Uniforms

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Beret Pins

The Chase of Fire (Pilot episode)

The episode mission briefing
Sergeant Moffitt is introduced in the pilot episode as being with the Second Division of the British Eight Army, to which Moffitt says, "Scot's Greys actually, sir."  

This is the pin of the Royal Scots Greys Second Dragoon and presumably the pin Sergeant Moffitt would have had somewhere on his uniform.  The Royal Scots Greys were a mounted regiment until the early part of the second war at which time they  retired the horses and converted to tanks.  This is perhaps why Moffitt knew his way around a horse in The Holy War Raid.

 

This is the pin you see on Moffitt's beret in the pilot episode of the series.  Now we know how it is he learned about "how to operate a tank". (Darers Go First Raid)

Once the pilot episode is over, however, the pin disappeared, never to be seen again.

 

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Pocket Flaps

There's a whole story might be read in the pocket flaps of uniforms.  One of the differences between the British and American uniforms can be seen in pocket flaps.  Take a look at the 'scalloped' edge to Moffitt's jacket pocket flap and compare it to the more square look of Troy's shirt pocket flap. 

Moffitt's short sleeved shirt (shown to the left) in the Chase of Fire Raid  had scalloped pocket flaps too, but as far as was observed, his long sleeved shirts in later episodes had squared pocket flaps.  Troy's shirts always had squared flaps.  It seems 'wardrobe' supplied the long sleeved shirts for the series, but the jackets and Moffitt's short sleeved shirt were special order and probably more historically accurate.

(The British downward-pointing sergeant's stripes shown to the left on Moffitt's sleeve, and the American upward-pointing chevrons that were on Troy's shirts in the pilot episode were rarely seen again except when a 'formal' occasion arose....such as in The Exhibit 'A' Raid)

Although the picture to the right showing Dietrich's jacket isn't very definitive, the pocket flaps on Dietrich's uniform jacket were scalloped.  His shirt pocket flaps, however, were square. 

It was not unusual for bits of uniform to change hands and be used by both sides during the war in North Africa.

Most of the uniform jackets on the Germans observed in the series appeared to have had a scalloped or a simple pointed pocket flap.  That seems to be historically sound although Suncompass has seen pictures of Rommel in jackets with both scalloped and square pocket flaps.

Note the pocket flap on the picture behind Dietrich here.

Troy's 'temporary' German uniform in The Double or Nothing Raid  had scalloped flaps.

Suncompass doubts she will ever again see wartime footage without checking out the pocket flaps.  More research is needed. 

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Troy's Digger Hat

Digger hat or Australian slouch hat - by either name, Troy's hat is authentic and has all the features it should have: one side turned up, perhaps originally to keep the brim out of the way of weaponry carried on the shoulder; the Puggaree (band) with seven folds, dipping down at the front and back of the hat but higher at the sides; the leather chin strap; and the rising sun pin on the turned up flap.  Everything exactly as it should be.

The story goes that Christopher George (Sergeant Troy) chose the Australian slouch hat for his character because he wanted to honour the Australians who fought so hard in Greece during the war (TV Collector Magazine, No. 94, Aug 1998).

A Correction!!  Suncompass has been educated (a welcome occurrence) by D.B. from Australia.  He has quite correctly pointed out that the badge pictured above is not the version that would have been on a second war Australian hat like Troy's.  The one above is the modern badge. The one pictured below, from D.B.'s own collection (cool!), is the correct one for the Rat Patrol period.

There are some differences between the two badge designs.  See that the words on the banners are different, and that there's an obvious gap between the upper and lower banner on the wartime design.  And if one looks very very closely one can see the crowns are different too.

(thanks to D.B. for his expertise and the badge picture)

Looking again at Troy's hat badge, even on this fuzzy picture the gap between the upper and lower banners is clear.

Troy's hat is authentic second world war vintage - right down to the correct badge. Bravo to whoever got that historical detail right.

For more about the Australian slouch hat and other interesting things check out:  http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-uniforms/slouch_hat.htm

To see successive changes in the rising sun design see: http://au.geocities.com/thefortysecondinww2/level2/asstd/gs-rs-badge.htm

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Hitch's Red Kepi

 
Hitch's kepi is a bit of a mystery and a couple of choices present themselves according to someone who knows a heck of a lot about hats (not Suncompass).   After looking at pictures of Hitch's kepi, it might be that there was more than one kepi used in the series (examination is made all the more difficult by the squashing effect of the goggles).

 

One version of his kepi appears to be very like an American Civil War Zouave type kepi (a officer's, no less. See here for a picture.  The braid on the top signifies officer rank). Another version of Hitch's kepi appears to be a mix of more than one kepi type and could simply be a product of a Hollywood costume department. 

What the heck is a Zouave?
The fighting force named Zouave arose first in the early 19th century from the Zouaoua Berber tribe of Algeria (a North African territory of France at the time) and as such had distinctive uniforms suited to the hot lands from where their soldiers came.  Not long after, with enlistment changes the units became a purely French body raised largely in North Africa, but fighting in wars around the world as French until 1962.

     During the American civil war a number of Zouave regiments were established with American soldiers and fought on both sides of the conflict (the most famous civil war Zouave unit was from New York state). The regiments adopted the unique uniforms of the North African French Zouave forces.  Those uniforms included baggy pantaloons, a tasselled fez and turban.  The unique aspects of the uniform disappeared gradually as it became difficult to replace damaged items. 

     The American Zouave regiments included something even more unique than their uniforms - many regiments included a  vivandiere, or female Zouave.  She performed mostly nursing duties during battle, but wore a uniform like that of the men. 

     Suncompass does not know when the red kepi like Hitch's replaced the standard Zouave red fez.  Like on the kepi pictured here the yellow/gold braid design on the top of Hitch's kepi replicates that found on the top of the French Zouave officer's kepi (see here - scroll down) and other French army caps (see here and here) - a clear reminder of the French roots of the force.

For more about the Zouave - forces and otherwise - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zouave

and here too   http://www.nps.gov/gett/gettkidz/zouave.htm

For an eye-opening history of the military kepi, see here   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kepi

See lots of authentic hats of all sorts (but not Hitch's) at this site: http://www.reiss.dk/hats/

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And What's that You're Wearing?

The Dare-Devil Rescue Raid

The episode mission briefing

The Rat Patrol await in the desert for the arrival of Moffitt's father, a professor of Anthropology at Cambridge University.  He has uncovered information about an ancient Roman road through the desert that, if located, might be used to transport valuable Allied supplies.  The plane with the senior Moffitt on board crashes as they watch, and Moffitt junior defies Troy's orders and goes to a nearby German held town to find his father. To avoid capture, he 'borrows' Arabic garb.

Based on Suncompass's very limited knowledge of Arabic dress, names for the parts of Moffitt's attire have been applied.

It is acknowledged that the labels may not be correct.  Corrections are welcome from anyone with knowledge about traditional Arabic costume.

 

 

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How to Tie a Proper Ascot - just like Moffitt

Moffitt is sure to know how to properly tie an ascot although Suncompass doesn't recall ever seeing him do so.  Steps 1 to 4 are identical to the 'four-in-hand' knot - a standard knot used in tying long ties. 

Consider the usefulness of the ascot in desert warfare.  It might have reduced chafing at the collar and  could be pulled up to protect against the elements - blowing sand (Hourglass raid), the sun (Fatal Chase Raid), and as protection against inhalation of smoke bomb smoke (Fire and Brimstone Raid).  Maybe it would help keep the neck warm on cold desert nights.  For some reason Moffitt didn't wear an ascot in the pilot episode (Chase of Fire Raid) but perhaps he should have.  Suncompass doesn't know if the ascot was officially part of the uniform.

Moffitt wasn't the only one to wear an ascot in the series.  David Troy wore one with his RAF tunic (Nick George in Field of Death Raid).  Major Bracken (Howard Caine in Violent Truce Raid) and Colonel Jameson (Ben Wright in Fifth Wheel Raid) each wore an ascot with his British uniform.  But it wasn't only the British who wore ascots in the series.  Colonel Voss (Ben Wright in Double or Nothing Raid) and Colonel von Graff (Charles Irving in Hide and Go Seek Raid), both German officers, wore ascots too.

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One handy German uniform, complete with built-in expertise

Love Thine Enemy Raid

The episode mission briefing
The Rat Patrol destroy a German convoy with their usual ease but when they halt to inspect the damage, Troy accidentally shoots and seriously wounds a female German nurse.  He is filled with guilt and insists that they must take her into the nearest field hospital - a German one.  Despite misgivings, Moffitt agrees to help Troy get the nurse into the hospital.  They steal handy German uniforms and carry her into the camp.  While in the hospital tent, an officer sees Troy's sleeve badge and approaches him.  Moffitt intercepts and then later reports to Troy what the officer had wanted. "The man on the table is a demolitions expert," reports Moffitt. "He [the officer] wanted you to take his place on a mission."

But is that really a demolitions expert's cloth badge on Troy's sleeve?  Maybe...or maybe not. 

The two crossed rifles (that's what Suncompass thinks they look like on Troy's sleeve) is strikingly similar to the badge worn by a tropical weapons maintenance sergeant (Unterwaffenmeister?) or the weapons lance sergeant. 

The maintenance of weapons was naturally of critical importance, and to ensure the weapons continued to perform when needed, a specially trained expert was assigned to all German infantry units.  They had their own special tools so they could effect maintenance and repairs in the field.

[As far as Suncompass has discovered, the weapons maintenance sergeant wasn't necessarily a demolitions expert.]

Of course, we all know that Troy had demolitions expertise so even had he been called on to act as a demolitions expert for the German army, we can guess that he'd have done a bang up job....but not exactly in the way the Germans would have wanted. 

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Web page updated June 10, 2003
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