TENTH MOUNTAIN DIVISION
LIVING HISTORY DISPLAY GROUP, INC
A Colorado Based Not-For-Profit Corporation with I.R.S. 501(C)(3) tax status
THE USUAL PAPERWORK
GETTING STARTED: Ladies – you are starting at a disadvantage from day one, but this can be overcome. Compared to men’s equipment, women’s uniforms are harder to find and more expensive. In the past 5 years, reproductions are starting to be made, but the resources are not as easy to find. Sizing is crucial! A size change in the post-war years makes it is far easier to make a mistake. An industry wide size change made a WWII size 16 compare with today’s size 12. So if you can find a larger size – get it – they are few and far between. (Once again – flowers from your re-enactor partner will suffice in the blow to your size conscience ego!!) A point to consider: In WWII, women did not carry weapons, so your impression will not require that expensive purchase. Field gear is somewhat reduced as well, so what you spend on the uniform may be made up in savings elsewhere. However, if you want to get involved in weapons or other areas, talk to your unit contact, who can explain some options for you to consider.
WHAT TO BUY: Unfortunately, there are more (and less) choices for a woman in uniform. Uniform parts generally don’t interchange between dress and work uniforms, and there are more variations for the women. Building a complete wardrobe can become an expensive proposition. We will try to guide you through the basics. Because of the lack of choices, we encourage you to consider a summer (HBT) work uniform as your first choice. This is NOT a fashionable uniform, but you are not alone. In WWII, the women found it to be less than ideal as well.
1) Cotton HBT Shirt: The HBT (herringbone twill) shirt is the most forgiving and perhaps the most affordable uniform to buy. It was worn by women in the WAC (Womens Army Corps), ANC (Army Nurses Corps) and by members of the civilian Red Cross. It is durable, sturdy and relatively affordable. They are available in early-war light olive drab (LOD) and late war dark olive green (OG). In the field, it was not uncommon to see both colors worn together. The shirt can be tucked in or left out, whichever is most comfortable. Acceptable items include WWII originals and reproductions from WWII Impressions.
2) Cotton HBT Trousers: The HBT trouser has buttons on the hips (no fly!) and patch pockets on the front of each leg. There is no back pocket. There are button adjustments at the bottom of each leg to make it fight tighter when tucked into boots. Both colors are found (LOD and OG). No belt is required for these trousers. Acceptable items include WWII originals and reproductions from WWII Impressions.
3) Hat: The HBT hat is called a Daisy Mae, and is a brimmed soft hat that can be rolled up and stuffed in a pocket. There was a special women’s version, but they were hard to find even in WWII, so many women wore the men’s variation. Most women in service were able to avoid wearing a helmet except in training. Acceptable items include WWII originals and reproductions from WWII Impressions.
4) Boots: While many women wore the women’s version of the service shoe and the matching leggings (see the men’s uniforms above), we suggest that female members get the men’s double-buckle boot. Starting in late 1943, this boot was intended for field wear, and is (relatively) comfortable, durable and is much easier to find than the women’s options. Many women in service used this boot because it was available and the women’s boots were not, especially when overseas. If you go this route, remember that women’s shoe sizes are different than men’s, usually requiring about 1 to 1.5 size decrease (women’s size 8 is a men’s 6.5). Trousers are worn tucked into the top of this boot. Acceptable items include WWII originals and reproductions from What Price Glory, WWII Impressions and At The Front.
There are other uniforms that you may want to consider, and if you find a deal on one of these, they are always acceptable. These can include women’s wool field uniform, women’s dress uniform, women’s shirt & blouse, women’s suntan uniform, women’s M-43 field uniform, nurse’s dress uniform, nurse’s ward dress, nurse’s off-duty dress, women’s hospital dress, WAC hospital dress, WAC PT uniform, WAC off-duty dress and more.
add some specific links below to assist our female members in researching their
impression, and learning all they can about women in service in WWII. There is a small lending library in
WWII Quartermaster Catalog – a copy of the 1943 women’s uniform catalog pages.
at Camp Hale – this outstanding and well
researched site tells the story of
Women’s Army Corps – a report from the Center for Military History that tells about the creation of the WAC and it’s contribution in WWII.
WWII Home Front – a list of resources for teachers (and others) to learn and use to explore what happened Stateside in WWII. Lots of interesting links!
Women in WWII – a site to explore the contributions of women to the War Effort.
Hardscrabble Farms – this site explores all aspects of WWII Living History, incliding some excellent resources for women. Articles include the proper layout of a WAC footlocker, layout of equipment for inspection, getting started (a women’s perspective) , placing insignia on a WAC uniform, WAC clothing issue, etc. There is more there, but these are some of the basics you might want to know. Check out the whole site – it’s got some great stuff!
Suppliers of Women’s Reproduction Uniforms
WARHORSE REPRODUCTIONS – While located in Europe, this is one of the largest lines of reproduction uniforms out there. Page 2 has WAC and Nurse uniforms
WWII IMPRESSIONS – one of the highest quality makers of reproduction uniforms out there. Prices are not cheap, but quality is just like WWII originals.
WHAT PRICE GLORY – a great supplier and very helpful. Jerry at WPG will make every effort to help if he can. He offers some great items not found elsewhere.
This list is just getting started, so if you find a valuable link that we haven’t included, please let us know.
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,
photos used courtesy of Denver Public Library
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