Late Pattern DPM Smock Parachutist

I have been looking around for one of the iconic DPM parachutists smocks to add to my collection for a while and thanks to my friend and fellow collector Michael Fletcher, I am now the happy owner of a particularly nice example that we will be taking a closer look at tonight:imageThe smock parachutist in DPM was introduced in the mid-1970s and borrowed heavily from the iconic Denison smock. Paratroopers have always had specialist clothing due to the nature of their role: jumping out of an aircraft requires special modifications to a jacket to ensure it doesn’t fill with air and blow up around the face of the wearer! From the front the smock looks fairly standard, however if one turns to the rear it is obviously a different story:imageHooked up at the back is a large tail flap, undoing the poppers allows it to be folded down:imageIn service this passes between the wearer’s legs and attaches to a set of press studs on the front inside of the jacket:imageThis is designed to hold the smock down and prevent it from riding up. It is adjustable for comfort so a total of three pairs of studs are fitted, the heads of these female press studs being a distinctive feature of the front of the smock:imageThe smock is also fitted with knitted cuffs to provide a closer seal between the wearer’s arm and the jacket, again to reduce the amount of air that can be forced inside the garment:imageFour voluminous external pockets are provided and all are secured with press studs:imageOther pockets, such as the first field dressing pocket on the arms secure with buttons in the usual manner:imageThe earliest releases of the DPM Smock Parachutist did not have this pocket, it was a later addition to the design sometime in the 1980s. The shoulder straps use the same green buttons:imageAnd three buttons are positioned around the back of the neck to allow a hood to be attached, although this seems to have been rarely ever used by the Paras:imageThe smock is secured up the front by a long, exposed zip:imageWhilst a large pocket runs across the lower rear of the skirt to allow soft kit to be carried here:imageThis example dates form the mid-1990s as can be seen from the label where there is no manufacturer’s name, just a contract number:imageAs ever ARRRSE has an interesting take on the Smock Parachutists:

Introduced in the mid-1970s, the voluminous smock is a throwback to the early Denison Smocks, which were meant to be worn over Battle Dress. It has four bellows-style pockets and a small FFD pouch – all fastened with press studs; woollen cuffs and a curious (externally stowed) crotch flap that has little if any use.

The jacket rates very highly on the ally scale for obvious reasons and at one time they were very hard to come by unless one had passed P Company and done the jumps. Nowadays, they’re easy to source and are affordable.

As a practical field jacket they’re not very good. They don’t dry out quickly and the woolly cuffs make one’s wrists sweat like a chunkie in a maths test in hot weather. They are, however, hard-wearing and surprisingly load bearing – the pockets can be stuffed with staggering quantities of essentials.

If shelling out, one would be better off spending one’s beer tokens on a decent windproof. That said, CS95 is perfectly adequate for field use.

The smock can be worn in two distinct styles:

  • Bloused – Tucked up around the waist. Typically worn in this style with Lightweights. This is ‘old school’ and is rarely seen these days.
  • Unbloused – Hanging below the knees. Worn with brightly-coloured tropical kecks, this style was started by the Pathfinders of 5 Airborne Brigade and has been emulated by many since.

 

WARNING. WEARING THIS SMOCK DOES NOT MAKE YOU AN AIRBORNE GOD.

The wearing of this item of clothing without any valid reason could result in the wearer being torn a fresh arsehole by The Badge.

Since the introduction of MTP however, the smock has regained its previous rarity, possibly due to the new PCS smocks being a lot better, or because the smocks are actually only issued to airborne qualified personnel again.Whittaker

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