American Camo in Normandy theather

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Sturmmann_Fritz
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American Camo in Normandy theather

Post by Sturmmann_Fritz » 01 Dec 2004 00:57

I saw this topic on the History channel the other day and I was wondering if there was any truth behind it. I hope this topic has not been recently discussed... if so I am sorry. Anyways The show I watched showed American soldiers, I believe from the 2nd Armor, not sure, but still Americans who gave up their ussual uniforms for a camo uniform. However these soldiers soon found out the hard way that they were easily mistaken for SS cand other German unit camo clad troops. As anyone would have done the Americans soon turned there camo for the normal uniform. Is this true?

interested,

Fritz

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thunderw21
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Post by thunderw21 » 01 Dec 2004 01:53

That is quite true. There were acutally several friendly fire incidents because of it. After that, they changed back to the normal olive drab uniforms.

Cheers,
Will

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Wm. Harris
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Post by Wm. Harris » 18 Dec 2004 19:16

This was discussed in some length on another forum I visit -- the unforms were apparently M1942 camo HBTs. The following information was provided by Ed Walton of Lost Battalions, a supplier of uniforms and equipment to reenactors:

Generally speaking, the combat arms branches were opposed to camouflage due to their feelings about the use of camo in the Pacific in 1943, but the engineers believed in camo and were pushing the idea for Europe. As a result, it was decided that there would be three test battalions in Normandy wearing the camo in July. One battalion of the 30th ID - which earned them the nickname of "Roosevelt's SS", the organic combat engineer battalion of the 2nd Armored, and one battalion of the 2nd ID. I've not found any reference to the specific battalions by number for the infantry divisions, nor the regimetns. So you have a coverage of less than 1/14th table strength in each of the three divisions wearing these uniforms so that's a very small pool of people and all in front line positions with very high turnover. For instance, the second ID had 15,000 battle casualties from 6/44 to 5/45 against a table strength of 14,000. The British published books about US uniforms claim the camo was quickly withdrawn due to battle casualties from friendly fire as a result of mistaken identity for Waffen-SS dot camo. While researching this, I found that there were in fact friendly fire incidents between the 29th Division and the 2nd Division right after the 2nd ID came ashore, but it was caused by the dark green OD7 HBT fatigues being worn by the 2nd ID. The 29th had not seen that color before and it apparently looked to them like German reed green. I never found any specific historical incidents of friendly fire against the test battalions. I discussed this many years ago with Jonathan Gawne, editor of the defunct US edition of "Militaria Magazine," publisher of the old lamented "G.I. Journal" and author of "Spearheading D-Day" and many other books, who is probably the foremost authority on US uniforms. Jon told me he had researched the AARs in the National Archives specifically to find out about these alleged friendly fire incidents involving camouflage and he found nothing. Not one incident. Then he researched for the orders pulling the uniforms and found nothing. This British theory about US uniforms is further disproved by the fact that photos show these uniforms still being used by personnel in those units in late September 1944. The decision had already been made before the fact that camo would not be used in Europe and this "test" was merely a sop to the camo agitators in the Engineer Corps. The uniforms were issued to a relatively miniscule number of people and the uniforms were allowed to live out their combat lifespans of a few weeks and never replaced. It's notable that in the photos in September, such as the 2nd ID at Brest, there is usually only one or two men in each shot still surviving who has camo as compared to early July photos where everyone in the photo is wearing camo. The average lifespan of a combat infantryman with his unit in Europe was reckoned to be about 15 days. At that point, he was either dead or sent back wounded. Of course, we all know of guys who bought it immediately and others who survived straight through from June to May unscathed. However, you get the point. These uniforms didn't last long because the guys wearing them didn't last long.


A very lengthy article about friendly fire, which goes into the camo uniform incidents in Normandy: http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/Shrader/shrader.asp

And finally, some pics:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v173/ ... moHBTs.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v173/ ... oHBT_2.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v173/ ... amoHBT.jpg

Best regards,

Bill H.

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Sturmmann_Fritz
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Post by Sturmmann_Fritz » 19 Dec 2004 05:56

thanks for the info and pics... a very interesting subject to me... and how it was sorta declared that no allies would use camo in the Eureopean Theather.

Thanks again,

Fritz

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Tracer
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Post by Tracer » 10 Mar 2005 19:17

Man.. looking at those photos.. and knowing what I know about the look of SS camo.. heck.. I'd have probably fired on them as well.. and of course regretted it later.

Reminds me of "The Night of the Bayonet" scene from BoB.. ;)

-Tracer

JamesL
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Post by JamesL » 10 Mar 2005 20:52

The few US Marines assigned to THIRD ARMY wore USMC camo uniforms. They too complained about being mistaken for German troops.

In his autobiography "Wanderer" Hollywood actor Sterling Hayden talks about his service in the USMC in the Adriatic and Europe. Hayden was given an award by Tito.

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Sturmmann_Fritz
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Post by Sturmmann_Fritz » 11 Mar 2005 04:31

Tracer wrote:Man.. looking at those photos.. and knowing what I know about the look of SS camo.. heck.. I'd have probably fired on them as well.. and of course regretted it later.

Reminds me of "The Night of the Bayonet" scene from BoB.. ;)

-Tracer


yea I thought the same thing.

Fritz

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Dennis Redler
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Post by Dennis Redler » 11 Mar 2005 06:26

Here's a photo from a book titled "Waffen SS" by Martin Windrow. It was captioned as being taken in Normandy. That cammo overall the German is wearing is definately U.S. regulation. I wonder where he got it? I wonder if this is the reason Americans were fired upon while wearing cammo?
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Post by gewehrdork » 13 Mar 2005 16:32

The pic of the "captured SS sniper is posed. Note the commonwealth sniper has not even got his scope mounted on his No4T rifle , then add in the US "duck hunter" camo , and wham it all is apparent this is not a real situation.

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Post by Pink panther » 14 Mar 2005 11:16

HY !
few pictures ? .°
I hope you like. :)

Image
Image
Image

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Dennis Redler
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Post by Dennis Redler » 14 Mar 2005 22:37

I dug this from storage to show you all since we're on the subject.
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Dennis Redler
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Post by Dennis Redler » 14 Mar 2005 22:40

Here's another shot of the overall partially unzipped and showing the internal suspenders and also the reverse colors.
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Dennis Redler
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Post by Dennis Redler » 14 Mar 2005 22:45

The pic of the "captured SS sniper is posed. Note the commonwealth sniper has not even got his scope mounted on his No4T rifle , then add in the US "duck hunter" camo , and wham it all is apparent this is not a real situation.

I'm curious as to why the commonwealth soldiers would dress up the enemy in an American uniform for a photo op?

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