Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Reference information and uniform and kit Q&A
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Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Postby spiers » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:37 pm

Hey guys,

As some of you may know, I've been on the forum for a while but I've always done US Airborne. Some of you may have seen my post recently in the 'Today I...' thread about my Grandfathers story of D Day.

I have decided to get together all the kit for a British Para, now I know there's a kit guide for Basic British Para and I have looked at it and the South Staffs Guide which is more like what I imagined Brit Para to look like, so just looking for a bit of clarification on that initially? Is the kit for the South Staffs the same as Para but with a different badge?

First real question, what is the difference between the half zip and full zip denison? Is there one that is more correct for Normandy?

How do you find out what size Gaiters you are?

I will probably have more questions but any general advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thankyou.

Alex
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Re: Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Postby Sgt.Heide » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:46 pm

Full zip Denisons were an officer item, the half zip is what you want. You're basically right, in that a cap badge change is the difference between airlanding and parachute troops. If you're wearing a denison, there's no need to faff about with, or spend money on, the different insignia. If you're doing a combat impression, you really should be wearing a helmet anyway, so no real need for cap badges and berets either. You're a pretty slim chap, you'll probably be ok with size 3 gaiters.

Look on the bright side, you'll find it much easier to do an impression of your grandad's kit than I did replicating my Grandad's (RSM of a now defunct cavalry regiment!).
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Re: Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Postby Gadge » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:03 am

As Pete says.

Airborne Forces kit was the same whether you were para, glider or even sas!

Top to bottom

MKII or MKIII helmet (web chin straps are mostly post d-day, more of an arnhem thing but *some* were about in june)
or maroon beret... *everyone* wore these from clerks to pathfinders, just the cap badge changes

a face veil was common round the neck, get a two colour one, one colour is post war (i may have a spare i'll sell you cheap if you can wait til i get back off holiday)

Shirt would be a wool collarless one for ORs or a shirt with collar and tie for officers, you could probably get away with a us wool one as gusy used them if they coudl steal them.

Denison should be half zip and have no central seem. You want knitted cuffs and no 'ape tail' clip up, thats a first pattern. Buttons cuffs and clip up tails are again an arnhem thing but a *few* were in normandy. Most paras kept the ape tail , glider boys cut it off. Rangercmap is the best option on a budget for these. Full zips were custom made for officers and most the full zip commercial ones are really wrong. The zip came from the diagonel side zip of the oversmock (green sleeveless) and so was too long when put on a smock front vertically... so if its done right the full zip smock should have about two inches of zip dangling off the bottom.

Trousers... get normal 37 or 40 pattern ones... dont get 'para trousers'. Only about 1 guy in 10 got these and you cant use them for 'smart dress' so they are less value for money than regular ones and its an overdone look anyway.

Webbing is *exactly* the same as infantry, sten bandoliers are pretty much more of a D-day thing than arnhem (again somemay have been there but not common). You'll need a ressie case, you want the 'lightweight assault' type that most sellers try and pass off as 'airborne' so they can ramp up the price... everyone got these past 1943. again i've probably got a spare you can have at mates rates.

gaiters technically correspond to shoe size but its also like pete says about your build, most modern men need a 3 or 4 size. I can just about use a size 2 but i've got legs like an anemic chicken.

all your webbing should have brass or steel fittings and pouches should have popper closure. Black fitting is post war dont buy it as war dated stuff is still dirt cheap.

Boots are expensive, no getting around it really.

A pair of ex army ammo boots will be about £40 but these wont hold up muster for 'living history' as you really want a pair with pebbling left on the boot and only the toe and heel smoothed... most post war ones are smoothed all over and have a sole thats too thick.

good repros at least £80

For airsofting and safety 1950s DMS boots are very good and cheap but you can get away with most boots for gaming as the gaiters hide the 'high leg'

Officers wore brown boots if you go down that route... i warn you now though doing officer properly costs a bloody fortune. i've been getting my kit togehter for 7 years, its still not perfect and i've spent a *lot* of money on it.

Anything i can help with just ask here or pm me.
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Re: Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Postby spiers » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:55 am

Bloody brilliant start there guys. Thankyou! I'll pootle my way through a few bits off that list and then post up on here again if I hit a snag. Thankyou again.

Alex
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Re: Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Postby Yith » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:46 am

About the only other way to spot a para from a glider borne soldier is the position of the small pack. I think paras were more likely to have it on their backs, glider troops on their side.

Another difference in webbing from standard infantryman is that you won't need a large pack at all. They're really for storing greatcoats and you won't have one.

Because you'll be wearing a denison on top then a lot of players don't bother with a BD blouse. The lack of it can be hidden by wearing your face veil as a scarf. Of course if you want to do it properly... then you'll need the blouse! :)
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Re: Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Postby spiers » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:57 am

I will probably get the blouse anyway, I remember how hot it was wearing the blouse and Denison at the Arnhem game, what a cracker of a game that was...

Right I have my list of clothing, helmet, beret, boots and gaiters.



Is there a list of webbing? I appreciate that it's just regular infantry kit, again I'm a noob at British kit so even saying that means very little.

Plan at the moment is to make a List of everything I need and then buy most of it all at once. Then just work on the small bits and bobs once that's done...then it's not such a daunting task!
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Re: Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Postby MartinR » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:27 am

The minimum is belt, cross straps and a pair of universal pouches. Personally I'd add a water bottle and carrier too.

For the whole hog you'll also need a small pack and L straps, entrenching tool and cover, bayonet and frog and a gas mask bag. No doubt some other stuff too which Gadge & Yith will suggest...

An army clasp knife on a string is always a fun bit of kit, and surprisingly useful.

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Re: Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Postby Yith » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:28 am

Your 37 pattern set is:

1x Belt
2x Universal pouches
2x Cross straps
1x water bottle carrier
2x l-straps "left and right"
1x small pack
1x entrenching tool cover
1x bayonet frog

plus all the stuff to go in it... and gas mask bag, etc...
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Re: Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Postby spiers » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:29 am

Yith is that everything I need you've listed?
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Re: Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Postby Yith » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:35 am

other visible stuff:

water bottle
bayonet
raincape/groundsheet (tan, not green)
anklets
boots
bd trousers/blouse
clasp knife on clasp knife lanyard (it's not just a bit of string, it's a special bit of string. ;) )
denison
beret/helmet
camo face veil
gasmask bag
field dressing (in bd pocket)
entrenching tool blade and shaft

Have all that, plus have it filled out correctly and you'll look 100% right.

Personally when I fill it all out I use all the correct stuff as well... apart from underwear... woolen undies, were they mad! (I know CW, that you've worn them... madness!)

However socks, bubblewrap, blocks of wood stuffed into bags/pouches would all work for filming... but for re-enacting beware. I did have a fellow re-enactor open one of my universal pouches to have a peak inside one time. Luckily he found my bandoliers of .303. :)
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Re: Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Postby Gadge » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:33 pm

and dont forget to get a bottle of shoot n scoots blanco.

The one thing that really lets an impression down and makes it look rushed or amateur is a lack of blanco.

Usually groups that dont do it are the ones that cut corners on everything else too and look crap :)

Its PITA to the do the first time but you soon get the hang of it and then you need to do it about once every few years.

I did one set in 2007 and its still allright, wouldnt pass 'parade standard' but still green enough for the field.

check out CWs excellent site on blanco and bull for everyting you ever need to know about painting your webbing with 'web rennovater'.

The big difference you'll find Alex (and i'm not trying to flame here) is that doing brit kit requires a lot more effort than other nations or you just look like a bag of crap. You need to polish stuff, blanco stuff, press stuff and have things at the right angles etc... US kit is a lot more forgiving where as if you wear BD badly you look like a sack of potatoes tied in the middle. Similarly US webbing you just sort of throw it on and you're away... 37 pattern takes a while to set up properly and then you need to blanco and polish it.

Get the best BD you can afford and get panther store if you can. Avoid SOFs its a funny colour (a bit grey) and the wrong cut.

A good set of BD will last you forever, a cheap set will tear at a skirmish.

I bought my main set in 2005/2006 and its been at over 30 events, crawling through mud, scaling walls, running through brambles etc and its still looking perfect... just needs brushing down or dry cleaning now and then.
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Re: Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Postby McVickers » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:48 pm

Also, when picking your webbing, just make sure that the fittings are brass, or brass/gunmetal mix (usually around 1943 dated) popper fastenings on the pouches - and not black-painted steel fittings and/or tab-through-loop fastenings on the pouches (post war type).
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Re: Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Postby spiers » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:45 pm

I have been looking on Panther Stores at the Battledress. Going to get the P40 jacket and trousers. I have a mate that lives in Poland who might bring it back for me...and that's where I'm starting!
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Re: Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Postby CHThree » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:53 pm

Gadge wrote:US kit is a lot more forgiving where as if you wear BD badly you look like a sack of potatoes tied in the middle.


That's how you're meant to look isn't it?
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Re: Paras - Uniform, Kit and other Particulars

Postby Steiner » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:58 pm

spiers wrote:I have been looking on Panther Stores at the Battledress. Going to get the P40 jacket and trousers. I have a mate that lives in Poland who might bring it back for me...and that's where I'm starting!


Probably the best BD there is, but it is ordered from China and takes a good few weeks.
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