Category Archives: Gulf War

Desert DPM Combat Body Armour

Tonight we are following up the post on the Combat Body Armour from earlier in the year here. When the Gulf War broke out this body armour was just becoming standard issue to infantry troops and at that time was only issued in a temperate green DPM cover. The Times reported at the start of the war on 14th February 1991:

Britain’s troops in the Gulf are being issued with ultra-light body armour which is claimed to be the finest in the world(Nick Nuttall writes). Front line units are being clothed in layers of ballistic nylon and Kevlar fibres, a material five times stronger than steel. Commanders hope that all British troops will have the armour before the land offensive begins. The Royal Scots, Royal Fusiliers and Staffords have been kitted out, but some combat engineers, artillerymen and members of tank regiments are still waiting. Although the basic armour is only designed to stop shrapnel, the full protective kit can stop a ricocheting bullet…

New covers in Desert DPM fabric were rapidly produced for this body armour and it is one of these we are considering tonight:imageA comparison with the woodland pattern shows the design of the covers is virtually identical, save for the different camouflage pattern. The front of the CBA has the same pair of pockets, one large and one small:imageThe same straps are positioned around the waist to adjust the fit, with Velcro used to secure them:imageNote also that the strap on the back to attach the armour to a belt is still attached on this set of CBA:imageThese were commonly cut off so it’s a nice feature to still have. Sadly this CBA cover does not have proper armour in, just a piece of foam cut to the right shape, but I do have a couple of set of ballistic filler if I did ever want to swap it over . The CBA cover has a standard label, with the owner’s name and number written on in pen.imageI find it interesting that despite there being space for a name and number on the label, troops seem to universally just write over the whole label in large black writing!


Gulf War Sleeping Bag Liner

The First Gulf War found the British Army very underprepared in some areas of equipment- the army not having expected to fight in desert conditions at any time in the foreseeable future. Quickly orders were placed for new uniforms, equipment and accessories to suit the conditions with the new items delivered remarkable rapidly. Interestingly these items are often marked with the British Army’s code name for its operations in the Gulf War ‘Granby’. This particular item is a tan sleeping bag liner, still in the plastic package from stores:imageThe label on the liner indicates it was made by Trendsetter Quilts Ltd in 1991- note both the large /|\ markings and the ‘Granby’ on the label:imageThis information is repeated on the plastic bag, along with a hand stamped date of 29th April 199?:imageTrendsetter Quilts were a firm from Oldham Lancashire that had been founded in 1972, sadly like so much of British manufacturing they are currently dissolved, seemingly having gone out of business in May of this year.

I have not unpacked my sleeping bag liner as I am not convinced I will be able to fold it back up again afterwards, but this image from another site shows what it consists of:liner-sleeping-bag-3A sleeping bag liner is used to add extra warmth to a sleeping bag without adding a lot of extra weight to be carried. They work by trapping an additional layer of air between the user and the outside, this aids insulation and helps keep body heat in and cold out. A sleeping bag liner also aids hygiene as it can be easily washed and helps prevent the sleeping bag from absorbing body odours, sweat etc.

Gulf War DDPM Shirt

When the First Gulf War broke out in 1991, the British Army was woefully underprepared for a conflict in the dessert. Although a four colour Desert DPM camouflage pattern had been developed in the 1980s, as the MoD could not see an immediate use for it the design had been used to produce uniforms for the export market and sold to Iraq; it was also produced under license for Kuwait and Saudi Arabia amongst others. As the level of threat increased in the middle east it became clear that British forces might need to deploy to the region and having an identical pattern of camouflage to potential enemies would only cause confusion or worse. The eventual two tone desert camouflage was different enough to go into production and quantities were received by troops taking part in the First Gulf War. Due to the short turnaround times though, the DDPM uniforms were essentially the old tropical uniforms produced in the new fabric. Tonight we are considering one of these DDPM shirts, and it is interesting to contrast the design with that of the CS95 DDPM shirt we looked at here: imageThe shirt has two patch pockets, one on either breast, these are bellowed to allow expansion and secured with flap tops and a single button:imageThe buttons are the same design used on many British Army uniforms since the Second World War. The shirt also has a pen pocket on the upper sleeve:imageEach shoulder has a buttoned strap for the displaying of rank and to help secure webbing under if desired:imageThe shirt is secured with a zip, that is then covered by button fly:imageThe collar has the ability to be turned up and secured with a button, although I doubt this was ever done in practice:imageThe cuffs are also buttoned, with a tab and pair of buttons provided to give differing degrees of tightness:imageAs with all modern military equipment, the shirt has a white label inside giving details of sizing, washing instructions and manufacturer:imageIt is interesting to note that this shirt was made by a British manufacturer, J Compton Sons & Webb Ltd, most modern British Army uniforms being produced in China! We end on a wonderful photograph of a chap on active service in the Gulf War pairing the DDPM uniform with 58 pattern webbing and a Sterling SMG:image