<< Previous Topic | Next Topic >>Return to Index  

Canadian DPM Jump Smock

April 18 2002 at 12:18 AM
Michael Dorosh 

Can someone provide me some basic info on the Canadian Airborne regiment jump smock? ie

a) date of adoption
b) who wore it (just the airborne, I presume)
c) date of deletion (coincidental with disbandment of CAR?)

I am also looking for photos - an internet acquaintance of mine has a site on world camo and I would like to help him out. He has the Garrison Dress jacket listed but needs info on the smock.

Thanks in advance
Mike

 
 Respond to this message   
AuthorReply
Xavier

Airborne jacket

April 18 2002, 7:54 AM 

Michael:
While we wait for Ed :) Here's my tenative info:
a) The airborne jacket appears to have been adopted in 1970 or 72 with the activation of the SSF. At least that that's what I remember reading through the back issues of Sentinel. What I'm curious about is if the DPM patern is a variant of the original British or is the British pattern
b) Correct the photos I've seen had only the airborne/SSF soldiers wearing them
c) Sorry don't know the answer but wouldn't it've been declared obselete with the adoption of the toute-arme camo?
xavier

 
 Respond to this message   
Terry

Airborne smock

April 19 2002, 7:09 AM 

There is an annex in a recent Canadian military book called, "Eat Your Weakest Man" by Rui Amaral (ex MWO and as WO was CQ for 2 Cdo in Somalia), published in 2000(?) by Dundurn Press (?). The annex's author was the officer in charge of the design and introduction of the smock in the 1970's. As always, buy the book and support Canadian publishing.

As I recall the smock was almost a private purchase item by the troops out of canteen funds until someone at NDHQ learned of the project. The first plan was to use the same material as the combat jacket, but there wasn't enough fabric available. Instead the supplier had an overrun of British-like DPM from a contract for uniforms for Tanzania. The rest is history.

Terry

 
 Respond to this message   
Xavier

para jacket

April 19 2002, 7:49 AM 

Terry:
The camouflage pattern is the one that frustrates me the most. Is it British DPM of the early 70's or is it a commercial variation?
Hopefully some ex-paras could enlighten us on this minor subject
xavier

 
 Respond to this message   
Ed Storey

Canadian DPM Camouflage material.

April 20 2002, 8:11 AM 

The camouflage pattern on the Canadian, Smock, Parachutists, can best be described as a Canadian copy of British DPM.

 
 Respond to this message   
Xavier

Para smock and camo pattern

April 21 2002, 11:17 AM 

Ed:
Thnkas very much! OK let me ask a question which will drive everyone crazy :)
Was the DPM pattern a straight copy of the 1970's British original or where there colour and pattern modifications that are sufficently notice=ble?
I've seen some jackets with simply 2 colours:
a sand or yellow kaki with an olive green (or even dark green) pattern. The green pattern look like someone used a very wide brush to paint the cloth.

xavier

 
 Respond to this message   
Ed Storey

Canadian DPM

April 22 2002, 3:49 AM 

You answered your own question.

 
 Respond to this message   
Xavier

How come no camo pants were ever adopted

April 22 2002, 6:40 AM 

Hi all:
As we're discussing the para jacket, I've always ben curious as to why the paras never adopted camouflage pants?
Is it because
a) The para were satisfied with the jacket?
b) the generals and the politicians freaked out at the thought?
c) No one thought about asking if camo pants could also be part of the uniform?
Thanks!
xavier

 
 Respond to this message   
Ed Storey

Camouflaged Trousers

April 22 2002, 4:28 PM 

Traditionally only the Airborne wore a Camouflaged Smock, so there was no need for camouflaged Trousers. Combats were the standard field uniform, there was no need to replace them with something else.

 
 Respond to this message   
Xavier

camo pants

April 23 2002, 1:10 PM 

Ed:
Thanks. I figured tat that para would liked to have gone all the way but I see that there was no need.
xavier

 
 Respond to this message   
Troy

Airborne smocks

July 30 2004, 8:42 PM 

The tanzanian camoflauge was adopted in 1975 after the CAR got back from Cyprus in '74. Each man agreed to pay 50.00 Cdn. from the kitshop in Greisbach Barracks in Edmonton.
Anymore questions be free to ask.
Troy

 
 Respond to this message   
Steve

Jump smock

September 20 2002, 2:07 AM 

As of last year, certain staff working at the Canadian Parachute Centre in Trenton, Ontario (current version of the Airborne Centre which was in Edmonton) were still wearing the DPM jump smock. As far as I know they were the only personnel still using it at the time. If the smock will continue to be worn with the introduction of the CADPAT uniform is unknown.

Steve

 
 Respond to this message   
Ed Storey

Canadian Parachute Smocks

September 20 2002, 11:56 AM 

The Smocks are no longer in use, there was a recent article in the Maple Leaf that covered this. I guess CADPAT Smocks may someday be a reality.

 
 Respond to this message   
Rich in Vancouver

CADPAT Smocks

July 31 2004, 1:14 AM 

Unofficial smocks are available from this source.
They are a Recce smock, not a Para smock as such, but still a smock.
http://www.dropzonetactical.com/reccesmock.html

 
 Respond to this message   
Mark Campbell

Canadian DPM Para Smock Origins

August 7 2004, 12:04 PM 

Hi Fellows,

I have done considerable research into the subject of "Canadian DPM" over the years, and have written a number of fellow collectors concerning both the Canadian DPM Para-Smock and the DPM combat uniform. Below is a message that I sent to a friend a couple of years ago, which may shed some light on the subject of the Para Smock. The original text begins below:"

"My information regarding the Canadian “Experimental” Combat Uniform is actually derived from several sources. The first is an annex to the book “Eat Your Weakest Man”, written by Warrant-Officer (retired) Rui Amaral about his own time with the Airborne Regiment in Somalia. He has an entire annex devoted to development of the 1975 Pattern DPM Parachutist’s Smock, which fills a long-missing “niche” in the history of Canadian camouflage uniforms. This is the same Para Smock that has been flooding eBay for the past year as a result of existing stocks being sold as government surplus when CADPAT was adopted. In any case, the actual Officer charged with designing and producing the Canadian P1975 Para Smock wrote about it in the annex to Amaral’s book. He makes specific mention of the Canadian-manufactured DPM combat uniform while discussing development of the Para Smock, so here are the facts straight from “the horse’s mouth”.

In 1974, Lt Col G.R. Hirter was posted into the Canadian Airborne Regiment as the Deputy Commanding Officer. The Regiment had been “smockless” since its creation in 1968, despite efforts to have the Canadian Procurement System develop and issue an official Parachutist’s smock. The previous 1950’s-era OD Nylon smock had ceased production with the 1958 demise of the Airborne Regiment’s predecessor formation, the Mobile Striking Force (MSF). Stocks of the OD Smock had disappeared by the time the Airborne Regiment “stood up” in 1968, and efforts in the first 6 years of the Regiment’s existence to obtain a smock through official channels had proven fruitless.

The lack of a distinctive Para Smock for the Airborne Regiment had significant morale implications. The Commanding Officer of the Regiment (Col G. Lessard) therefore directed LCol Hirter to arrange production of a smock as a “private purchase” item in time for the unit’s Change of Command parade in the summer of 1975. He had less than year to make this happen, from design through to delivery. The Regiment would “foot the bill” for the initial procurement of 1000 smocks, with the costs recovered through their sale to unit members through the Regimental Kit Shop (along with the usual Airborne T-shirts, jump boots, PT gear, etc). The troops had unanimously agreed that they would each pay up to $50 for a smock. Based on that, LCol Hirter approached Peerless Garments of Winnipeg Manitoba - a major Canadian Army clothing contractor. This is where the story gets interesting, and directly connects to manufacture of the “Experimental” DPM Combat Uniform.

All Canadian Army field clothing at the time (1974) was olive green. As a result, there was no “mil-spec” heavy-weight disruptive camouflage pattern material available through government suppliers. Peerless Garments graciously agreed to do a “private purchase” run of Para smocks based on the pattern of the 1950’s OD Nylon smock that LCol Hirter provided as a sample. However, to create a disruptive pattern it would have to be printed on clear stock material, not an over-print of existing OD material. Just when things were looking bleak, one of the Peerless Garments Sales Supervisors mentioned that the company had just signed a new contract to produce a disruptive pattern combat shirt and pants for the Tanzanian Armed Forces. The contract was so new that it was not yet general knowledge among the Peerless Garments management team. Celanese Chemicals of Montreal Quebec, had been sub-contracted to produce the camouflage material that Peerless would use to produce the Tanzanian combat uniforms. The pattern that the Tanzanian Government had selected was the standard British DPM but in slightly different colour tones - the "Tan" base-colour was an "orange-brown" and the Green was a bright, "rich" tone.

The Airborne Regiment approved the "Tanzanian DPM” pattern for the new smocks, and LCol Hirter arranged for Celanese Chemicals to produce additional material (printed on a heavier “windproof” material) at the end of the Tanzanian contract. Peerless Garments agreed to produce the smocks as a “favour” to the Airborne Regiment for $40 per smock, and the order was placed. Word soon got out about the Airborne Regiment’s unofficial smock contract, creating a huge uproar (and considerable embarrassment) within the Canadian Army Clothing Procurement office. The Chief of Defence Staff heard that the Airborne Regiment’s Soldiers were prepared to pay for their smocks out of their own pockets, and immediately directed the Clothing Procurement office to assume responsibility for the contract using public funds. In a matter of days, an “end-run” by the Regiment through the Commander of the Canadian Forces had overcome 6 years of stone-walling by low-level clothing bureaucrats. The Peerless Garments order was quickly expanded, and the original pattern cobbled together by LCol Hirter was adopted unchanged as the official Canadian Forces “Smock, Parachutist, Disruptive Pattern”. One final note worthy of mention is the fact that the Airborne Regiment soon discovered Peerless Garments (a family-run business in 1975) had given them a tremendous deal on their initial private-purchase arrangement. The company would have barely broken even, and probably would have lost money on the order. However when the Canadian Government officially took over the contract, Peerless Garments was paid a higher price per smock to ensure a reasonable profit. Better yet, the order was increased to 1200 smocks plus a scheduled follow-on maintenance procurement of hundreds more each year. As a result of their cooperation and generosity, Peerless received continual Canadian Army Clothing contracts, many of which continue to this day. One final point about the Canadian DPM Para Smock – you will note that on the recent-production smocks, the standard British DPM colours have been reversed. The Tan base-colour and the Green have been swapped to produce a pattern which is much more brown overall. Check it out. I cannot say when this occurred, nor can I say when Para smocks began to be produced with the light Tan base-colour and a lighter green, as opposed to the darker "Orange-Brown" base-colour and "Rich Green" of the original Tanzanian pattern. I have seen examples of recent-production smocks in both colour schemes. OK – enough about the Canadian Para Smock – just a bit of verified historical background for those who happen to own one.

Shifting my focus towards the “Experimental” Canadian DPM combat uniform, a number of things become clear. First and foremost is the fact that this particular uniform was manufactured by Peerless Garments (DPM material by Celanese Chemicals) specifically for the Tanzanian Army contract. It was not merely an “Experimental” uniform as many folks mistakenly believe. In addition to LCol Hirter’s verification of this fact, I have personally seen close-up photos of the Tanzanian Army on parade wearing the exact same uniform. This leads me to the inescapable conclusion that they are the same uniform. A large number of these very distinctive uniforms were sold in surplus stores across Canada during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. My educated guess is that the surplus “experimental” DPM uniforms were nothing more than excess production from Peerless Garments' Tanzanian contract, subsequently sold off by the company. I have personally owned and or examined at least 10 of these uniforms over the years, and can verify that they all contained the same white collar-tag with black felt-pen size marking. None contained the standard DND size and manufacturer’s tag (white cloth with black printing) that is stitched inside the lower right front of a Canadian Combat Shirt, nor the large “Instructions” tag stitched inside the lower right back. Same with the pants – they had a small white tag with a hand-drawn size number, as opposed to the DND size and manufacturer’s tag normally stitched inside the waistband. The configuration, stitching, features, and unique 50/50 NYCO material of the Tanzanian DPM uniform was identical in every regard to the standard Canadian olive green combat uniform. Indeed, the only discernable differences between the Tanzanian and standard-issue Canadian combat uniforms are the tags and the colouration. This makes eminent sense, since the Tanzanian uniform was manufactured to standard specifications by the primary Canadian Army combat uniform contractor. To summarize, the Tanzanian contract uniforms, those once available in Canadian surplus stores, and the example pictured on my personal web-site, are undoubtedly all one and the same."

The original text ends here. I have a similar article detailing my personal research into the bagding of the Pattern 75 Canadian DPM Para Smock over the course of its existence if anyone here is interested.

Likewise, if you are interested in seeing the clothing in question then I will direct you to the "North American" album of my personal web-site. You can view the 2 main colour variants of the DPM Para Smock, along with their typical period badging. Here is the link: http://www.geocities.com/canuck_infantry/North_America.html

Enjoy!

Mark



 
 Respond to this message   
xavier

Experimental Canadian DPM

August 7 2004, 1:14 PM 

Mark:
Thanks very much for the update. Question: do the Tanzinians still manufacture their combats? If so do they still retain the Canadian features or have they modified them based on their experiences and soldiers' feedback?

Thanks again!
xavier

 
 Respond to this message   
Mark Campbell

Current Tanzanian Uniforms

August 9 2004, 6:42 AM 

Xavier,

Funny you should ask. It would appear that the Tanzanians only wore the Canadian-manufactured uniform for a few years, before switching over to indigenous manufacture. Notwithstanding that however, they retained the Canadian design of the uniform - replete with the characteristic narrow, slanted chest pockets and the slotted buttons.

I have seen several examples of the Tanzanian-manufactured DPM uniform over the years, and all retained the distinctive Canadian pocket layout. The only difference appears to be that the buttons changed at some point, with the slotted Canadian style being replaced by small, "standard" buttons similar to those of the U.S. BDU uniform. There was a Tanzanian student on the MTEP ATOC-CA course at the CTC Tactics School where I work just a week ago, and his DPM uniform still showed an unmistakable Canadian influence some 25 years after the fact. It had the Canadian-style pocket layout, but the uniform was manufactured in a heavier material and featured small, "standard" buttons.

Cheers,

Mark

 
 Respond to this message   
Xavier

Current Tanzanian combat uniform

August 9 2004, 9:39 AM 

Mark:
Thanks very much for the update. Very interesting about how our design has had a minor influence for another country's design. I wonder why the Tanzanian decided to use standard sized buttons?
The slotted buttons appear to be very popular. The Russians use them for the Spetnatz DPM type uniform and in French these buttons are called les bouton canadiens (the Canadian buttons)
I always was under the impression that our combat uniform buttons came from Britian.
Thanks again!
xavier

 
 Respond to this message   
Steve Forth

No, they got the idea from us

August 10 2004, 12:18 AM 

If you do a search for current British uniforms on the net you will note that in the description of the Soldier 95 uniforms that they make mention of the "Canadian style buttons". These buttons were being used by Canada long before the Brits adopted them.

 
 Respond to this message   
Ed Storey

'Canadian' Buttons

August 10 2004, 3:40 AM 

They were first introduced with the Canadian X Series of clothing in the early 1950s.

 
 Respond to this message   
 
< Previous Page 1 2 Next >
  << Previous Topic | Next Topic >>Return to Index  

canadiansoldiers.com