think it's also fine for ww2 re-enacting as it is very similar to those worn and it looks like the style didn't change a whole lot if at all from those issued. Of course lot's of photos show private purchase items, and anyone dabbling into ww2 knows that there were wide variances in uniform colors and styles even among military contractors never mind all of the private purchase suppliers. I think realistically it's really hard to be too picky with ww2 as even in photos there are wide variations even in the same group.
  7. Colonel Adam

    Colonel Adam Familiar Face

    Again, sorry for assuming you were American. Yes, it is nerve wracking. You're having the same prob I had. And, I'm not a reenactor but I don't know why you couldn't wear it. Interesting note: I joined the Army--switched to Air Force--in the late 70s, just before they switched to the light green dress shirts, and the rain/trench coats then were black, if I remember correctly. Go figure. Look up US Army uniforms on Wikipedia and see if there's anything there. It might be a place to start.
  8. No Worries I'm Canadian and our uniforms when I was in the forces in the late seventies were gawdawful CF Green. A kind of Dark green bus driver's uniform worn by all three (Tri) services. It was universally hated and crap. I was Air Force as well. I"m ok with having a mid 80'd coat. It is seemingly the same as it's WW2 cousin and as they sat close enough for hand grenades.
  9. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain One Too Many

    That trenchcoat looks like a US Marine Corps item to me. There never was an official US Army trenchcoat like that, although they were unofficially worn during WWII by officers. Never put that much faith in what army regulations (any army) have to say about what soldiers wear. Certain items may be difficult to obtain and the commanding officer may have his own ideas about the way things should be. Then, too, individual soldiers just might have an opinion on the subject, too. There can also be a lot of flexibility in uniforms if you read the fine print, which would be rare.

    The British started the fashion for trenchcoats in WWI and I don't even think they were ever mentioned in regulations even for them. But they were certainly widely worn and in a variety of styles. From what I have read, the good ones with a lining were fairly expensive, too, but considered essential for the front-line officer. The British also started the fashion for Sam Browne belts, too.

    When I was in the army, up until 1968, a "taupe" color raincoat was issued. It was trench-coat styling but you would only have thought raincoat when you saw it. It was thin. I have no idea if it was a good raincoat or not because I never wore mine. At some point after I got out of the service, a green trenchcoat for all ranks was on issue. Aside from the color, it looked like a proper military trenchcoat. As I recall, the color was sort of a pale green but I can't describe it any better. There wasn't a hint of khaki to it. I don't know when the black all-weather coat come along.

    Khaki doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. To some, it means olive-drab. To others, it means a tan color. In the US Army, khaki generally never meant olive-drab, which was always wool. Khaki was always cotton. A khaki-color wool uniform was nearly always called "tropical worsted," or "TWs." They were usually a browner or darker tan than cotton khaki. Very early khaki uniforms in both the US and Canadian armies seem to have had a greenish tinge.

    To further confuse the matter, army publications tended to use the term "drab" for a lot of things we might call khaki, although that wasn't the case for the khaki shirt and trousers that were the basic summer dress uniforms from the late 1930s on up until around 1970 when the permanent press uniforms were introduced.

    I still think it's a Marine Corps coat. All the surplus coats like that as well as the army green coats are sized for someone in their twenties, apparently.
  10. EngProf

    EngProf One of the Regulars

    I've been WWII reenacting and collecting "Army junk" for a number of years.
    The definitions of OD and Khaki have been debated for most of that time, but I think people are finally accepting the fact that Army uniforms and jackets varied widely during the war years and even for similar products made at the same time. In other words, there was a fair amount of tolerance in uniform colors that were accepted for use.

    To be specific, the Army designation for the earlier light brown shade used in items such as M1941 field jackets was OD#3.
    The later greenish color used in M1943 jackets and pants was OD#7. Those were both cotton.
    The wool pants and shirts are what reenactors call "mustard" shade. It's more brown than anything else.

    Within those two big categories (OD#3 and OD#7) there can be significant variation, as stated above.
    I have three Type 3 mackinaws, all made in 1945, with the same contract number, whose colors vary from light tan (what people call khaki), to the middle-greenish color that reenactors call "pea-green", to a very greenish color almost at the OD#7 shade.

    People have finally accepted the idea that the Army knew that the exact color did not matter when uniforms and clothing was in short supply.

    As long as your fellow reenactors are OK with that coat style and shade you should be fine.
  11. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    I have a beautiful full length trench coat from Hugo Boss. Great detail work. I'm guessing it was manufactured in the 1980s. I bought it for a song at a vintage shop. Anyway, it is that same vaguely green shade of Khaki. I've received a lot of compliments on the coat. I have never once received a comment that the color "is not quite right". About the worst I've got was "I like your detective jacket" and "Play it again Sam."

  12. I agree it's a Marie Corp coat. I was in the Army in the 80's and our trench coats were black and and not double breasted.


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