Deep joy, I've entered the new dawn and been issued with my Combat Uniform in Multi Terrain Pattern (CU MTP) part of the Personal Clothing System (PCS). DPM is now so so retro to me.
It's mostly good news but there are some niggles. It's hot so I haven't worn the smock so i'm not going to make any comment about it except to ask what that odd pocket stiched to the chest pocket is for. looks like a compass pocket but it's too small for a compass and why does it have a button hole with no button?
They're trousers. They feel light and airy. Features to note are the draw cords in the seam at the bottom of the legs just pull around unlike the curious arrangement on CS95 trousers that ended up bunching material at the front.
Moving up the leg are the thigh pockets. These are well above the knee and are set at an angle of about 1 o'clock on the right leg compared to the seem. The top of the pocket is quite far forward so that the back of it is about 2cm over the seam. The pockets bellows in the way that CS95 do and the flap is buttoned but the buttons are concealed.
The crotch is reinforced with a piece of material that pops out between your legs. The arrse looks as if it is also reinforced but it's just the way the material has been cut with a separate piece for your backside.
There is a patch pocket on your right cheek for you wallet and it has a flap with a concealed button. The pockets are similar to the CS95 pockets in that they are not stitched down. They differ in that the inside surface (the bit the back of your hand rests against if you are a hands in pockets type) is mesh. and the left pocket has a concealed zip pocket which allows you to secure items in there.
The belt loops are thicker than CS95 at 1.7cm and the one above the right pocket has a loop under it so that you can attach a lanyard or whatever to it to secure it in your pocket. Unlike CS95 there is no drawcord or waist adjusters.
It's a jacket although many will still call it a shirt. It does up at the front with a zip and velcro flat rather than buttons. The collar is a manderin collar which has a velcro tab that allows you to wear it up to protect the neck when wearing armour. Otherwise it is just folded down and lies naturally. The front of the chest has big patch pockets which open at the side and are closed with velcro. Inside the left pocket there is an angled pocket suitable for something like a lightweight compass and a piece of cord similar to the cord inside the chest pocket on CS95 and inside the right an angled penpocket. Like the CS95 this jacket has an epaulette on the front for a rank slide. This one is closed with velcro and the top is covered by a flap.
The wrist is closed by buttons similar to CS95 although once again the buttons are covered. There are two side opening pockets on the forearm and at the elbow which are there to insert padding. These pockets have some at the bottom centre and bottom inside edge. I don't know if they are drainage holes or for securing the pads. I don't know if it is intended to issue pads or if you are meant to improvise.
Moving up we have the arm pockets. These are of bellows design similar to CS95 chest pockets. The flap is closed by velcro tabs and the pockets are set pointing to about 1/2 past one. The pocket is covered in velcro and you are issued 'blanking patches' that you can attach boy scout badges to for garrison ops and use blank one when coloured badges may not be so wise.
So mostly good news. The overall design is similar to the kit worn by our American cousins. Unfortunately in this reviewers opinion the further away from that we've moved the more we've buggered it up. So what's wrong.
Covered Buttons. I found all of these very difficult to do up with one hand. I think velcro would be better and will be 'retro-fitting' it to mine. The buttons on the sleeve are far too loose and would be better with velcro closures such as those on the CS95 smock.
The Thigh Pockets. I gather they are stitched on at an angle so that access is easier when sitting. I found that when sitting it was more difficult to get anything into because it bends around your leg. The angle also means they are further to the front and more inclined to rub.
The Chest Pockets. Why? I struggle to see the point of bloody great pockets that you would not want to put anything in because it would not be secure. The only function seems to be to add an extra layer. I'm also curious about why the pen pocket has been put on the right side when most right handed writers would find it easier to reach into their left pocket. Indeed I would find it more convenient to have a pen pocket on my left arm.
The Rank Slide Tab. Seems unnecessarily complicated and therefore expensive. Personally I'd have gone for the a velcro patch system in line with most of our allies. Especially as there are some rather childish attempts being made to stop us wearing regimentalia in MTP. Doomed I suspect as I've already seen Guardees and Cav types sporting regimental stripes, pips and crowns in regimental flavours.
The Arm Pockets. The angle is there to allow easier access. It being allegedly difficult to get in and out of pockets that are straight up and down and top opening. The problem is that the pocket bends round with the shape of your arm and if you put anything flat in your pocket - like a notebook - it makes the arm tight and starts rubbing. It also sticks out and is prone to get caught when taking daysacks on and off. I also found that the pocket is too low and interfering with my elbow - especially with that note book in it. Annoying in a fire position. I understand that it is put low to allow body armour to be worn. Lastly the velcro and the blanking patch is a lot of layers on your arm and because of the angle the bloody silly boy scout badges are at an odd angle and look - odd! Solution. Pockets that run straight up and down with a side opening zip closure or a foldover flap like the CS95 chest pocket fastened with velcro.
Name Tapes. as an Anon contributor I'm all in favour of name tapes so why can't we have jackets with velco in place for name tapes? Unlike the bloody silly boy scout badges name tapes are quite useful and if they are on velcro they can be removed if discretion calls for it.
I'm aware that you can't please all the people all the time and that it's likely that many will disagree but when we've got so much right it's irritating that we've got some of it wrong.