O.G. 107 Combat Clothing

Brief History and Development

By 1960, three types of uniforms were worn by Canadian soldiers in the field. Bush Dress was worn during the summer, Battledress was worn in the winter, and black coveralls were worn by many units on exercises as a substitute for Bush or to save Battledress from undue wear. Both Bush and Battledress were also worn as a garrison or everyday uniform. What the Canadian military needed was an all seasonal uniform specifically intended for field wear.
This new pattern of field uniform was trialed in the early 1960s and was adopted for service in 1963. The "Uniform, Combat General Service" (known to soldiers as "Combat" or "Combats") consisted of a Cap, Coat, Shirt-Coat, V Neck Sweater, two patterns of Trousers, and Boots. Developed in conjuction with the 1964 Pattern web equipment, Combat was very successful and by the late 1960s had replaced most Regular Army operational uniforms. It was also worn by the Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Navy in very limited numbers before Unification. Post Unification it was standard for all three services, but remained primarily an Army uniform.

The new combat uniform was intended to be combined with both existing and new patterns of extreme cold weather clothing to provide Canada's first completely universal all weather field uniform.

Component Tropical Temperate Cold Weather
Cap, Combat X X -
Shirt/Coat, Combat X X X
Trousers, Lightweight X X -
Coat, Combat - X X
Trousers, Combat - X X
Cap, Knit - X X
Scarf - X X
Sweater, V Neck - X X
Liner, Coat - X X
Face Mask - - X
Parka - - X
Windpants - - X
Parka and Trousers, Camouflage, White - - X
Jacket and Trousers, Field Rainwear X X -
Undershirt and Undershorts, cotton X X -
Undershirt and Drawers, Extreme Cold - - X


Concept

Developed in conjuction with the 1964 Pattern web equipment, the concept and design of the Combat uniform was based on the premise that the infantry soldier would ride into battle in an Armoured Personel Carrier and dismount to engage the enemy. Combat would require only weapons, ammunition, water and light rations. Additional clothing and personal gear required for living in the field would be carried in the APC. This concept also assumed that the soldier would not be required to march long distances on foot or carry heavy loads.
Instead of issuing magazine pouches with the 1964 Pattern web, the breast and waist pockets of the Combat Coat and Shirt-Coat were designed to carry the 20 round magazines for the FN C1 rifle. The breast pockets were slanted and heavily reinforced with nylon liners in order to bear the weight of loaded rifle magazines. The waist cargo pockets were provided with nylon loops for two magazines. The first pattern Combat Coats and Shirt-Coats were designed to carry only four 20 round magazines for a total of 80 rounds of ammunition. Two additional magazine loops were added to the left waist pocket in subsequent versions. Additional ammunition was carried in 60 round plastic (later cloth) bandoliers.
Following the introduction of the 1982 Pattern web equipment with it's magazine pouches, the magazine carrying features of the Combat uniform were no longer required and the Shirt-Coat was modified accordingly.

When brand new, Combat ranged in colour from O.G. 107 (Olive green #107) which was a grayish green shade, to O.D. 7 (Olive Drab #7) a brownish khaki green colour. Combat was designed to be a low maintenance wash and wear uniform and after a number of washings, uniforms faded to a greenish grey. It was specifically forbidden to dry clean or iron Combat due to it being 50% nylon and having nylon reinforcements. Dry cleaning or the use of bleach when washing Combat resulted in uniforms of startling shades of pink.

Three patterns of black hightop Combat Boots were issued during the service life of Combat. Designated Marks I, II and III, they were similar in general pattern but differed in details. American pattern Jungle Boots and tan Desert Boots were also worn on some operational deployments. Dress instructions forbade the use of polish on combat boots, instead a special pattern of black dyed waterproofing compound was issued.

Insignia

When it was introduced, Combat was a radical innovation for the Canadian military. No starched collars, ironed creases or spit shined boots, these were forbidden by Dress Regulations. Also gone was the coloured and highly visible rank and unit insignia as worn on Battledress. Authorised insignia was limited to rank, name tape, national and unit shoulder titles. Rank and unit insignia were reduced in size and were embroidered in a subdued dull green colour. Over Combat's service life there were variations in location and patterns of these insignia but the general concept of minimal insignia remained. A miniature red and white Canadian flag was worn on the left shoulder or sometime both shoulders on operations or postings outside Canada.

Combat In Wear

The issue of Combat began in 1964 beginning with the combat arms of the Regular Army and was in widespread use by 1966. Bush continued in use as a garrison uniform during this period and was still in wear by Regulars in 1970. For years it was forbidden to wear Combat in public transportation or in public places such as restaurants or pubs.

Although Combat was not initially issued to the Reserves, they were allowed to wear it subject to local or Regimental Dress Instructions. Army surplus stores did a thriving business selling used Combat and 1964 Pattern Web Equipment to Reserve soldiers. It was not until early 1972 that Combat was issued to the Reserves. Combat was never an authorised issue for Army Cadets, but as with Reserves, a number of Cadets privately purchased their own Combat from surplus stores. As the O.G. 107 Combat Uniform is no longer an authorised order of dress for the Canadian Forces, it is now supplied to Cadets on a limited basis. For political reasons, CADPAT is not permitted to be worn by Cadets, and the Combat uniform and special modified versions are referred to as a "Field Training" Uniform.

A Combat Cap was issued, and that, a knitted toque in green or white, or the steel helmet was worn, according to the season. It didn't take long for berets or regimental headwear such as the khaki balmoral bonnet to be worn in garrison or in the field.

Unfortunately Combat did have one drawback. Being made of 50% cotton and 50% nylon it was not flame resistant. When exposed to direct flame, the cotton burned and the nylon melted, burned and shrank. It was also easily stained by oil or lubricants as well as some types of insect repellants.

In garrison during the summer season, Combat was normally worn with the sleeves rolled up and the top button undone, exposing an olive drab or regimental t-shirt. During the winter months, area or regimental dress instructions usually ordered sleeves to be buttoned at the cuff and the collar buttoned. In a last vestige of class distinction, some regiments ammended the order to allow officers and warrant officers to wear the sleeves rolled up and have open collars.


Epilogue

In it's original configuration, Combat was produced in OG 107, Olive Drab and various shades of Tan and Medium Green. Limited quantities were produced in several DPM type camouflage patterns. Beginning in 1999, the OG Combat was replaced by the CADPAT Combat uniform, which itself is currently (2011) being replaced by the Improved Combat Uniform (ICU).


Description Of Individual Components

Shirt-Coats

The designations "Shirt-Coat" and "Coat" appear on clothing labels (tags) and in official documentation and were used interchangably. Soldiers simply knew them as the Combat Shirt. Although not an official designation marked on clothing labels, the description "Mark I" is commonly used by collectors to describe Combat clothing of any pattern prior to the officially designated Mark II.

Shirt-Coat, Combat G.S. (Initial Production)


In production, 1963. Two slanted exterior breast pockets, two inside breast pockets and two cargo pockets at the waist. There is a loop on the side of the left breast pocket intended for an IM Series Radiation Dosemeter. It was commonly used to carry a pen or pencil. There are two nylon loops in the left waist pocket intended to carry two rifle magazines. Pocket buttons are slotted and attached by tabs, the remaining buttons are sewn directly onto the shirt.


Label on an original production run shirt.


Detail of the left breast pocket showing the location of the dosemeter and the method of carrying the rifle magazine. Note the large slotted pocket button.


Shirt-Coat Combat G.S., Lightweight (Modified Pattern)


In production by 1966. Similar to the original pattern of shirt but with the addition of nylon loops in the right waist pocket. The elbow reinforcing has been shortened and the cuffs are now vented. The interior pockets are reduced to one on the left breast.


Shirt-Coat, Combat, O.D. No. 7


In production as of circa 1967 - 70. Made of an Olive Drab nylon cotton weave, this shirt is similar to the modified shirt but has a smoother finish and is a distinctive shade of Olive Drab which has a brownish cast to it.


Coat, Combat, Man's., Lightweight Mark II


In production circa 1969. A drawstring has been added at the waist and the elbow reinforcing was omitted. All buttons are now slotted and located on tabs which made them easier to fasten and provided a stronger attachment than stitching. The single interior breast pocket is now secured with velcro.




Typical manufacturer and user tags. Many late manufactured shirts have a simplified OG 107 coloured manufacturer's tag.


Coat, Combat, Lightweight Mark III


In production circa 1983. With the adoption of Pattern 1982 Web Equipment the design of the shirt was drastically altered. As rifle magazines were no longer carried in the shirt pockets, the pockets were completely redesigned. The breast pockets were now flat and had pencil loops stitched onto the front. The waist cargo pockets were removed and the shirt could now be either tucked in or worn outside the trousers. Elbow reinforcing now extended completely around the sleeves. The interior pocket from the Mark II shirt was retained, but redesigned.
The Mark III shirt was not overly popular with some of the troops, however fashion conscious soldiers appreciated the smoother fit of the sweater over the new shirt. Although the omitted pockets were no longer required for carrying rifle magazines they had been handy for carrying other items. Mark II and Mark III shirts were issued concurrently, but the Mark III was never issued in great numbers and by the early 1990s was rarely seen in wear.


Pocket detail.



Typical manufacturer and user labels.


Trousers

Trousers, Heavyweight And Lightweight

Two side pockets secured by buttoned flaps, one or two hip pockets, and a cargo pocket on the side of each thigh. The seats and knees are reinforced and waterproofed and there are ties at the cuffs. Two weights of 50/50 nylon/cotton (NyCo) twist fabric were used: 8.3 oz/square yard for heavyweight trousers and 5 oz/square yard for lightweight trousers.

Trousers, Combat G.S. Heavyweight, Trials Pattern


Made of heavy 8.3 oz NyCo, these trousers show the influence of the X Patterns of windpants. They can be supported by either a waistbelt or braces. The fly has a two way zipper and is secured by a single small button. Pocket buttons are the large plastic slotted pattern mounted on fabric tabs as used on the X pattern.
This example has no user label, the only marking is a size label in the back of waist. Main identifying features are the single flap pocket on right hip secured by a large button and double thickness knee reinforcements rounded at the bottom.


View of the seat showing the reinforced seat and single hip pocket.


Size label as often seen on trials and prototype clothing.


Trousers, Combat, G.S.


This is the first standard production run of heavyweight Combat Trousers. Made of heavy 8.3oz NyCo, and quarpel treated, they are similar to the trials pattern but now have two hip pockets. The hip and waist pockets are secured by small buttons. The double knee reinforcements are now squared at the bottom.


There are now two hip pockets and the buttons have been reduced in size.



Typical manufacturer and user instruction labels


Trousers, Combat G.S., Lightweight


These trousers are similar to the heavyweight trousers but are made of 5.oz NyCo and like the heavyweight trousers have two hip pockets.



Typical manufacturer's and user instruction labels.


Trousers, Combat G.S., Quarpel (Modified)


Made of 8.3oz NyCo and quarpel treated these trousers are similar to the previous pattern but have waist adjustment tabs and only one hip pocket. The waist pockets are now secured by large buttons.


Typical manufacturer's label.


Trousers, Lightweight Combat Mark II


The reinforcing on the seat and knees has been omitted. The storm cuffs are longer, extending past the ends of the trousers and are fitted with 2 buttons so the cuffs can be buttoned up for ventilation.


Bottom of the trousers (left) showing the longer storm cuff with the button hole at the lower edge and a detached cuff (right) showing the location of the button.



Manufacturer and user instruction labels.


Trousers, Combat, Lightweight Mark III


Adopted late 1980s, made of 5 oz NyCo. The trousers have two short velcro waist adjustment tabs and the belt loops are slightly wider than those on the Mk II trousers. There are now two hip pockets and the knee and seat reinforcements that were omitted on the Mark II trousers have been reintroduced. This was the final production version of the OG 107 Combat trousers. This pattern was also produced in a desert sand colour.



Manufacturer and user instruction labels.


Coats, Combat, G.S. (Combat Jacket)

Made of 8.3 oz nyco, Combat Coats to follow the shirt patterns, ie: Slanted breast pockets, with a fabric loop on the left pocket for the dosemeter; cargo pockets at the waist with loops for magazines, Button front concealing a slide fastener. Removable liner secured by buttons. Reinforced elbows and rubber waterproofing on the shoulders. A distinctive feature is the corduroy lined collar which could be buttoned up around the neck.

Coat, Combat, G.S.



The front flap unbuttoned showing the slide fastener and the small collar button.



Typical manufacturer and user instruction labels.


Liner, Coat, Combat, G.S.


The liner was secured to the coat by six buttons on the front, two buttons at the back of the collar, one just above each elbow and two tabs on each cuff. The sleeves were not stitched at the armpits, this provided venting and freedom of movement.


Typical manufacturers label on an OG 107 Coat Liner.


Manufacturers label on an Olive Drab #7 liner. Aside from the shade of green there was no difference between OG 107 and OD 7 Coats and Liners.


Typical user instruction label.


Coat, Combat, G.S. (Modified)


Similar to the first pattern Coat, the Modified version had the shoulder reinforcements stitched in place as can be seen by the horizontal seam just above the breast pockets. A small button was added to the front of the Coat so the collar could be worn closed and folded down. The collar could still be worn up, secured by a now concealed button and tab.



Typical manufacturer and user labels


Coat, Combat, G.S. Mark II


The Mark II Combat Coat had many of the features of the Mark II Shirt, the most evident feature being the addition of a drawstring at the waist. This pattern also did away with the elbow and rubberised shoulder reinforcements.



Typical manufacturer and user labels


Hat

As issued, the Combat Cap was rather shapeless and soldiers quickly discovered ways of making it look more presentable. The most common method of wear was the "Robin Hood" style where the cap was dampened, shaped to personal taste and worn until dry. The brim was folded up and creased and the top was flattened out. The Combat Cap was superior to the beret in terms of protection from the elements. Subdued cloth cap badges were authorised for all Corps, Branches and Regiments. Initially, Reserve units wishing to provide their soldiers with combat cap badges or shoulder insignia had to use Regimental non - public funds, but they eventually became an issue item paid for by DND.
The Combat Cap was withdrawn in the late 1970s only to be reissued less than 10 years later.


The "Robin Hood" style of wearing the combat cap.


The brim could be folded down in rainy weather and flaps could be folded down to cover the ears.


Stamped manufacturer, pattern, date and size on the inside of an early issue cap.


The 1980's reissue of the Combat Cap was similar in design to the original issue.


Manufacturers tag.


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