Hobbies included: drinking, cigar smoking, bricklaying and painting. Sir Winston = a true gentleman.
Founded in 1875 in Springfield, Illinois, the Armbruster Manufacturing Co. is America’s oldest tent maker. As you can see from the building in the above archival photo, the company started out as a canvas goods and upholstery shop but eventually came to specialize in tent making. Armbruster was also a supplier to the U.S. military during WWII — which is how I came to discover them. I was looking to buy an authentic WWII tent, of all things. I considered buying an old original, but didn’t really want to deal with the smell of such an artifact. The good news is, Armbruster is remaking a variety of WWII olive drab canvas tents on the exact same equipment as it did in the 1940s — that is definitely the best-of-both-worlds.
As the U.S. Navy ramped up for WWII, its leadership began the unprecedented task of recruiting 27,000 female sailors called WAVES, or Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. Previously, it was only during the first world war that the Navy accepted females into its ranks, and mainly for clerical roles and as nurses, not as officers. According to the USN History and Heritage Command, in 1942 the WAVES performed previously atypical duties in the aviation community, Judge Advocate General Corps, medical professions, communications, intelligence, science and technology.
The idea of painting a ship in odd patterns is credited to British artist Norman Wilkinson during the time of the first world war. The concept — which became known commonly as “dazzle” — was an attempt to confuse German U-boats by making a ship’s course and speed difficult to judge, and thus difficult to torpedo. The technique was eventually adopted by the American Navy in 1918 and the practice continued (mostly by the U.S.) throughout WWII. It was during the 1930s and 1940s that a standardized set of ship camouflage patterns were adopted and deployed across all Tennessee class battleships and Essex class aircraft carriers by the camouflage unit of the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships.
You’re looking at a pair of non-issue U.S. Army Ranger pants that feature one of the first ever military issue camouflage patterns. This pattern is commonly referred to as HBT (Herringbone Twill) CAMO, and was most widely issued at the request of General Douglas MacArthur to Marines in the Pacific theater of WWII, sometime after the Battle of Tarawa. The two-sided motif (lighter color camo for spring and darker for fall) also briefly saw action in the European theater, but was scrapped because of its similarity to a German camouflage.