FWT Homepage Translator

Friday, January 08, 2010


For a larger view, please click on the pictures.

"There are five things a soldier should never be without - - -his musket, his ammunition, his knapsack, his provisions, and his intrenching tool." 1864 MILITARY DICTIONARY


The British General Cornwallis surrendered his army at Yorktown to the allied American and French forces under Generals Washington and Rochambeau on 19 October 1781. That surrender is usually regarded as the end of the war, but it was not so regarded at the time. The capitulation at Yorktown involved the surrender of one of the three British armies in America, and that one not the strongest. Charleston, the capital city of the South and a very strategic position, Wilmington, Savannah, and New York, with its strong garrison, were all in British hands. Peace was still more than a year away, and the forces in the South under General Nathanael Greene, and in the North under General Washington, had to keep the field in fair weather and in foul.

During that time the troops under General Greene, usually ill fed and clad, engaged in a series of minor actions and skirmishes and strenuous marches and countermarches. Under such leaders as Greene, Marion, Sumter, Sumner, and Lee, they forced the British to retire to Savannah and Charleston. In face of this constant American pressure, the British gave up Savannah in July 1782 and evacuated Charleston in December of the same year.

In the right foreground is an enlisted artilleryman in the blue coat of that corps, faced and lined with red, and trimmed with yellow binding and buttons. His cocked hat is bound with yellow worsted binding and carries the black and white "Union" cockade. In the left and center foreground are shown a captain and a lieutenant. The captain wears an epaulette on his right shoulder and the lieutenant one on his left shoulder.

Both officers are wearing the uniform prescribed for the troops of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia in October 1779 of blue coats "faced with blue," i.e., blue collars, cuffs, and lapels, "button holes edged with narrow white lace or tape," lining of white cloth, and white buttons. Their coats, adapted to field service, reflect the shortages of supplies in that the buttonholes do not have the buttonholes edged with narrow silver lace which would have been worn by the officers in place of the prescribed "narrow white lace or tape" edging worn by the enlisted men on their buttonholes. In the background, is seen a column of Southern troops, in the prescribed uniform, with their wagons on the march.


The use of riverboats, steamships, and railroads during the War Between the States greatly increased the mobility of armies. However, armies in the field required still another type of transportation. Wagon trains not only had to accompany troops on active operations, but also had to be employed to distribute stores brought in bulk to railway terminals and steamer wharves. The Army wagons and harness had been perfected by long years of experience and operation on the western plains. The wheels, axles, and other principal parts were made to standard measurements to permit interchangeability of parts. Early in the war, the Army procured both horses and mules for use with trains, but experience later convinced quartermasters that mules were far superior to horses for such service.

In the foreground is a sergeant of cavalry in the dark blue cloth uniform jacket prescribed for all enlisted men of the cavalry and light artillery. His unit and arm are recognizable by the yellow metal insignia on his kepi, the yellow lace trimmings on the collar and cuffs, and around the edge of the jacket. The first sergeant's yellow worsted binding chevrons and lozenge, the stripe on his trousers seam, and the red sash show his rank, while the half-chevron on his lower sleeve testifies to faithful service. His light blue overcoat is strapped in front of the pommel and he is using the dark blue saddle blanket with an orange stripe adopted in 1859.

In the left center is a major of ordnance in the dark blue, double-breasted cloth frock coat, with two rows of seven buttons worn by all field grade officers. The dark blue background of his shoulder straps shows that he is a member of the General Staff or Staff Corps, and the gold oak leaves show his rank as major. The Ordnance Corps insignia on the front of his forage cap is a gold embroidered shell and flame on a black velvet background, and on the gilt, convex buttons on the frock coat are crossed cannon and a bombshell, with a circular scroll over and across the cannon, containing the words, "Ordnance Corps".
In the background is an Army train manned by civilian teamsters and composed of white covered wagons with "bluish tinted" bodies and wheels "of Venetian red darkened to a chocolate color".


The United States Army fighting in Vietnam in 1965 used new tactics, techniques, and weapons. Divisions and separate brigades built fortified base camps from which they launched extensive search and destroy operations and also carried out security and pacification missions in neighboring districts. At times, American units shifted far afield, there to construct a temporary base camp and forward fire-support bases for their operations. On many of these missions, particularly in the thick jungles of the highlands and the flooded rice fields of the delta, companies and battalions were wholly dependent upon the helicopter for support, resupply, and evacuation. Airmobility, flexible fire support, vastly improved signal communications, and an unprecedented network of logistical bases were the developments characteristic of the new type of fluid combat in Vietnam.

All of the troops in this painting wear the two-piece olive green, rip-stop cotton poplin, tropical combat uniform, developed in the early 1960's, and the mildew-resistant tropical combat boots with direct-molded soles, model 1956.

In the right foreground is a first lieutenant of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) as shown by the black flash with yellow and red stripes and the distinctive black and silver crest, both worn on his green beret, and by the teal blue and gold Special Forces shoulder patch authorized in 1954. The black airborne tab is worn above the shoulder patch. He is armed with the 5.56 millimeter M-16 rifle, and carries both M-16 yellow smoke and M-26 fragmentation grenades.

In the center foreground is a major of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry "Garry Owen", as indicated by the insignia on his collar, crossed sabers with a superimposed "7". On his left sleeve he wears the subdued 1st Cavalry Division insignia, the horsehead and bar in black with the normally yellow background a dark gray.

Above it is the Ranger shoulder tab. He is armed with a .30 calibre M-2 carbine and M-26 fragmentation grenades. He carries a bottle of mosquito repellent in the camouflage band of his helmet and on his right wrist is a brass wristlet obtained from the Rhade tribe of Montagnards, worn by many troops as a good luck charm.

In the left foreground is a captain, an Army aviator carrying his flier's helmet. All of his insignia are of the subdued type adopted by troops in Vietnam. He is wearing a utility cap and is armed with a .45 calibre pistol, model 1911.

In the background are troops loading into CH-47A "Chinook" helicopter.

No comments: