Alpha Industries M65 Field Jacket

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Bruce Wayne, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. AbbaDatDeHat

    AbbaDatDeHat I'll Lock Up

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    Hey Peacoat:
    I’m curious...i know you were an Officer. Did you guys ever have your field jackets starched shiny and almost like cardboard?
    B
     
  2. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Did you ever use the built-in hood?
     
  3. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    No. I only wore it for two months in basic and for four or five days during Survival/Escape and Evasion training at the end of flight school. Neither of those states (Louisiana and Alabama) had weather cold enough for the hood.

    So, although mine is over 50 years old, it is excellent condition. New condition, actually, except that it has softened over the years.
     
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  4. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    While listening to a podcast I'm idly trawling around on e-bay and saw this tag for an M-65 coat liner -- check out that manufacturer!!

    1507.jpg
     
  5. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    No, never did that. Only wore it in basic and for a few days during escape and evasion/survival training. Nor did I ever see one starched the way you described. We wore flight jackets, which the infantry, armor and artillery generals hated. In fact they disliked almost everything about us.

    I was in aviation units which was really nothing like the regular Army. We were laid back and only worried about things that mattered, such as keeping the helicopter well maintained, full of fuel and flying in areas that were free of rocks and other ground debris. Another concern of ours, while in RVN, was never missing a hot meal and never running out of cold beer at the O Club. Let Airborne worry about starching their work uniforms.

    Did Marine Corps Officers starch their field jackets? Actually I am surprised you guys got field jackets. They were probably WWII surplus because the Navy spent the money on peacoats and other nice and warm things for their guys. The Marines got what was left over. We were pulling for you guys, but it never did any good.

    Semper Fi/De Oppresso Liber
     
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  6. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    You need to copy that to your file. It is so rare, I've never seen it. before. it's a 1988 tag. Wonder if they are still in business?
     
  7. AbbaDatDeHat

    AbbaDatDeHat I'll Lock Up

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    Hey P:
    Had to laugh thinking back to then.
    I figured the starch was a Marine thing. I recall it was usually the upper rank officers like Colonels that did the shiny starch thing with field jackets. They usually had an entourage of lessor shiny guys around them making sure they didn’t get dirty or ruffled. Lol
    Everybody else except shitbirds had starched utilities which did look sharp in garrison but i saw no need.
    My two M-65s are still going strong after 45+ years.
    Just about everything we ever got said Property of the US Army as hand me downs but hey, i’m sure that’s all changed. Lol
    Semper Fi P
    Be well and safe.
    Bowen
     
  8. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    I think, there could be a difference between the vintage 100% cotton-M65 and the NyCo-M65 in terms of the collar strength?
     
  9. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    Well now, that puts things in a different light. It means that the Navy spent all of its money on its own sailors, and had to scramble to find a few crumbs for the Corps. So, go to the Army and buy its surplus for 10 cents on the dollar. Problem solved.
     
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  10. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    The weave of the cloth used in the shell changed periodically, or by manufacturer or contract. Some cloth was a twill, other cloth was a non-twill (yeah, I'll dig through my books to find the proper name for what I've seen), and some appeared to be almost a rip-stop. The properties of each, including thickness, was different. I'll have to post some photos.
     
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  11. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    Yes, the properties of each may have been different, but I think the overriding factor was the bulk of that hood in the collar. The collar has to be rolled down over the pocket containing the hood to make it stay down. And the ends of the collar had to be trained to stay down. That could certainly be affected by the properties of the fabric.

    I don't remember our Drill Sergeants (Don Heath and Leonard Rowan) giving us much grief about the position of the collars, so they must have been relatively easy to train.
     
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  12. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Here's some photos of four different types of weaves on military jackets. In order (zoomed in) they look like a twill, a canvas, a basket weave, and almost a shantung. Photos suggest that all of the military jackets in camo came in the basket weave cloth, irrespective of age.

    twill.jpg
    canvas.jpg
    basket.jpg
    shantung.jpg
     
  13. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton One Too Many

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    Of those, I would think the basket weave would be best for wind and rain. A tighter weave. I'm surprised they haven't come up with a knock-off, cheaper to manufacture ventile type fabric.
     
  14. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    @Doctor Damage
    Fourth also looks like a very fine woven Canvas, to me. I mean, why would a manufacturer choose basic plain-weave (like Shantung) instead of Canvas/Basket-weave?
     
  15. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    I see no difference between Canvas and Basket-weave. Both Panama-weave with the doubled weft and warp.
    I hear the term "Basket weave" for the very first time.
     
  16. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton One Too Many

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    Those photos show a clear difference to me. The thread count, if that is a proper term, seems much higher in the basket weave (3rd photo). I'm just using the terms DD used. I believe I have both fabrics, and if you quickly run your fingernails over them, they sound quite different.
     
  17. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    I watched again, but with no other result. The collar is vertical Canvas. The lower parts look like diagonal Canvas.

    Of course, the weave can be tighter or wider. But I never saw Canvas with more than doubled weft and warp.

    1. Levi's type III Canvas
    2. 1997s Wrangler Canvas
    3. 2019s Storebrand Canvas (coarse and fine)
    4. 2019s Canvas baseball cap (maybe single warp, double weft)
     

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    Last edited: Aug 21, 2020
  18. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I should have said I was going to check a good reference book I have and that the labels I used were preliminary... so time for some clarifications to what I posted earlier!!

    I checked this afternoon and what I called 'basket weave' is almost certainly poplin, although the last mil-spec document for these jackets refers to the cloth as oxford ("cloth, oxford, cotton warp and nylin filling"). Poplin and oxford are similar and the differences are more for tailors and designers to fuss about, not regular joes like us. (I used 'basket weave' simply because I couldn't think of poplin earlier this afternoon. I should never have used that term, it's a very specific type of cloth and looks much different.)

    Shantung is a rough sort of silk cloth with those lumps of thread which make random bumps, so obviously the fourth photo I posted is not a shantung, although visually there is a resemblance. I guess that one's just an example of a particularly poor quality run of cloth.

    None of the photos I posted nor any in my photo file show a really serious gabardine/twill, i.e. the unmistakable diagonal ridges. Some kinda have it a bit, but none of blatant. For what it's worth, the reproduction jackets I've seen, mainly Rothco and Mil-Tec, use a gabardine/twill with clear diagonal ridges.
     
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  19. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Does the hood stay inside the collar or can it drop down the back of the coat between the shell and the liner? I only ask because in some photos the hood is clearly rolled up inside the collar and in others the collar is so thin the hood either was removed or shoved down the back. I have an Israeli bomber jacket in which the foldaway hood goes down the back. In the two photos below it looks like the hoods might be down the back.

    1432.jpg 1522.jpg
     
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  20. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    That red cloth you posted looks like the basket weave in cotton the interweb is throwing up. Anyways, I used the term mistakenly in my post.
     
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