Jungle boot: Wikis

  
  

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Jungle boots are a type of combat boot designed for use in jungle warfare or in hot, wet and humid environments, where a standard leather combat boot would be uncomfortable or unsuitable to wear. Jungle boots have vent holes in the instep and sometimes a canvas upper to aid in ventilation and drainage of moisture.

Contents

Development and Use

The use of Jungle boots predates World War II, when small units of U.S. soldiers in Panama were issued rubber-soled, canvas-upper boots for testing.[1 ] Developed in conjunction with the U.S. Rubber Company, a pair of Jungle boots weighed approximately three pounds.

World War II

Field reports from the Panama Experimental Platoon on the new lightweight boots were positive, and Jungle boots were later issued to a number of U.S. Army and Marine forces for use in tropical or jungle environments, including U.S. Army forces in New Guinea and the Philippines, and in Burma with Merrill's Marauders[2 ], and the Mars Task Force (5332nd Brigade, Provisional).[3] As jungle boots wore out more quickly than the standard Army Type II field shoes, they were often carried by infantrymen attached to the field pack as a secondary pair of footwear, to be used when encountering heavy, soft mud.[2 ]

In 1944, the Panama sole was first developed by U.S. Army Sergeant Raymond Dobie , which used a series of angled rubber lugs in the soles to push soft mud from the soles, clearing them and providing much better grip in greasy clay or mud.[1 ] However, the Panama sole was developed too late to see service in World War II.[4] With the end of the war, all official interest in jungle equipment came to a halt; an improved Jungle boot with the new Panama sole was not produced until 1966.[1 ]

Vietnam War

In the early 1960s, a jungle boot incorporating most of the improvements developed since the end of World War II was issued to U.S. forces personnel during the Vietnam War. In the improved boot, the upper was made of cotton canvas duck, with leather for the toe and heel, and nylon reinforcements for the neck of the boot. The new Jungle boot originally used a Vibram-type lugged composition rubber sole strongly vulcanized to the leather toe and heel. Water drains (screened eyelets) were added to the canvas top near the sole to quickly drain water from the inside of the boot. Removable ventilating insoles made of fused layers of Saran plastic screen, first invented in 1942, were later adopted for the issue Jungle boot. The insoles trapped air which was circulated throughout the interior of the boot during the act of walking; moist interior air was exchanged for outside air using the water drain eyelets.[5] In 1968, after two additional years of testing with troops in the Panamanian jungles, the Panama sole was finally adopted by the U.S. Army for its issue Jungle boot.[6]

After numerous widely-reported incidents of foot injuries to U.S. forces caused by punji stake traps, issue Jungle boots were fitted with a stainless steel plate inside the boot's sole to protect the wearer from punji stake traps.[7][8] Later Jungle boots were given nylon canvas tops in place of cotton duck.

The US military jungle boot's popularity extended beyond the US Armed Forces with Australian Army and New Zealand Army soldiers going to great lengths to get a pair of jungle boots from American troops to use alongside their standard-issue black leather General Purpose Boots (GP Boots). When the 1st Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) was deployed to South Vietnam and served alongside the US Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade in 1965, many Australian troops were willing to trade their Australian Army-issue "slouch hats" for a pair of jungle boots from the Americans since the boots Australian troops were issued were World War II vintage tropical studded Ankle Boots and the boots were not suited to the conditions of Vietnam. Australian and New Zealand Special Air Service troops also made extensive use of American jungle boots during the course of the Vietnam War and they were very popular with SAS troopers.

Post-Vietnam Jungle Boot Designs

The US military jungle boot helped influence the design of the famed desert combat boot, which many American soldiers wore during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Despite the introduction of the desert boot at the time of Operation Desert Storm, many American military personnel were still issued jungle boots because there were not enough desert boots to issue to all personnel in the Middle East at the time which led to many American soldiers and Marines to go into battle with jungle boots and black leather combat boots.

During the 1980s, some of the improvements incorporated over the years in U.S. jungle boot design were modified or discarded, primarily for reasons of cost and convenience. This included changes in rubber sole composition (to avoid marking linoleum floors at stateside army bases), and use of waterproof Poron linings instead of Saran ventilating insoles. Increasing use of the Jungle boot as a general-purpose combat boot brought more changes; the issue boot's Panama sole reverted to a Vibram sole better suited to use on other types of terrain, such as rocks or sand. By the late 1980s, incidents of heel blowouts and loss of water drains (screened eyelets) were reported.[9]

Today, Altama Footwear and Wellco Footwear are two American combat boot companies who still manufacture the US military jungle boot.[10] Altama began manufacturing boots for the military towards the end of the Vietnam War, in 1969, and is still supplying the military with footwear to date. Wellco gained the first government contract for boots in 1965. These companies manufacture the boots in the original configuration with green cotton/nylon upper and conventional eyelets and an updated version with a black cotton/nylon/Cordura upper and a hook-and-eyelet lacing system.

As of 2005, the United States Marine Corps has retired the black jungle boots from front-line military service and replaced them with two versions of a new tan suede combat boot. One version, called the Temperate or Infantry Combat Boot, has a waterproof Gore-Tex lining inside. Another, called the Jungle or Hot Weather boot, has no lining but retains the vent holes on the instep of the boot. The US Army and US Air Force have also removed the black jungle boot from frontline service for suede leather desert-style boots when the US Army adopted the Army Combat Uniform and the US Air Force adopted the Airman Battle Uniform. A number of nations outside the United States are still using and issuing the American-made jungle boot to their soldiers. One example can be seen in Afghanistan with soldiers of the Afghan National Army being seen wearing black jungle boots with American-made combat uniforms.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Kearny, Cresson H. (Maj), Jungle Snafus...And Remedies, Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (1996), pp. 172-179
  2. ^ a b George, John B. (Lt. Col), Shots Fired In Anger, NRA Press, pp. 490-491
  3. ^ Mars Task Force: A Short History http://cbi-theater-8.home.comcast.net/~cbi-theater-8/mars/marstaskforce.html
  4. ^ Kearny, Cresson H. (Maj), Jungle Snafus...And Remedies, Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (1996), pp. 178-179
  5. ^ Kearny, Cresson H. (Maj), Jungle Snafus...And Remedies, Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (1996), pp. 181-183
  6. ^ Kearny, Cresson H. (Maj), Jungle Snafus...And Remedies, Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (1996), pp. 179-180
  7. ^ Kearny, Cresson H. (Maj), Jungle Snafus...And Remedies, Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (1996), p. 179
  8. ^ Interview with General Colin L. Powell, [1]: A young Colin Powell, later to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces, was injured by one of these traps, but would not have been protected by the steel plate; his foot fell into the trap at an angle, and the punji stake missed his boot sole entirely, penetrating his instep.
  9. ^ Kearny, Cresson H. (Maj), Jungle Snafus...And Remedies, Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (1996), pp. 366-368
  10. ^ "Jungle Boots". Military Boots Blog. 2009-12-14. http://www.militaryboots.com/blog/jungle-boots/.  







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