US Uniforms of WWI: Interesting Details

I had another post planned for today, but found this video pretty interesting. It’s a look at what the US troops were actually wearing in WWI – when they shipped over to Europe, in the actual combat period, and in the post-war occupation. Mike Burch (the guy presenting) has clearly spent a while researching this subject and does a good job of conveying information. I suppose it’s not surprising he should be this interested in it, given that he makes reproduction uniforms himself (when I ran a 2-Gun match with an M1917 rifle recently, it was in one of his uniforms).

Anyway, I learned a bunch here, including interesting details on trench knife usage, US use of handguns, and the general mishmash of stuff used by American troops. If you are interested in identifying things like rank, service time, and unit in period photos, there is a lot to be gleaned here as well.


  1. It is too bad about the low audio. I would have really liked to learn about the equipment but couldn’t hear the presenter. The vid part was outstanding however.
    Respectfully Submitted,
    Leon C. Gall
    Civil Wa
    r Re-enactor 2nd Regiment Florida Cav, Company H

  2. My grandfather’s issue ammo boots served him from when his previous pair rotted off at the Somme in 1916 until he was demobilised in 1919. They then served him from 1939-1945 in the Home Guard. They then served me from 1965 till 1976 when they finally fell apart. They were the best boots I’ve ever owned – I have small but very wide feet with a narrow heel. Apparently this was normal in 1916. It isn’t now…

    • The best boots I got issued were dated 1994, looked like they were never used before, and to my 43 euro size feet they were just perfect. In 2005 when I got them it was just a few weeks before they were useless, just falling apart. It turns out that rubber doesn’t age well, at least the kind they made my boots out of. I still dream of boots that fit my feet the way they did.

  3. The ammo pouch on the back pack looked like a Mauser one. I couldn’t hear if that was what it was. Did anybody else catch that?

  4. Hmm… the uniforms look perfect for getting down and dirty in the trenches. Pea green fits with the woods more than khaki does…

  5. A very interesting and informative presentation! For more information on WWI, please come to visit us that my WWI Forum on My WWI Collection is one of the largest privately owned collection in the United States, portions of which have been featured in over two dozen different research and collector’s books over the years. I’ve been a Field Editor at GUNS Magazine for 15 years now writing articles on vintage firearms of WWI and earlier. Among the reference threads on the Forum, is a master presentation that include 57 different mannequin displays of original uniforms, equipment and firearms representing soldiers from Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, France, the Polish Legion in French service, the Czech Legion in French service, French Colonial troops, Germany, Italy, the Czech Legion in Italian service, Russia, Serbia, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Scotland and the United States, including a display of the famous “Harlem Hellfighters.” Membership in the Forum is free, but you have to join to view the photographs. Some of the most knowledgeable experts in WWI weapons, equipment and the various different aspects of the Great War are regular contributors on the Forum. If you have even the most remote interest in WWI, please come join us on You won’t be disappointed! Warmest regards, John ~ John P. Sheehan’s WWI Militaria and Arms Forum

  6. This was a very informative video, but captions would have been helpful. It was occasionally difficult to hear the narrator when he turned away or when the wind gusted.

  7. Russian ammunition belt on the top right side of the pack? My Mosin-Nagant came with an identical set. Each pocket will hold 3 chargers.

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