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M-43 Field Jacket

  • The Fishtail Parka

    Korea 1950, the U.S was at war defending South Korea from an invasion by North Korea and Communist China!

    Roads leaving to the Chosin Reservoir Roads leaving to the Chosin Reservoir

    On 14 November 1950, a cold front from Siberia descended over the Chosin Reservoir in the Korean peninsula, and the temperature plunged to as low as −35 °F. The cold weather was accompanied by frozen ground, creating considerable danger of frostbite casualties, icy roads, and weapon malfunctions. Medical supplies froze; morphine syrettes had to be defrosted in a medic's mouth before they could be injected; frozen blood plasma was useless on the battlefield. Even cutting off clothing to deal with a wound risked gangrene and frostbite. Batteries used for the Jeeps and radios did not function properly in the temperature and quickly ran down. The lubrication in the guns gelled and rendered them useless in battle. Likewise, the springs on the firing pins would not strike hard enough to fire the round, or would jam. In fact, it was the brutal Korean weather that gave birth to the fishtail parka.

    Rigorous Winter over the Chosin Reservoir Rigorous Winter over the Chosin Reservoir

    The M-51 fishtail parka hails its history from the US Army in Korea during the tough wet winters of the early 1950’s during the Korean War.   Like many iconic pieces of outerwear, “the fishtail” has roots in the military. The old M-43 field jacket and liner of WWII as well as the wool great coat were the standard outerwear provided to the military, but the notoriously wet and cold climate of the Korean peninsula necessitated a warmer coat for American troops in the Korean War.

    Cockpit USA M51 DMZ Fishtail Shell Cockpit USA M51 DMZ Fishtail Shell

    The Army designers first developed the M-1949 (Military 1949) and then the M-51 Cold Weather Parka as a result. The main concern for the US military during the Korean War was to keep the soldiers warm and mobile without wearing a robust and clumsy piece of outwear. The fishtail parka accomplished these needs with a three-quarter length, so it could keep someone’s entire body warm without hindering their movement, and constructed the coat out of waterproof cotton and then a nylon cotton blend, so the material would shed snow and freezing rain.

    In the 1960’s, the army surplus fishtail parka became a fashion staple on the streets of London, protecting the suits of working men that needed shield from the city’s elements. While fashionistas would have you believe the tail is intended to hang down like the back end of a fish, it’s actually function is to be tied around the wearer’s legs, from the back to the front, in order to seal things off from any unexpected wind gusts.

    London 1960's The Fishtail Parka becomes a fashion staple in the streets of London during the 1960's

    Our made in the USA M51 DMZ Fishtail with liner has adopted the architecture of the G1 issue shell and liner, and has now been modified to fit a zip in/zip out soft merino shearling hoody, which acts as a fur liner that can also be used as a beautiful and comfortable stand-alone piece. With its authentic water repellent military specification tight weave canvas, the 100% Mil. Spec cotton gives the wearer perfect cold or wet weather protection. Cockpit USA also offers an M51 DMZ fishtail shell and a U.S Army Airborne Parachute Wing insignia fishtail version that heralds the bravery of the military parachutist. Authentic, historic, and unique; the M51 Fishtail Parka is designed for those who demand the best.

    On The Left: M51 DMZ Fishtail W. Liner On The Right: Airborne Embroidered Fishtail On The Left: M51 DMZ Fishtail W. Liner
    On The Right: Airborne Embroidered Fishtail

     

     

     

     

     

  • Stories of the Jacket: The M-43 Field Jacket

    The M-43 field jacket is first and foremost a true piece of historical battle attire. First introduced in 1944 on the beaches of Normandy, right up until the end of the war in 1945, this jacket was a second skin to the brave GI’s of the Allied American Armies. Continuing its reign and colorful history, the M-43 was worn by both air forces and infantry during the occupation of post WWII Europe as well as in combat in the hills of Korea during the 1950s. Designed to suit servicemen’s needs for a well-fitted, warm jacket with the potential for added optional extras such as a hood and liner system, this field jacket provided it all. We at Cockpit USA are such fans of the jacket we produced a version, the Omaha Beach M-43 in its simplest form. Reproduced according to the slimmer fitting style of the 1940s original, this jacket is crafted from high-count 100% dense cotton poplin and boasts interior pockets and a soft cotton military specified label along with the contemporary addition of a bi-swing gusset behind the arm for ease and comfort of movement. For an added authentic touch, we even gave the jacket the Cockpit USA signature broken in look treatment, making it as close a model as possible of the original. Grab yours today!

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