Katcher, Philip.The US Army, 1941-45.

(Men-at-Arms series, 70) London: Osprey Publishing, 1985.

The volumes in this series generally mix campaign history (and the context of a war as a whole) with commentary on weapons, uniforms, and equipment. And Katcher is a very experienced military historian who generally does exactly that.

But this volume — a revision of the original 1977 edition — concentrates instead on the Army’s combat and service dress and backs it up with frequent quotations from and references to the actual regulations and other official sources. For the collector, modern reenactor, or even just the detail-oriented, this is a gold mine. Katcher provides the best discussions I’ve seen of what “olive drab” really means (it’s actually a whole spectrum of code-numbered shades), the psychology of dressing for comfort instead of for show or status (as the British often tended to do), and why the M1 helmet is still perhaps the single best item of military gear ever designed in this country. There’s also a good deal more subtlety involved in the design and tailoring of a modern military uniform than most of us might expect. The color plates and their very detailed captions are, as nearly always, excellent.

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Published in: on 23 August 2012 at 7:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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