As with any military unit, your uniform provides your identity to both the public and to other members of the group. In the pages below, we will endeavor to provide you with guidance as far as what to wear, how to wear it, and what NOT to do. Please be patient, as this page is under construction. A detailed UNIFORM GUIDE is available upon request.
We operate under an agreement with the U.S. Army that while in uniform, we will conduct ourselves in a military manner, consistent with the practices of the U.S. Army in the WWII time period. That includes standard military courtesies (proper address and hand salutes) as well as personal conduct. At an event, misconduct will be addressed, corrected, and adhered to where possible. Refusal to address a problem may result in dismissal and removal from the event.
Everybody wears wool…
The basic Army uniform in WWII applies to the 10th Mountain soldier as well. Let’s start with this core uniform common to almost every WWII soldier.
1) Wool Shirt: Two basic styles were used in WWII, and they look almost identical. Look for a mustard-green colored wool shirt that buttons up the front and has two patch pockets on the front. These shirts are sized like a modern dress shirt, with a neck and sleeve size (15×33). With original shirts, try the shirt on, as these may have shrunk in size if it was washed in the washer & dryer. It is well worth your time and money to buy the best quality you can afford here, as this shirt can also work with your Class A (dress) uniform. (Once you own one – dry clean or Dryell. Do NOT wash in washer and dryer). Acceptable items include WWII originals and reproductions from What Price Glory, WWII Impressions and At The Front.
2) Wool Trousers: The trousers to buy are a heavyweight wool that does NOT match the shirt. They are a little more mustard (yellow) in color, with a watch pocket in front, button closure on one back pocket, and a button fly. These usually have white cotton pockets and waistband. These are sized with a waist and inseam, and it is encouraged that you try them on for size, as they can be both shrunk and altered. Buy the best quality you can afford here, as these trousers can also work with your Class A (dress) uniform. There is another color that closely matches the IKE jacket – these should be reserved ONLY for dress use – not for dual purpose wear. Once again – do not wash and dry – dry clean or Dryell only. Acceptable items include WWII originals and reproductions from What Price Glory, WWII Impressions and At The Front.
3) Web Belt: While not a big item, the right web belt is worth your time and money. A WWII belt should be a light olive drab color (LOD) with a blackened bronze open-faced buckle. You can see both the belt color and buckle in the above photo. A pristine original may be marked with a length, a date and a “U.S.” stamp. Acceptable items include WWII originals and reproductions from What Price Glory, WWII Impressions and At The Front.
4) Boots/Shoes: Here’s where your impression can vary, but our recommendation is that you buy the two-buckle combat boot. These are rough suede boot with a smooth leather cuff at the top. Acceptable items include WWII originals and reproductions from What Price Glory, WWII Impressions, and At The Front.
5) Helmet: The basic U.S. Army helmet is a helmet and liner assembly. The shell is steel and the liner is made of fiberglass with web suspension. There were two basic helmets used in WWII that you may want to buy – the early fixed-bale helmet and the later swivel-bale helmet. To learn about the variations of helmets and liners, we encourage you to visit Top Pots to learn more. Unless you are planning to develop an Airborne impression, we encourage you to get a front-seam, fixed bale M1 helmet with sewn-on straps. The post-war helmets look very similar, but the WWII version IS different. Also look at the liner – get the liner with the center webbing forming a loop in the center. Acceptable items include WWII originals only.The above items will get your basic uniform. There are variations you may want to consider, and we will gladly assist you in making a decision. Some of these options our listed in our uniform guide.
The ski uniform conscists of a reversable ski parka, white camouflage trouser covers, and mittens and mitten covers. The parka is the key item to purchase when you find one but is not required for most events that we do. Variations can include heavy wool ski trousers, several variations on the ski parka (all reversible), and a lined ski cap (NOT the Elmer Fudd duck hunter cap!). Contact us before you invest – we are happy to help you find a good example.
Here’s the “classic” look…
In the Army, your fatigues were your work uniform, but this was also worn as a lightweight alternative to the wool uniform, especially in hot weather. This uniform is called a “HBT” (herringbone twill) uniform, and the 10th Mountain soldiers work all of the WWII variations. They consist of button-fly trousers with patch pockets, and a jacket that is worn un-tucked (like a jacket) over a simple undershirt.
Comfort in warm weather…
The Army dress uniform (called your “Class A” uniform) includes several of the items listed above, with the addition of a jacket and cap. For much of the war, the jacket was a 4-pocket wool coat, worn with a tie and a foldable “overseas” cap made of a similar fabric.
At the end of the War, a shorter jacket was permitted. Called an IKE Jacket after the general who wore it frequently, the IKE was only seen by 10th Mountain soldiers at the end of the war. Both patterns are acceptable. Visit with your SGT for details and insignia, or check out the UNIFORM GUIDE. or below…
Just like the paratroopers in WWII, the mountain soldier had a special uniform that was distinctive and different from the average G.I. The wool trousers were replaced with a baggy cotton trouser with zippered pockets and baggy cargo pockets (similar to modern uniforms). The field jacket was designed with an integral backpack and suspenders and was zippered to keep the wind out. Even the cap was designed to retain body heat in cold climates. Boots and ski gaiters were added to adapt to the skis and to serve as mountain climbing boots.
Everyone starts as a PRIVATE (no stripes), as you learn your role in the group. At the end of your first year, you can add PFC stripes (Private First Class). Rank after that comes with your impression or with duties within the group. Active or retired military members may be able to wear their current rank depending on their duties. Officer ranks may be worn ONLY if you are providing an impression that requires it (Surgeon, Chaplain, etc.). We are trying to portray a typical unit, not the Base Officer’s Club.
OK – you made it to the bottom of the page. Here’s an Easter Egg for you.