The 1980s were an odd time for the development of NBC clothing. A new pattern of NBC uniform was introduced, the Mk IV, and a new colour was adopted with plain olive green giving way to DPM camouflage. There was however a transitional period when the new smock was made in the old fabric, and the old pattern made in the new. It is this which concerns us today as we look at a Mk III smock in DPM:

The design is the older slip over the head pattern with a central chest mounted pocket, rather then the newer design that fastened up the front, but it is clearly manufactured in the newer camouflage material. The design has a large hood with a drawstring to allow it to be tightened around the respirator face piece for a secure seal:

The ends of the sleeves are cinched in with tapes and velcro to allow this action to be done even when wearing gloves:

The same sort of tapes are used to adjust the fit of the waist:

Black panels are included to provide a place to attach detector papers which change colour if chemical agents are present:

The label for the smock is sewn into the hood and clearly identifies this as being a Mk IIIb from 1985:

Happily, this is not the only version of this smock I own as I also have a set still vacuum sealed which lets us look at how it was originally packaged:

A pair of paper inserts are included. The one on the front identifies the contents, sizing and date of packing:

The label on the back illustrates what to do if the drawcord fasteners become broken:

Whilst not impossible to find, the DPM Mk III NBC suit is certainly a little harder to find than the standard olive green versions and with the other variations, there are plenty of different NBC suits to find:

  1. Olive Green Mk III
  2. DPM Mk III
  3. Olive Green Mk IV
  4. DPM Mk IV
  5. Desert DPM Mk IV

There are also examples produced under contract such as in Auscam and possibly an MTP version although I am struggling to find confirmation or a photograph of one of these.


  1. After an NBC protective suit was issued out to the individual, let’s say the package was opened and the suit was actually used, either in training or on operations. Then what happened? Did the soldier keep it as long as he was in that unit (assuming the protective suit was unit property and not individual property) and then turn it in or was it disposed of after having been used–in a non-NBC environment. I imagine that if it had been used in a real NBC environment, it would be collected for safe disposal, although I don’t know of any instances where that actually happened on deployment.

    Also, were boot covers issued separately?

  2. Love the reviews especially the nbc/cbrn gear, as i collect also. Regarding nbc suits used by Australia you will get some photos from this site

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