Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Early Republic of Vietnam Field Jacket - QLVNCH 1955

Vietnamese made version of a French Model 1947 field jacket, 1950s, RVNHS Archive.
            When the Republic of Vietnam was founded in 1955, its armed forces were outfitted with the uniforms and equipment of its predecessor, the State of Vietnam. The State of Vietnam utilized military accoutrements from a variety of nations around the world, but France was by far the greatest supplier. Troops of the Vietnamese National Army (the predecessor of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam - South Vietnam) were issued uniforms that were both manufactured in France as well as locally in Vietnam.
Early Republic of Vietnam officer in French Model 1947 field jacket
- note the rank insignia on the epaulettes, 1956, RVNHS Archive.
         The jacket shown in this post is a Vietnamese made version of a French Model 1947 field jacket. The 1947 field jacket was one of the principal pieces of field wear worn by soldiers of both the State of Vietnam, and those serving in the early years of the Republic of Vietnam. Variants of two or four pockets existed. As veterans interviewed by RVNHS recall, both variants - even the four pocket type - were often worn tucked into the trousers. Throughout the early 1950s, Vietnamese forces saw a rapid expansion as efforts were made to establish a viable armed force to defend the up-and-coming indepedent state. This expansion, coupled with the general logistic difficulties of receiving enough uniform supplies from overseas, inevitably meant that military garments would need to be produced locally in Vietnam on a scale not seen previously. It was through these newly enlarged manufacturing facilities that the supply chains for the later Republic of Vietnam military quartermaster were established.
A July 1955 newsreel segment showing fighting
between the "new" army under Ngo Dinh Diem
and the armed groups of the Hoa Hao religious sect.
Images of the government soldiers show French Model 1947 style field jackets in use.
           Photographs and film footage from the early months and years of the Republic of Vietnam show jackets of this type in use by soldiers throughout all branches of the armed forces.
A 1955 photo showing soldiers at the time of the transition of the State of Vietnam to the Republic of Vietnam wearing French Model 1947 style field jackets, 1955, RVNHS Archive.

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