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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

 

Drilling and Training

World War One Uniform

The subject of uniforms of the American Expeditionary Forces can be quite an extensive topic.  However, in this outline the focus will be on the uniform in relation to its fit and how the uniform should be worn by living historians portraying the American soldier of the First World War.

While not intended to address the various models of the uniform issued to the soldiers in France, it is nonetheless important to learn the characteristics of each of the uniform models issued to the AEF.  The men of the 80th Division and all men of the AEF received the same uniforms.  From both photographs and originally identified uniforms, available in museums or on the collector market, it is known that the M1912 and M1917 uniforms, and the “rough cut” variation of the M1917 uniform were all commonly issued to the division. To learn more about the M1912, M1917, and the rough cut uniforms, the following sources are highly recommended –

“US Enlisted Uniforms 1900 – 1918” by Glenn E. Hyatt, which can be found at http://members.tripod.com/~Fbg_mem_museum/uniftalk/unipat1.htm.  This is a three-part article and the links to each part may be found at the bottom of the page.  It provides a good introduction to the evolution of uniforms in the early 20th century as well as descriptions of the characteristics of each of the uniform models.

“Uniforms of the Doughboy 1917-1918” By Luke Gammache, which can be found at http://www.angelfire.com/mb2/doughboy/index.html.  Another good introduction to the uniforms of the AEF.  Includes descriptions of the 1912, 1917, rough-cut 1917, and the 1918.  Includes photographs of each type of uniform showing details.

Over There! The American Soldier in World War I.  By Jonathan Gawne.  Published by Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA.  ISBN 1-85367-268-8.  This book is another good introduction to the uniform of the American soldier in WW1.

This original photograph is a great place to start as you learn about the uniform of the AEF.  Probably made in 1919 of soldiers attending an army school, it serves as a good illustration of the soldier in his uniform.  Within this photograph, we will be able to see the different elements, that for the living historian, will create an accurate understanding of how it should fit and look.

Uniform Components

These two photographs illustrate the pieces that made up the uniform of the American soldier serving in France.  The photo on the left shows our soldier wearing the issue shirt, breeches, puttees, overseas cap, and dogtags.  The photo on the right shows the addition of the service coat.  The uniform of the American soldier in France differed from that of the solder stateside, namely that the soldier serving in France was issued the leg wraps or “puttees” for wear, rather than the canvas leggings; and the overseas cap was issued instead of the M1911 campaign hat (Montana peak hat).  The overseas caps were deemed easier to stow away when the helmet had to be worn.

One practice that seems to be common in the AEF and which we can see in the original photo is that of wearing the shirt collar exposed.  Often the close-fitting collar of the service coat would chafe the neck and the remedy was to pull out the shirt collar and wear it over the coat collar.  We can see this in the original photo, 5th man from the left, second row.

The Fit of the Uniform

Take a moment to look back at the original photograph that we started with.  As you look over the photograph, you will notice that a number of men are wearing uniforms that fit just right, while a number of other men are wearing uniforms that may either be too large or too small.  It is correct and authentic to have a uniform that does not fit perfectly.  The uniform was a ready-made garment in general sizes and what you were issued is what you got.  With this in mind though there are certain areas that in particular should stand out in regards to fit.

The first that that should stand out is that the cut and tailoring of the uniform creates an hourglass figure.  The effect should generally be that of broad shoulders, narrow waist and wider hips or thighs as illustrated in our next two photos (notice the pink highlighting).

The next important feature to the fit of the uniform is the level of the waist.  Late 20th and early 21st-century fashion dictate that we today wear our pants at a lower point – on the hips – than the American soldier of the 19th and early 20th century.  At that time the waistline was much higher than we are often accustomed to today.

The waistline of the early 20th century is the “natural waistline” or actual waist and is about the level of the navel or even near to the crook of the elbow as marked in the previous two photos.

The final area of fit is the “finished length.”  This is the length of the coat starting at the collar and finishing at the hem.  The length should extend about 10-12 inches beyond the waistline.  In general, the finished length should fall somewhere between the wrist and the fingertips of the wearer as seen in this photo.

The Position of the Collar Disk

This photo of the collar disks on the collar of the uniform is pretty self-explanatory if you are placing your collar disks.  If you are looking at the tunic the “US” is placed on your left (which is the right side of the coat collar) and the branch of service disk is placed on your right (which is the left side of the coat collar).

Other than the collar disk and when acceptable rank chevrons, there are to be no decorations or awards worn on the uniform. Overall the uniform of the American soldier was rather plain and unadorned and we must reflect the same.

(a)    Divisional insignia – Authorized in late October 1918, too late to be of wide issuance to the division

(b)   Overseas chevrons – One chevron authorized for each 6-month period overseas.  Most of the men of the division earned 2 chevrons, the first authorized December 1918/January 1919.

(c)    Wound stripes – Awarded for each wounding event.  These were awarded for actually being injured.  If you have never shed your blood in service, it is highly inappropriate for you to wear one.  The Purple Heart replaced the wound stripe in 1932.

(d)   Awards of Valor – Awards for valor are the result of a soldier’s actions and brave deeds with a threat to life, and as such it is highly inappropriate for any such award to be worn.  Historically most of these awards were not authorized until the summer of 1918 and not awarded for deeds of valor until post-Armistice.

(e)    Campaign and marksmanship medals – The 80th Division was made up of men drafted into service and as such, it is highly unlikely that any of the men and line officers earned any of the pre-war campaign medals.  While the division received marksmanship training, its qualification was not completed until April 1919, and as such, marksmanship medals are not to be worn.

It is very important to keep in mind that our impression is of the 318th Infantry during the Muse-Argonne Offensive (September-November 1918) and most of the awards and decorations would not be authorized until the period after the November 11, 1918 armistice.

Wearing the Helmet

When standing any formations or inspections, etc.  The correct way to wear the helmet with the chin strap worn under the chin, helmet on straight.  Wearing the helmet in this manner is correct and appropriate and heavily supported by photographic evidence.  But once soldiers move into the front, he was very likely to move the chin strap for wear on the back of the head.

A few historians have put forth the theory that a soldier wearing a helmet with the chinstrap under his chin, was likely to receive a broken neck as the result of the concussion of artillery barrages knocking the helmet from his head.  They believe that by moving the chinstrap to the back of the head, such injuries were not experienced, that the helmet was just knocked from the head.  However, it is the belief of others that any soldier that close to artillery shells exploding, to have his neck broken by the chinstrap as the helmet is knocked off, is generally a dead soldier already.  For all the good stories, we believe that the strap is worn on the back of the head for comfort and the quick and easy removal of the helmet for quicker donning of the gas mask.

Take these as you may but keep in mind, when standing formation, drills and inspections, chinstraps under the chin, and when going into the front chin strap on the back of the head.

Hopefully, now you are better armed with the knowledge necessary to authentically wear the uniform of the WW1 American soldier.

Drilling and Training

How to Pack the World War One Infantry Pack

The Infantry Pack
By Vincent Petty and Peter Geiger

Reprinted from Chapter 5, The Infantry Soldier’s Handbook, By William H. Waldron

297. The American soldier’s pack is the result of an exhaustive study of the subject made by a board of officers of the Army. It was adopted by the Government in 1910. It is essentially an American institution, original in design and construction. It is based upon American Ideas of how the American Indian squaw carries her papoose and how the American woodsman carries his load.

It is the lightest as well as the most scientifically constructed Infantry pack in the world.

280. Desirable Features.

1. The center of gravity of the load you carry is brought as closely as possible to the vertical through your own center of gravity.

2. The load is hung upon the framework (skeleton), so as to economize muscular effort to hold it in place or maintain equilibrium.

3. A reduction to a minimum of pressure upon or constriction of any of the soft body parts, large blood vessels or nerves.

4. It eliminates all obstacles to the full expansion of your chest, thus giving free play to your lungs and heart.

5. The load is arranged so that there will be no interference with the free use of your arms and legs.

281. The degree of comfort with which you will carry the pack depends entirely upon the manner in which you prepare it and adjust it to your body. There is a right way and a wrong way. Get your’s right. It will pay large dividends in comfort and efficiency.

282. There are two methods of preparing the roll. (a) when rations are NOT carried the “long roll” is made up; (b) when rations are carried the “short roll” is made up. The length of the folded blanket is the determining factor in the length of the roll. It is rolled the long way for the long roll and the short way for the short roll.

283. Contents of roll when the long roll is made up.

One shelter tent half; one shelter tent pole (when provided); five shelter tent pins; one shelter tent guy rope; one poncho; one blanket; one condiment can; one bacon can; one pair drawers; one undershirt; two pairs of socks; one towel; one cake of soap (in soap box); one comb and one toothbrush.

284. When rations are carried and the short roll is made up the following articles are carried in the haversack instead of the roll itself: one condiment can, containing coffee, sugar salt and pepper; the bacon can containing the meat rations; the underwear, the socks and the toilet articles.

How to make up the Pack 
285. 1. Spread the shelter tent half on the ground. Fold in the triangular end forming an approximate square.

2. Fold the poncho once along its long dimension then twice along its long dimension and lay it on top of the shelter half about 8 inches below the upper (button) edge.

3. Fold the blanket the same way as the poncho and lay it on top of the poncho.

4. Arrange the remaining items of the contents along the edge of the blanket, having the condiment can inside the bacon can and placed at one end to form a solid foundation against which to tighten up the bottom strap of the carrier.

 

5. Fold the two sides of the shelter half over the ends of the blanket. Fold the near edge over these, then fold up about 8 inches the far edge top form the envelope.

 

Now, rolling the pack is a two-man job. Get your bunkie to help you and you can help him. You will find the task much easier if the two of you work together.

6. Begin on the near side and roll the pack just as tight as you possibly can. Take care that nothing slips

 

 

7. As you near the far end of the roll, open up the fold and roll the pack into it thus forming an envelope. This prevents the pack from slipping.

8. To make the short roll for the Pack when rations are carried, the process is the same except that the roll is rolled the short way of the blanket

To put the Pack in the Carrier 
287. 1. Spread the carrier with the haversack attached on the ground and the pack on same. Top of the pack even with the top of the haversack flaps.

2. Fold over the straps and tighten them. Great care should be taken to get the lowest strap pulled up tight. If this strap should come loose you may as well unpack.

A Marching Song to the Tune of Tipperrary
288. It’s the long roll that’s scientific,
It’s the long roll that fits,
Up and down your spinal column,
From your shoulders to your hips
Thirty-nine pounds Stewart tells us,
And you’ve missed some darn good fun,
If you’ve never hiked along the highway,
With this scientific Ton.

Food and Rations

Recreating World War One Foods and Rations

A Guide for Re-creating Foods and Rations

By Vincent Petty

Just as a living historian strives to ensure that his clothing and equipment is correct and authentic to the period he interprets, he must also strive to ensure that the food used is authentic to the impression as well. For the First World War living historian, this can be an interesting challenge.

During the war, the Doughboy usually received his food prepared by company cooks in rolling kitchens, able to prepare meals from canned, fresh and dehydrated foods. These mobile kitchens allowed the cooking and feeding operations of a company to keep up with advances or to operate to the rear of a static line. Food was then brought up to the front in insulated “marmite cans” to be distributed to soldiers in the lines. While training with the British Army in August 1918, Pvt. Rush S. Young, Co. B, 318th Infantry wrote, “As morning came the rolling kitchens in the rear sent a chow detail with some hot coffee and slum-gullion. It was a terrible job trying to carry the food for over a mile in tin cans.” The famed “Old Virginia Never Tires” wagon served the 2nd Battalion, 318th Infantry as a mess wagon.

For the living historian though, there are no rolling kitchens available, and the re-creation of a field kitchen is such an undertaking that it is rarely attempted successfully. Without a kitchen operation, how is a living historian to re-create the rations available to the Doughboy?

When this mobile, unit mess operation was not available, the soldier had to rely on the issuance of a reserve or field ration. According to pre-war and early war manuals the reserve ration was intended as the simplest and most efficient ration available and for one day this ration could consist of:

12 ounces (or ¾ of a pound) of bacon
16 ounces (or 1 pound) of hard bread
1.2 ounces of coffee
1.4 ounces of sugar
.16 ounce of salt

The field ration was intended to consist of the reserve ration either in whole or in part, plus supplemented by articles requisitioned or purchased locally or shipped from the rear. By 1918 rations could be received by the soldiers in the trenches sealed in galvanized iron containers, containing 25 rations – 25 pounds of tinned meat in one pound tins and 25 pounds of hardbread in 8 ounce tins. This sealed container known as the trench ration included tins of meat and hardbread, coffee, sugar, salt and sometimes candy and cigarettes. In their letters, diaries and memoirs the Doughboys all too often wrote of only receiving corned beef and hard bread. When discussing rations it is very important to understand that what was “supposed to be” often differed greatly from “what really was.” This article is intended as a general guide for the WW1 living historian – especially members of the 318th – attempting to re-create the elements of trench rations, or reserve/field rations available to the American soldier in World War One. The goal is not to provide every possible variation of ration items, but to provide a basic understanding of what are appropriate foods to bring to living histories and battle reenactments and a point from which to conduct further research.

As we start, it is important to note that a large portion of the field ration was packaged in cans and tin boxes for effective food preservation, efficient use of shipping space and protection from poison gas contamination. However, after nearly 100 years, the methods of food packaging have changed considerably. The two biggest developments which affect the re-creation of the rations is the switch in the canning industry from smooth bodied cans over to corrugated bodies and the use of “EZ-open” tops. Nothing can be done about the corrugated bodies, and these will be covered by can labels, though the cans with “EZ-open” tops must be avoided (these easy open tops are becoming more common on national brand canned foods, while they remain rare on store brand cans). It is the re-labeling and repackaging that allow authentic rations take shape. It is simply not enough to just remove the modern label, as the cans will still stand out as being “out of period.” Removing the modern label and replacing it with a period label will go a long way to creating a period item.

So how does one re-label cans? The first step is to actually start a collection of original canned food labels. You should keep these in a handy folder, and whenever a label is needed, carry the folder down to the local office supply or Kinko’s and have the original color copied. Color copying will give you the best quality reproduction from the original. Another option is to print reproduction labels from computer files such as jpg or pdf files. The original label should be scanned at 300 dpi or better and then printed on a laser printer. If you do not own a laser printer such files can be saved to a disk and again taken down to an office supply/Kinko’s and printed on the laser printer from the disk. Once the reproduction label is created, remove the modern label from the can and apply the reproduction to the can – it’s that simple.

During the period, canned vegetables and fruit often came in 28 and 29-ounce cans, which are still available today. On the other hand, though, should you find yourself in possession of a label that is too big, a slight reduction in the copy size will make it fit. For example, if copying an original 2 pound can label for a modern 28 or 29 ounce can, you might find that copying at 95% of the original will give you a reproduction label that fits the modern can perfectly.

Collecting vintage canned food labels is a growing and popular hobby and finding and purchasing labels at a reasonable cost is very easy. E-bay is a very good source and a large number of labels are always available. The single best source for original can labels is Dwayne Rogers of Chico, CA. Mr. Rogers’ website can be found at http://thelabelman.com/ or his label auctions can be found on E-bay under the user ID “thelabelman.” On his website look under the “Gallery Links” for “cans” and this will take you to the section of his website where he sells original can labels. He has all sorts of labels that will be found to be useful – fruit and vegetable can labels, canned salmon labels, tinned milk, etc. He also provides the dimensions of the labels, which will allow matching it up with an appropriate can size.

The only labels that The Labelman does not list on his website are labels for the trapezoidal meat cans. For this style can, the best labels available are reproduction labels from Tommy’s Pack Fillers; the website can be found at http://www.tommyspackfillers.com. This company is based in the UK and prices are listed in pounds. However, purchases can be made using Paypal.

Recommended tinned corned beef labels include –

  • “Fitzroy Compressed Corned Beef replica label from the Central Queensland Meat Export Co Ltd. of Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia.”
  • “Armour Brand Corned Beef. Armour and Co “Veribest” brand (Chicago) Corned Beef label.”
  • “Fray Bentos Corned Beef label. “Fray Bentos” Corned Beef label by Liebig’s Extract of Beef Co, (OXO Ltd.) London, England. Product of Argentina, shipped via Fray Bentos, Uruguay.”
  • “Libby, McNeill & Libby, Corned Beef label. Full color, Libby, McNeill & Libby of Chicago U.S.A.”
  • Tommy’s Pack Fillers also offers nearly 100 reproduction labels for canned meats, tinned milk, canned vegetables, condensed soup, and candy. Some of these labels have been adjusted for modern and popular smaller can sizes.

When purchasing canned food labels stick to labels from between 1890 to 1920. Of course, these are years nearest to the war years; but beyond this period the artwork and design of labels change as a result of food labeling laws. I also have a growing collection of can labels and candy wrappers (chocolate bars and chewing gum) that I am happy to share with members of the 318th.

Meat
Corned beef was probably the most common form of the meat ration. This is the stuff that comes in the 12-ounce trapezoidal cans. It is still available in any grocery store in the canned meat section from companies such as Libby, Armour or the store’s brand, such as Food Lion. While Hormel’s corned beef still comes in the trapezoidal can, these cans now have an “EZ-open” pop-top, which is not historically accurate and can not be hidden.

Canned salmon was probably the next most common variation of the meat ration. Today it is also found in the same canned meat section of any grocery store that the corned beef is found. Current brands include Chicken of the Sea, BumbleBee, Royal Pink, Double Q, and the store’s brand and generally come in 14.75-ounce cans.

Bacon is probably the easiest part of the ration to re-create, requiring no special labeling or packaging (while bacon is acceptable to use, the soldier usually received cooked bacon through the rolling kitchens, rather than issued as part of the field rations). The only storage necessary is the M1916 bacon tin. Cured bacon can be found in any grocery or specialty store. For those not able to find unsliced cured bacon in their local grocery there are a number of companies that offer bacon through mail order. Edwards of Surry, Virginia sells cured slab bacon in a slab that is about 5 pounds and costs about $20. Edwards has two retail stores located in Surry County and Williamsburg, Virginia, but they also conduct business by mail order. Edwards can be reached toll-free at 1-800-222-4267 or visit their website http://www.Virginiatraditions.com/. Scott Hams in Greenville, Kentucky is another possible source. Cured bacon from Scott’s is about $2.50 per pound in 9-13 pound slabs. Scott’s Ham’s may be reached toll-free at 1-800-318-1353 or visit their website at http://www.scotthams.com/store.

Bread
The soldier’s bread ration usually came in one of two possible forms – hardbread and loaf bread. Unlike the Civil War era living historian who is fortunate enough to have a manufacturer of correct hardbread, the WW1 living historian is not as fortunate. The best approximation is unsalted saltine crackers. Early in the war crackers were issued to the soldier in cardboard boxes. However, these were prone to getting damp and becoming spoiled and contaminated by poison gas. By 1918 crackers were received sealed in tin containers.

It might seem odd with the concerns over spoilage and gas contamination; however, it was fairly common for the Doughboy to receive loaf bread (again usually with food coming from the rolling kitchen). Loaves of bread can be bought at any local bakery and should generally be about one pound, plain white and unsliced. Be careful with modern ethnic and gourmet varieties.

Canned Fruits, Vegetables and Soups 
Fruits and vegetables received by the American soldier in France were most often of the canned variety and stewed tomatoes were the most commonly canned item available. More canned tomatoes were shipped to France than all other canned fruits and vegetables combined. Canned products such as pork-n-beans, green beans, peas, corn, potatoes, berries, peaches, apples, prunes, and pineapple were at times available, but when shipping space was at a premium they were not shipped, in favor of using that space to ship canned tomatoes. When using canned fruits and vegetables stick to the staples and avoid the exotic products. You can’t go wrong with whole stewed tomatoes or canned peaches.

Due to the immense demand during the war for nutritious soup, the Joseph Campbell Company (today Campbell Soup) introduced vegetable beef soup to be used as a ration item; tomato may have been available as well. If using condensed soup stick with beef vegetable or tomato. It is doubtful that a great variety was shipped to France and many of the condensed soups that we are familiar with are products of the 1930s and 40s (such as chicken noodle or cream of mushroom). Many of the WW1 era varieties, such as oxtail soup, are no longer available. Campbell’s condensed soups are now offered with “EZ-open” tops, so that store brand condensed soups are the better option. Tommy’s Pack Fillers offers reproduction labels for tomato soup.

Coffee, Sugar, Salt
There is no need to do anything special about coffee, sugar, or salt. We all have it in our home kitchen. Coffee may simply be ground or soluble (the period term for instant coffee). Soluble coffee was relatively new product invented by Japanese-American chemist Satori Kato of Chicago in 1901 (In 1938, Nescafe or freeze-dried coffee was invented). Soluble coffee could be found in the trench ration and was popular with the army because it allowed the soldier to “brew” a cup of coffee using jellied fuel, rather than fires, which were not permitted on the front. Those that are not coffee drinkers will find that tea is certainly an option but it was not as popular with the American soldier. Also for those who prefer milk in their coffee, evaporated milk was sometimes available to the soldier. Original and reproduction evaporated milk labels are available.

Condiment cans were issued and permitted the soldier to carry several days’ ration of coffee and sugar. The container was divided in the middle with screw caps at each end. In one end the coffee was stored and in the opposite end the sugar was stored. Further, within one of the end caps was another small container for salt.

Candies and Sweets
Early in the war the army averaged a purchase of 300,000 pounds of candy per month for the entire army and by November 1918 1.37 million pounds of candy per month, mostly for soldiers in France. Candy could be issued or the soldier bought candy from service organizations operating canteens, such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the YMCA. The army bought from many of the top candy makers in the United States and France and candy purchased included assorted chocolates, assorted candy sticks, and lemon drops. In addition to candy chewing gum was provided as well, with the monthly supply amounting to 1.5 million packs during the summer of 1918. Unfortunately for most soldiers, the canteens all to often sold out of candy on hand and it was not until December 1918 that candy became a regular issue item. It was also in December 1918 that the army also took over supplying canteens with candy; the purchase for that month amounted to 10 million pounds.

Candy and gum should be treated as something special with maybe one or two candy bars or packs of gum used as part of your rations. Keep it small and keep it simple.

Hershey’s Kisses were developed in 1907 and up until 1921 they were hand wrapped in silver-colored foil (it was not until 1962 that kisses were available in colored foils). It was also in 1921 that the little paper flags were added and in 1924 a registered trademark was received. It is not known exactly when these began to become known as Kisses or how the kiss came by the name, but it is generally accepted that the name for the candy came from the “kissing” sound the production machine made when making the candy. Between 1909 and 1931, the kiss was sometimes known as “Sweethearts”, “Silvertops” and “Silverpoints” based on different milk chocolate formulas used during that period. This is really the easiest candy to make into a period item, simply by opening the foil wrapper and removing the paper flag.

Chocolate bars had become popular prior to the war. The milk chocolate Hershey’s bar was introduced in 1900 and the Hershey’s bar with almonds was introduced in 1908. In 1917 the Clark Bar was developed as a candy bar for the soldiers in France. It is difficult to find original wrappers for chocolate bars to make reproductions from, though on occasion they appear on E-bay. However, Tommy’s Pack Fillers offers several reproduction chocolate bar wrappers from both English and Canadian companies that are acceptable for use. I also have a number of original chocolate bar labels including Hershey’s. Candy bars were often packaged with both an inner wrapper and the outer label. For the inner wrapper use a lightweight paper or a foil wrapper. Silver foil wrappers for candy bars can be purchased from “Candy Wrap Designs” athttp://www.candywrapdesigns.com/foils.html.

Chewing gum was also available to the American soldier. Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit (1893), Spearmint (1893), and Doublemint (1914) were all available prior to the war. There were also a number of other brands available. Again the important part is the period wrappers. It is not uncommon to find vintage chewing gum wrappers on E-bay. Remember that wrappers for the individual stick as well as the 5-stick wrapper are needed and I have a Beech-Nut wrapper for single stick and 5 pack. The stick of gum should be wrapped in an inner wrapper, then the stick label. Five sticks then are wrapped in the pack label.

Local French Foods
While the army provided the bulk of soldiers’ food, the French population served as a possible source of food available for purchase. The soldier was sometimes able to purchase such items as eggs, cheese, breads, preserved meats, fresh vegetables, and wines. It is a good idea to take the time to research the foods that the French population might have sold to the American soldier. A good place to start your own research is with the website “French Cheese” found at http://www.frencheese.co.uk/. As with candy, locally purchased foods should be used sparingly as a small addition to the military ration.

Now with an understanding of appropriate foods, it should now be easy to re-create the rations that the American soldier might have used during the First World War.

Notes –
For an interesting overview of the Quartermaster Corps in WW1 check out “Quartermaster Activities in World War I Extracted From America’s Munitions 1917-1918 Report of Benedict Crowell, The Assistant Secretary of War, Director of Munitions Government Printing Office, Washington – 1919.” This article can be found at http://www.qmfound.com/americas_munitions.htm. It is a good, though sometimes overly upbeat, overview of the operations of subsistence and quartermaster departments written soon after the end of the war.

personal equipment

80th Division Personal Items

Personal Items

Along with the basic kit of the infantryman, there are a number of other items that members may find are necessary to round out their impression or to provide some comfort. The following are a list of reproduction or original items that will be useful for rounding out the kit and for living history displays.

Extra Bags

Often the soldier in France found that his M1910 equipment kit did not offer enough capacity to carry all of his belongings and food. As a result, many acquired an extra bag or Musette bag to help carry extra belongings.

Great War Militaria http://www.greatwar.com offers a reproduction French bread bag that may be used as a musette bag (Item number RPF044). There is plenty of photographic and early motion picture evidence of French bags being used by American soldiers.

SHAVING KIT:

During WW1 the American soldier was required to shave daily to ensure a neat military appearance as well as the best possible seal when the gas mask was work. As a result, each soldier was to have a shaving kit. E-bay is a good source for original cased “military” or “traveling” safety razors for under $20. Most of these were manufactured by Gillette.

E-bay website – www.ebay.com

SHAVING MIRROR:

Both original and reproduction shaving mirrors are available. E-bay is a great source for original trench mirrors.

E-bay website – www.ebay.com

Tommy’s Pack Fillers has available a metal trench mirror

Tommy’s Pack Fillers
Geoff Carefoot, proprietor
18 Risedale Drive,
Longridge,
Lancashire,
ENGLAND,
UK, PR3 3SB
e-mail – geoff@tommyspackfillers.com
website – www.tommyspackfillers.com

SOAP AND SOAP CASES:

For the soldier’s toiletry kit we recommend good ol’ Ivory Soap, especially since it was available during the war. This will do just fine to wash your face and hands as well as to shave with. Once you have your soap a tin soapbox will be necessary to protect your soap and to protect your gear from soggy soap. A tin soapbox is available from Village Tinsmithing Works for about $9 (item #48).

Village Tinsmithing Works
PO Box 539
Hamptonville, NC 27020
336-468-1190
website – http://www.csa-dixie.com/villagetinsmith/index.htm

WASHCLOTH AND TOWEL:

For a washcloth and hand towel, we recommend cloths and towels made from a cotton toweling material simply known as “huck.” This material had been in use long before the war and is still in use today. Any good local fabric store should have huck by the yard from which you can make your own washcloths and towels. If your local fabric store does not have huck available then contact Joann’s Fabric and Craft StoresJoann’s Fabric is local to most all of our members and carries huck by the yard as well as ready-made towels. Huck by the yard and as ready-made towels can also be found on Joann’s Fabric website.

Website — http://joann.com/ use the website’s search feature by simply typing in “HUCK”

TOOTHBRUSH:

For a toothbrush, we recommend a bone-handled boar bristled 19th or early 20th-century reproduction. There are a number of sources that provide a period appropriate brush.

From James Townsend and Son the toothbrush can be found under the “personal accessories” section of their website, item #JT-971, for $7.

Jas. Townsend and Son,Inc.
133 North First St
PO Box 415
Pierceton, IN 46562
574-594-5852
574-594-5580 fax
website – http://jas-townsend.com

Fall Creek Sutlery also has the same toothbrush available for $6.

Fall Creek Sutlery
PO Box 92
Whitestown, IN 46075
765-482-1861
website – http://www.fcsutler.com/

Regimental Quartermaster has available a bone toothbrush (item #PE-15) for $6.

Regimental Quartermaster 
P.O. Box 553 Hatboro, PA 19040
215-672-6891
215-672-9020 fax
e-mail – regtqm@aol.com 
website – http://www.regtqm.com/ 
Regimental Quartermaster’s Retail store
49 Steinwehr AvenueGettysburg. PA 1732
717-338-1864
e-mail – cwheritage@aol.com

Tommy’s Pack Fillers has available a reproduction toothbrush. They are a white bone handle, natural bristle, period toothbrush with engraved/printed manufacturer details and/or date and various period manufacturers. Since Tommy’s is located in the UK, Pay Pal is recommended for hassle free purchases. Cost is £10.00 (about $15-$18.)

Tommy’s Pack Fillers
Geoff Carefoot, proprietor
18 Risedale Drive,
Longridge,
Lancashire,
ENGLAND,
UK, PR3 3SB
e-mail – geoff@tommyspackfillers.com
website – www.tommyspackfillers.com

TOOTH POWDER:

Along with a toothbrush, something to put on the brush is necessary as well. Toothpaste was available by the war, however, toothpaste is a early 20th-century container is not available. The best option is to use toothpowder, which is actually still common.

Fall Creek Sutlery has available toothpowder in a somewhat appropriate tin.

Fall Creek Sutlery
PO Box 92
Whitestown, IN 46075
765-482-1861
website – http://www.fcsutler.com/

Drugstore.com has available on its website Arm & Hammer Dental Care Baking Soda brand toothpowder. Great stuff and all that will be needed is a period appropriate container. It can be found on Drugstore.com’s website under “personal care – oral care – toothpastes.”

Drugstore.com website — http://www.drugstore.com/

An appropriate “tin” container can be had from Village Tinsmithing Works to place toothpowder in for about $12 (item #85). Another option from this company is their “pill or ointment” tin for $2 (item #96). There are also a number of other uses for which these containers are acceptable.

Village Tinsmithing Works
PO Box 539
Hamptonville, NC 27020
336-468-1190
website – http://www.csa-dixie.com/villagetinsmith/index.htm

James Townsend also has a tin box available that would be appropriate for holding tooth powder (item #BX-232)

Jas. Townsend and Son,Inc.
133 North First St
PO Box 415
Pierceton, IN 46562
574-594-5852
574-594-5580 fax
website – http://jas-townsend.com

HAIR COMB:

There are a number of sources available for wood, horn, or hard rubber hair combs

Fall Creek Sutlery has available a wooden comb ($4.95) or a horn “lice” comb ($7.95) in the area of their website titled “haversack stuffers.”

Fall Creek Sutlery
PO Box 92
Whitestown, IN 46075
765-482-1861
website – http://www.fcsutler.com/

Regimental Quartermaster has a number of combs listed on their website. A hard rubber comb marked “Army-Navy India Rubber Comb Co.” on one side and “Goodyear’s patent May 6, 1851” on the other is available under the section titled “campaigner” and sells for $7.50. Regimental Quartermaster also has a wooden comb (item #PE-17) for $3.75.

Regimental Quartermaster 
P.O. Box 553 Hatboro, PA 19040
215-672-6891
215-672-9020 fax
e-mail – regtqm@aol.com 
website – http://www.regtqm.com/ 
Regimental Quartermaster’s Retail store
49 Steinwehr AvenueGettysburg. PA 1732
717-338-1864
e-mail – cwheritage@aol.com

 

Tommy’s Pack Fillers has available a horn hair comb for £6.00 ($9.00 to $11.00)

Tommy’s Pack Fillers
Geoff Carefoot, proprietor
18 Risedale Drive,
Longridge,
Lancashire,
ENGLAND,
UK, PR3 3SB
e-mail – geoff@tommyspackfillers.com
website – www.tommyspackfillers.com

FOOT POWDER:

Easily found in any soldier’s kit was a tin of foot powder to help maintain healthy feet and combat any problems. While original military and commercial varieties do appear on E-bay, they can be rather expensive. Tommy’s Pack Fillers sells an original WWII period medicated foot powder shaker tin (it’s the same tin used in WW1) with WWI period label printed with “Antiseptic Foot Powder for the use of Soldiers on Service and all who suffer from Tender-foot! By T. & H. Smith of Edinburgh.” His comes filled and they can be refilled.

Tommy’s Pack Fillers
Geoff Carefoot, proprietor
18 Risedale Drive,
Longridge,
Lancashire,
ENGLAND,
UK, PR3 3SB
e-mail – geoff@tommyspackfillers.com
website – www.tommyspackfillers.com

SEWING KIT:

Within any soldier’s kit would be found a small sewing kit, used by the soldier to maintain his clothing and uniform. Many of the sewing kits were made available to soldiers through organizations such as the Red Cross. Many were made of OD green cloth that were rolled up and tied with interior pockets that held extra buttons, thread, thimbles, pins and needles. Also available were small tin canisters, which could hold thread, pins, needles and thimbles. The best source for original sewing kits in good condition is E-bay.

E-bay website – www.ebay.com

BIBLES, FRENCH PHRASE BOOKS, SONG BOOKS, ETC

There were a number of books available to the Doughboy, often bibles and phrase books to aid the soldier in conversation with his French allies. Also available were songbooks published by organizations such as the YMCA. These additions to the personal kit are easily found on E-bay

E-bay website – www.ebay.com

SMOKING AND TOBACCO USE:

For our members that use tobacco, the most authentic uses are to either smoke cigarettes or to chew. In the trench environment pipes and cigars were just too much to deal with and as a result, this is the first time that the cigarette became universally popular with the American soldier.

For our members that smoke, cigarettes must be filterless. Camel and Lucky Strike are preferred and correct. Period correct labels, wrappers, or cases are necessary.

Tommy’s Pack Fillers has available period correct cigarette packaging for British brands. These are perfect to put our modern filterless cigarettes in.

Tommy’s Pack Fillers
Geoff Carefoot, proprietor
18 Risedale Drive,
Longridge,
Lancashire,
ENGLAND,
UK, PR3 3SB
e-mail – geoff@tommyspackfillers.com
website – www.tommyspackfillers.com

Another option is a period cigarette case. These can be found fairly inexpensively in your local antique shops and on E-bay.

E-bay website – www.ebay.com

CIGARETTER AND TRENCH LIGHTERS:

Both reproductions and originals are available for very reasonable prices. Even if you don’t smoke a lighter is necessary for everything from lighting lanterns in the bunker, to lighting jellied cooking fuel, and the bunker stove.

The gift shop at the Virginia War Museum – The Duffel Bag – has available reproductions of a WW1 trench lighter. Cost is $15.

Virginia War Museum 
Huntington Park
9285 Warwick Boulevard
Newport News, Virginia 23607
757-247-8523
e-mail – info@warmuseum.org
website – http://www.warmuseum.org/

Regimental Quartermaster offers under its “time capsule” section a reproduction of a trench lighter.

Regimental Quartermaster 
P.O. Box 553 Hatboro, PA 19040
215-672-6891
215-672-9020 fax
e-mail – regtqm@aol.com 
website – http://www.regtqm.com/ 
Regimental Quartermaster’s Retail store
49 Steinwehr AvenueGettysburg. PA 1732
717-338-1864
e-mail – cwheritage@aol.com

 

Jerry Burton’s Consolidated Markets Collectibles offers original period correct lighters.

Jerry Burton’s Consolidated Markets Collectibles
PO Box 97024
Tacoma, Washington 98497
253-581-2494
e-mail – consmkts@consolidatedmarkets.com
website – http://www.consolidatedmarkets.com/index.htm

Gifts4less2U.com has available two lighters appropriate for the period. The first is a reproduction of the classic American trench lighter (item #L-B40T) for $15. The second is the “Gatsby” cigaretter lighter (item # L-B5G) for $12. The “Gatsby” copies a style both available to consumers of the time and made as trench art by soldiers during the war.

Gifts4Less2U
1713 Dean Martin Dr.
El Paso, TX 79936
1-800-328-0701
email – Sales@Gifts4Less2U.Com or jgrossi1@elp.rr.com
website – www.gifts4less2U.com

STERNO COOKING FUEL:

For those that want to heat up a cup of coffee or their rations, a can of Sterno works very well. Sterno is a jellied fuel sufficient for an individual to heat up water and rations. It can be found in any grocery store, usually in the section where grilling supplies are found as well. Of course a period container will be necessary.

Tommy’s Pack Fillers offers a “Tommy Cooker” perfect for using Sterno in as a fuel.

Tommy’s Pack Fillers
Geoff Carefoot, proprietor
18 Risedale Drive,
Longridge,
Lancashire,
ENGLAND,
UK, PR3 3SB
e-mail – geoff@tommyspackfillers.com
website – www.tommyspackfillers.com

Winter Items