Original 1950s French TAP 47/56 Lizard Camouflage Parachute Smock
An original 1950s French Army TAP 47/53 Parachute Smock in good condition.
Following the Second World War the French Army immediately set about rebuilding. A new uniform was designed including items made in what is now often referred to as 'Lizard Pattern' camouflage. A specific jump smock and trousers was designed for parachute troops which was released in 1947. A version was made in Lizard Camouflage and proved popular. The design of the smock and the camouflage pattern clearly took their influence from the American jump smocks and British Denison smocks worn during WW2. The smock went through various changes over the next decade with this example being the 1956 pattern; hence 47/56.
The smock is made from herringbone twill which has had the camouflaged pattern screen printed onto it. This is the type 7 camouflage which was used in 1956 and helps to date the smock more accurately. The jacket features 4 pockets to the front which feature three press studs to the flap. Under the flap are 6 more male press studs allowing the pockets to be fastened in two positions. The left breast pocket features a horizontal 'Elless' branded zipper as well as a patch to the front which can hold pens and pencils. A brass zipper fastens the front and is a high quality 'Elless' brand example with locking puller. There is a buttoning fly front which fastens over this and a drawstring is located along the bottom edge. Metal eyelets are fitted to the armpits to aid in ventilation and buttons are fitted around the collar to which a hood can be attached.
There is evidence of where parachute wings have previously been fitted above the right breast pocket and there are signs of where badges have been removed from the upper sleeves as shown in pictures 16 and 17.
Inside the smock is an internal pocket which fastens with a button. The original markings are also still present to the interior including the manufacturer's name of 'J. Pauwels & Co Ltd' of Merville.
The jacket is cut, like all smocks, in a large, loose manner. This is because they are worn as an outer layer and are designed to offer as much free movement as possible. This is particularly noticeable across the chest and shoulders and needs to be taken into account when considering the sizes below. When laid flat the smock measures -
Chest - 28 1/2"
Inside arm - 17"
Outside arm - 21 1/2"
Shoulders - 20 1/2"
Length - 29"
The smock is in good, vintage condition. It has signs of wear and use and the exterior has faded. It is still very wearable but does have small flaws commensurate with age. Please take time to study the pictures before purchasing and bear in mind that this is a pre-worn combat jacket!
A fantastic example of this sought-after pattern of smock. It would make a great addition to any collection without a doubt.
Mid 20th Century
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