The PT Boat Forum
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Forum Category: PT Boats of WWII
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Forum Name: PT Boats - General
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Topic: Mode of dress in the South Pacific bases
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Hello everyone-

I am currently in the process of converting some Tamiys figures in 1/35th scale to short sleeves and short pants. I ground off the existing plastic so that the bare arms and legs will show once they are painted. I am getting my Tulagi diorama spiffed up for a big Memorial Day show, and a Midway Survivors Banquet upcoming.

In some of the photos in my collection, I have noticed that some of the crew are in t-shirts and shorts.

My question is, just what type of shorts and t shirts where they and what colors were they?? My photos are in black and white! Any help here would be fantastic!

Thanks guys!

Frank Ryczek, Jr.
Modeler/Friend RON-10 PT-169 " ZEBRA SNAFU "

HIGH TIDES ALWAYS!

YOUR FRIEND THROUGH SCALE SHIP MODELING AND PT BOAT HISTORY!

Posted By: FRANK | Posted on: May 5, 2009 - 6:56am
Total Posts: 349 | Joined: Oct 7, 2007 - 2:09pm



Frank,

Off the top of my head, remembering (mostly b&w) photos and film footage I've seen over the years, the enlisted PT guys would wear standard white T-shirts or sleeveless undershirts of the period, and their shorts seemed to run the gamut from shortened dungaree (jeans) pants, swimming trunks, or whatever other military-colored (khaki tan, O.D. green, navy blue, etc.) shorts they could come up with.

As it was usually incredibly hot, they sometimes wore just their issued white underwear -- called "skivvy "shorts -- around the boat, and not much else, as C.J. Willis mentioned. There's a story about some of the 109 crew under JFK stripping down so far when they went to chow in the baking-hot crew's quarters that some of them started to show up naked! JFK quickly issued an order than no one could come to chow without at least a pair of skivvy shorts on.

The officers would for the most part be dressed in the khaki tan shirts and pants of their caste, sometimes with the shirts modified to short-sleeves and the pants to shorts, but they too, could be occasionally seen in a variety of different clothing.

PT officers and men generally wore the brown ankle-high field boots the Marines called "boondockers," and all ranks wore all kinds of military caps and hats -- mostly baseball-type billed caps, the most common of which was the soft, short-billed Army/Marine Corps field cap (think of the JFK-in-the-109-cockpit photos). They also wore O.D. green "Daisy Mae" fatigue hats, pith helmets, and of course many of the officers still retained and wore their dress uniform gold -braided and leather-visored "barracks" caps.

One different article of clothing you wouldn't ordinarilly associate with sailors that I noticed worn by PT men in a number of photos of of the Guadalcanal era was a one-piece O.D. green coverall, seen worn by both officers and enlisted men.

The PT guys in the forward areas seemed to be a "motley" crew as far as dress went, as the conditions were rugged and the spit-and-polish minimal. From the photographic evidence, there was a lot of variety.



Posted By: Drew Cook | Posted on: May 5, 2009 - 1:11pm
Total Posts: 1243 | Joined: Oct 19, 2006 - 10:44am



Frank;
Don't forget the 2 piece herringbone twill O.D. Fatigues worn by the Marines, This "uniform" was used quite alot too by PT crews in the Pacific. The old italeri USMC has the figures in this uniform, they make great looking UDT guys too!
take care,
TED



Posted By: TED WALTHER | Posted on: May 5, 2009 - 1:53pm
Total Posts: 2876 | Joined: Oct 16, 2006 - 7:42am



Ted and Drew-

Thanks for the imput fellas, now I can get out my entire set of paints and go to town.

One other question guys- What about the standard issue "dixie cup" hat? Were these worn in all areas as well. One old guy in my model club said that they should be wearing these as well? I want to hear it straight from the message board members here!

Thanks again guys! As always you were a big help to all of us modelers

Frank Ryczek, Jr.
Modeler/Friend RON-10 PT-169 " ZEBRA SNAFU "

HIGH TIDES ALWAYS!

YOUR FRIEND THROUGH SCALE SHIP MODELING AND PT BOAT HISTORY!

Posted By: FRANK | Posted on: May 5, 2009 - 3:50pm
Total Posts: 349 | Joined: Oct 7, 2007 - 2:09pm



Frank: On pager 223 of "At Close Quarters" is a picture of some of our crew when we were at Green Island. You can see two guys with bathing suits the others are in Navy issue white skivvy shorts (no shirts) which is what most of us wore. Our skipper Alpine Mclane has on long kahki's. On patrol we wore long pants either dungarees or Army - Marine green pants and Navy issue chambry shirts because it was cooll at night and the twin fifty hulls were hot on bare legs. We wore Marine boondocker shoes with the tops cut off to make low cuts. Late in 1944 at Green , orders came out that we had to wear long pants to chow. That really P.O.ed us old salts because we couldn't go in our skivvies.

C. J. Willis

Posted By: CJ Willis | Posted on: May 5, 2009 - 4:09pm
Total Posts: 464 | Joined: Nov 5, 2006 - 5:02pm



Frank: everyone I knew simply cut off their blue dinnims as short as was decent and wore no shirt. A few had hats, usually their variant of some available headwear. The officers usually wore their tan trousers, some wore shirts, and most wore their caps to show authority. Our lesd MotorMac wore only his undershorts most of the time because the engine room was always about the boiling point. We were not told about sun damage to bare skin and most of us looked like natives. Shoes were a problem. All we had was standard Navy issue. But you couldn't wear them without getting water in them. Everyone cut their shoes into sandals so they were not standing in wet shoes. No socks ever. We only had one inspection in all the time I was over there. The Captain was supposed to be inspecting us to determine our combat readiness but was so frustrated at our appearance we thought we faced many court marshall counts. Everything came out alright.



Posted By: BobPic | Posted on: May 6, 2009 - 5:55am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered



OOOPPPS! No socks huh!! Well so far I painted up three figures- 1 officer, and two crew members- one in tan shorts and a whte t shirt and the other with blue demin cut offs and chambry light blue short sleeve shirt. But I gave the two crew guys "white socks"!!! No problem, I'll just touch them up with the Tamiya flat flesh and cover the white sock tops.

Never even thought about wet shoe and "socks"! Love the idea of making the Navy issue shoes int sandels!

Thanks Bob and CJ and everyone who posted to my question! There is nothing worse than someone looking at your model and telling you "WHAT THE #%^&!! is THAT !!!! " Thanks for setting me straight!

Frank Ryczek, Jr.
Modeler/Friend RON-10 PT-169 " ZEBRA SNAFU "

HIGH TIDES ALWAYS!

YOUR FRIEND THROUGH SCALE SHIP MODELING AND PT BOAT HISTORY!

Posted By: FRANK | Posted on: May 6, 2009 - 7:31am
Total Posts: 349 | Joined: Oct 7, 2007 - 2:09pm



Frank,

With all due respect to BobPic, who "was there," I don't think you can go wrong with white socks on some of your figures. I've seen plenty of vintage WWII photos of PT crewmen wearing white (and sometimes dark), socks with their boondockers.

BobPic's "no socks" statement reminds me of guys I knew who fought in Vietnam as infantrymen -- they told me they didn't wear any underwear or socks at all under their OD fatigues or jungle boots because of the incredible heat & humidity. Underwear shorts gave them a terrible crotch rash, and the always-wet socks would rub and chafe their feet inside their boots and blister them badly.



Posted By: Drew Cook | Posted on: May 6, 2009 - 7:20pm
Total Posts: 1243 | Joined: Oct 19, 2006 - 10:44am



Thanks Drew-

So far I only painted two figures with just a hint of white above the boot line. I'm going to leave well enough alone.

I showed them off at my local model club meeting last night, and they were a big hit, especially with one older gent who served on Guadualcanal and was also on Tulagi. Heck, if he says they look fantastic , I'm sold on them as well.

Thanks for adding your thoughts, Drew! This message board is the greatest thing for doing research on PT's. Fast and informative!

Frank Ryczek, Jr.
Modeler/Friend RON-10 PT-169 " ZEBRA SNAFU "

HIGH TIDES ALWAYS!

YOUR FRIEND THROUGH SCALE SHIP MODELING AND PT BOAT HISTORY!

Posted By: FRANK | Posted on: May 7, 2009 - 7:31am
Total Posts: 349 | Joined: Oct 7, 2007 - 2:09pm



I doubt that you could be wrong with any type of dress. We were very informal [sloppy]. I found an old picture from New New Guinea. There are three officers without shirts. Two are wearing khaki shorts. The third is not visible below the waist. Two have no hat or cap. The third has a cap that may be army issue. There are five enlisted men without shirts, two with shirts and one in coveralls. Five have no hats or caps, one has a cap and two have helmets. All of those visible are wearing long pants--dungarees. No socks are visible in the picture. We usually had cut down high top shoes which were worn as sandals. We appear to have dressed up for the picture. Many of us frequently wore only olive drab army underwear shorts. No socks, no shirts and n o long pants reduced the laundry.

Posted By: QM | Posted on: May 8, 2009 - 9:06am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered



Thank you QM for you input! I keep on finding very nice Tamiya figure sets on sale at my local HOBBY LOBBY store here in Jacksonville. I just found a set of eight heavy clothed michine gunners and mortor figures for a buck and a half in the clearance isle. They keep putting out these sets, and I'll grab them up.

I now have approx. 24 figures that have been "shaved"; they are now tropicalized for the South Pacific. Using my 400 XLP Dremel and a Ruby sander bit and the Dremel set on a very low speed I ground away the uniform to show short pants and short sleeves. This new set will be shirt-less with skivies.

To anyone and everyone converting plastic figures! Don't crank up your Dremel to 36,000 rpm and try to carve away at a plastic figure! You will only wind up with a melted blob. Slow the Dremel down to as low as it will go and proceed slowly. Take your time- patience is a virture is what I learned in Catholic school and ya know what guys- it works every time!
I worked for Dremel for many a year as a tool demonstrator! Slow and easy gets it done every time!

Frank Ryczek,Jr.
Modeler/Friend RON-10 PT-169 " ZEBRA SNAFU "

HIGH TIDES ALWAYS!

YOUR FRIEND THROUGH SCALE SHIP MODELING AND PT BOAT HISTORY!

Posted By: FRANK | Posted on: May 8, 2009 - 11:32am
Total Posts: 349 | Joined: Oct 7, 2007 - 2:09pm



G'Day Frank,
Heres a couple of photos i found in my collection that show Motor Macs at Kana Kopa,in typical dress,

Traditional

[image]http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll183/aust_yank/dress001.jpg[/image]

or "Gone Native"


[image]http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll183/aust_yank/dress.jpg[/image]

Well maybe, better not model the second ones.Ha Ha
Cheers Mate



Michael

Posted By: Michael | Posted on: May 8, 2009 - 2:15pm
Total Posts: 218 | Joined: Aug 6, 2007 - 7:25pm



I am curious as to the actual dress while underway. In my many conversations with PT Boaters, they seemed to have changed dress for patrol. Dungerees replaced the shorts, with some type of shirt. Although this seems the right thing to do, how many of you went on patrol with shorts on and no shirt. What did you actually keep in your locker in the Crews quarters. Another side note here. Did you guys leave anything at the Base, that you did not want to take with you in case you were captured or sunk.

Also, in taking with the boys, the dress of no shirt, shorts, and hat was typical while at the Base. Who would want to do chores in the hot Pacific sun wearing pants and shirts. Many guys semed to have the Navy or Marine Pith Helmet too. It's wide brim helping with the sun. As it was mentioned, I don't think you would be wrong no matter how you had your figures dressed, providing you don't have any in a dress.



Posted By: Frank J Andruss Sr | Posted on: May 8, 2009 - 3:19pm
Total Posts: 3171 | Joined: Oct 9, 2006 - 6:09am



Michael and Frank A.-

Thanks for the feed back gentlemen! UHHH, no guys in dresses Frank, that's a promise. Michael, love the second set of pictures! Where did you find them?

My guess is that the ol' "DIXIE CUP" reg. cap was still worn. I have a few shots of guys with and without them, moreso without!

Thanks again guys!

Frank Ryczek, Jr.
Modeler/Friend RON-10 PT- 169 " ZEBRA SNAFU "

HIGH TIDES ALWAYS!

YOUR FRIEND THROUGH SCALE SHIP MODELING AND PT BOAT HISTORY!

Posted By: FRANK | Posted on: May 8, 2009 - 3:39pm
Total Posts: 349 | Joined: Oct 7, 2007 - 2:09pm



Frank A. The pith helments were great to wear to the outside movies in the rain. It shed water from around your neck on to the camouflage poncho we wore. It also kept the rain off your face yet you could hear the sound. I kept all my belongings at my bunk in the crews quarters. We left nothing personal at the base. At the time I never thought about getting captured or sunk.

C. J. Willis

Posted By: CJ Willis | Posted on: May 9, 2009 - 8:46am
Total Posts: 464 | Joined: Nov 5, 2006 - 5:02pm



We usually wore the same clothing while underway that we wore at the base--as little as possible. We probably should have worn our personal flotation devices [new speak for life preserver] but it was not a usual practice. We were frequently in rain but I don't recall the rain ever being cold. It could be a welcome relief from the heat and a chance for a fresh water shower. We had rain gear which was worn topside at times.

Regarding storage of personal property, all was on the boat, my blue uniforms white uniforms, flat hat and all other items not needed in New Guinea were in my sea bag in a storage compartment in the bow. I seldom if ever got the sea bag out while I was on the boat. Everything survived in good condition, including the wool uniforms.

Posted By: QM | Posted on: May 9, 2009 - 2:17pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered