What Is A Trench Coat?
Generally, a trench coat is considered as a raincoat which reaches the knees or sometimes longer. It has been made from a heavy duty and waterproof cotton drill, wool gabardine or poplin. In some cases, the apparel is made from leather. Lately, it is being made with a removable protective lining.
The Trench Coat during the World War I
As a substitute to the bulky serge greatcoats which were originally by World War I’s British and French soldiers. The trench coat was claimed to be invented by both Aquascutum and Burberry. The first company’s claim dates back to the 1850s while the latter was only seen in 1901. The inventor of the gabardine fabric, Thomas Burberry, submitted the design for a new army officer’s raincoat. He submitted this design to the War Office in United Kingdom.
After that submission, this article of clothing became non-compulsory for the British Army. Later, it was acquired by private use by the Warrant Officers Class I and the officers under their own free will. Since then, officers from other ranks were prohibited from wearing the trench coat. Aside from the coat, the British Warm was also an optional piece of clothing. It is made of a wool coat which is similar to the trench, only it was a lot shorter in length.
Additional Designs to the Trench Coat
The design of the coat was altered to include some shoulder straps as well as D-rings during World War I. The purpose of the shoulder straps was to be used as an attachment of epaulettes and other sign of rank. The D-ring however, was said to be added for the purpose of attaching hand grenades. But really, the ring was intended for map cases as well as swords and other equipments which were added to the belt. Many war veterans who returned to their civilian lives kept this piece of clothing because it became highly fashionable for both women and men.
The Trench Coat during the World War II
Throughout World War II, the United Kingdom officers continued using the trench coat while in the battlefield to fight off the bad weather. Other nations such as the US and the Soviet Union also developed the use of jackets which were based on the style of the trench coat. This was also used by continental Europe’s armies such as Germany, France, Poland and Holland.
However, as the war continued to progress, the field men wore shorter ‘field jackets.’ This included apparel like the Denison smock which was used by the British commandos, snipers and paratroopers. The United States’ Army also wore field jackets known as the M1943/M1941. These piece of clothing become shorter and more practical to wear than the trench coat because it allowed the wearer of the item to be more movable.
In this period, the usual trench coat consisted of ten buttons and was double breasted. It was also a long coat which was made with fabric colors such as tan, beige, khaki, or black. These coats usually had cuff straps which were on the raglan sleeves along with a belt and shoulder straps.
Trench Coats were usually worn both as a windbreaker or a rain jacket and not as a protection from the snowy or cold winter conditions.