British Soldier in the 1st Gulf War

Brit DDPM full ft

This figure is an approximation of what a typical infantryman would have been wearing during the 1st Gulf War. The figure is set around the time of “Operation Granby” – late September to late December 1990 and is a representation of a soldier in the 1st Battalion Staffordshire Regiment of the 7th Armoured Brigade Group.

As the British Army had not envisaged an operation in a desert environment on such a scale as Operation Granby no desert clothing was available from supply depots in September 1990. Typically when serving in areas such as Oman British troops had worn locally issued uniforms or British tropical combat clothing. Tropical clothing is designed for jungle operations but had served troops well in Cyprus, Gibraltar and other hot climates. It was this tropical combat clothing that the troops of the 7th Armoured Brigade Group moved to Saudi Arabia in October 1990. The mixture of tropical and desert clothing was common during operation Granby as was the wearing of privately purchased and U.S. issue items.  The first desert clothing began to be issued to the fighting troops in late October 1990. The first issues were not particularly well made or durable, became dirty quickly, shrunk and faded in the wash but were very comfortable. Later issues were made from better cloth to improve wear and reduce shrinkage.Brit DDPM full clse

This figure is wearing a complete set of Desert Disruptive Patten Material (DDPM’s)Combats over which he is wearing, in assault order, 90 Pattern, Personal Load carrying Equipment (PLCE) on top of his Combat Body Armour (CBA).

The shirt is a example of the 1st pattern issued to troops which has a slightly pinkish sand background colour with the more tightly packed light brown disruptive pattern. The shirt is of straight design and can be worn inside or outside trousers with sleeves rolled up or down. There is a bellows pocket with straight buttoned  flap on each breast, a five -slot pen pocket on the upper left arm, and a field dressing pocket secured by a single button on the upper right arm. There is no skirt pockets. The front of the shirt is fastened by a three quarter length zip and six buttons.

A view of the three quarter zip and under the shirt this figure is wearing a U.S. issue quarter sleeve brown “T” shirt. The back view of the shirt shows the placement of the field dressing pocket high up on the right sleeve.

These trousers are not first issue as the base colour is more yellowish than pink. It does however have some similarities with the 1st pattern as the light brown disruptive pattern is of the smaller tighter design found on 1st pattern items and the pocket flaps are straight not pointed like latter designs. Along with the base colour difference, it is also missing the buttons on the fly and seat pocket of the 1st design. These may be an example of a transition from the 1st to 2nd pattern of these trousers.

Brit DDPM camo diff

The front view shows the zipper fly and pyjama cord fastening.Brit DDPM flyIn the bellows pocket of this pair of trousers I found this Stella beer bottle label.

The British Combat Body Armour (CBA) was in the early stages of production when Operation Granby began; eventually enough sets were produced and rushed to the Gulf to equip all front line troops by the time the ground war started. The armour itself is of a flexible synthetic material. It comes in varying sizes and was issued complete with a Desert DPM cover. The cover allows for side adjustment by two wide Velcro straps, the adjustable length running on black plastic slides. The front is closed by a similar width of Velcro concealed by a fly, both running the full length of the front. A strap on the lower left of the front allows for rapid opening of the armour to allow for first aid. A strap at the rear contains a belt loop closed by a press stud to help support the waist belt.

The front shot shows strap allowing for quick access in an emergency and the rear shot shows the waist belt support strap (this one is missing the belt loop).

Brit DDPM CBA sideSide view of the adjusting Velcro straps and the black slides that help adjust the fit of the CBA.

With the front open you can see the almost full length strip of Velcro that runs down the front side and the two smaller squares that are attached behind it to hold the fly front shut.Brit DDPM CBA flyHere is the label found on the Desert DPM CBA cover

Brit DDPM CBA lableand the label found on the body armour itself.Brit DDPM CBA inner lableThe Mk 6 helmet was the standard combat helmet of the British Armed Forces. The MK 6, introduced into service from 1985 (does seem to be some debate about when the MK 6 was introduced, could be 1982 or even earlier), is designed to accept modern ear protection, personal radios, and respirators. The helmet is manufactured by NP Aerospace. The Mk 6 is often mistakenly thought to be made out of kevlar when in fact it is constructed of “Ballistic Nylon” – nylon fibre.Brit DDPM helmet Mk6

The combat helmet was initially worn with the temperate DPM cover and in some cases this was painted with sand coloured vehicle paint. The desert DPM cover was of identical design. The desert cover was often adorned with the wearers name, blood group, etc. in black felt pen.DDPM MK 6 cover insideIn General terms, 90 Pattern was only worn by the infantry in the Gulf, having started to be issued to regular battalions in 1989 ( the 1st Battalion Staffordshire Regiment were issued 100 proto-type sets for troop trials in 1988) to complete the issue of the SA-80.Brit DDPM 90 plce setThis assault order set up consists of the Main Yoke, Waist Belt and attached to the belt from left to right, left Ammunition Pouch, Utility Pouch, Water Bottle Pouch (open), Entrenching Tool Carrier, Bayonet Frog (missing the SA-80 bayonet) and Right Ammunition Pouch. Above the waist belt is the water bottle and Foldable entrenching tool.

DDPM Entrench tool

The utility pouch is dated 1988 so is one of the early trial items.Brit DDPM 90 plce 1988 dateBack of the webbing set showing how all the items are attached to the belt and how the yoke is attached to the ammunition pouches and belt.Brit DDPM 90 plce insideTo finish the figure off he is wearing a Cabot Watch Company (CWC) G10 (T).CWC watchSource of information: Military Illustrated Past & Present Vol 41 & 42.

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