Drilling and Training

World War One Putting on Puttees

Putting on Puttees

Wrapping puttees can be a tricky exercise for even the most experienced soldier and so for both the experienced and inexperienced, following are some simple instructions to help you put on the puttee.

Before putting your puttees on make sure your breeches are comfortably, but snugly laced at your calf.  If not, once the puttees are put on you will find them tugging uncomfortably at the legs of your breeches (see figure 1).

Figure 1

1) Roll up the puttees.  Start the roll by rolling the cotton tape, gradually towards the wool strip and roll that up as well.  Roll the puttees up in so that the cotton tape is in the center of the roll.  The loose end of the rolled puttee is the starting point and as you unroll and work up the leg, the tape will be exposed last and at the top of the calf.

2) You may find it comfortable to prop your foot up on a bench or a box.  Take your rolled up puttee and find the loose end of the roll.  Starting with about six inches, place it against your shin and unroll towards your boot top (figure 2).

 

Starting to wrap puttees
Figure 2

3) At the boot top fold the puttee so that you can start wrapping it around your leg.  Start with the material over lapping the top of your boots and make two passes around the tops, pulling the puttees snug (figure 3).

Figure 3

4) Once you have made a couple passes around the top of the boots, continue wrapping the puttees around your leg with each pass overlapping the previous wrap, until you reach the top of your calf below the knee (figure 4).  At this point you should reach the end of the wool puttee and come to the cotton tape.  Unroll the cotton tape, wrapping it snugly around the top of the puttee to hold it in place (figure 5).  Reaching the end of the tape tie it off as a hitch knot.

Wrapping Puttees
Figure 4
Wrapped puttees
Figure 5

When wearing the puttee they should be snug, but not so much so that circulation is cut off or that they are uncomfortable.  Also as already pointed out the leg of the breeches should be pulled up enough so that they are laced at the calf.  If not, you will notice an uncomfortable tugging on the legs of the breeches.  Finally the cotton tape should be snug to hold the top of the puttees in place and keep them from unraveling.  Take some time to practice this until you are comfortable putting them on.  The real Doughboys could do this in the dark.

 

Puttees
Figure 6

 

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