This Week In Quartermaster History

18-24 November

  Quote of the Week:
"[The U.S. Army] is well suited to fight in Florida in the winter, and Minnesota in the summer -- but not the other way around."

          QM Military Planning Division
          Quote attributed to R&D critics in 1941

Among the more haunting images in American military history is that of bloody footprints left in the snow at Valley Forge. A reminder for all time of the soldier’s need for proper clothing.

Nearly two centuries later, as the nation braced itself for war on the eve of Pearl Harbor, it soon became obvious that the old prewar uniforms and equipment were completely inadequate to meet the rigors of a global conflict. With prospects of fighting in hot tropical, as well as sub-freezing temperatures, and in every conceivable type of hostile terrain.

For the ground-pounding GI tapped to slug it out in the jungles or on the frozen plains of Northern Europe, few things loomed as important as proper footwear. Indeed the Type I service shoe issued to soldiers in 1941-42 proved wholly inadequate to the task. It provided little protection, and often wore out in a couple of weeks.

Quartermaster researchers soon came up with a more durable Type II shoe, then a Type III model boot with a cuff and buckle top that eliminated the old shoe and legging combination. It was an instant winner.

On 19 November 1943 the Army Service Forces Headquarters approved the Quartermaster Corps’ recommendation, and the new combat boot went into immediate production.

Compiled by the
U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps Historian
Fort Lee, Virginia

Quartermaster Museum

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