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Weapons of War The machinery of warfare. .

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  #1  
Old 20 Sep 17, 15:10
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Thumbs up Puttees, one of the best inventions ever

They protect the boots from debris and water getting inside, and they protect the trousers from snagging onto vegetation. Also, they relieve leg pain by proving compression for the blood vessels of the leg.

My job involves a lot of walking and being on my feet. By wearing knee-high elastic socks, I can reduce leg pain and swelling and foot pain by like 75%.

The puttees are so awesome, I wonder why armies stopped using them? The troops would love them when carrying their heavy assault packs.

One of the best military implements ever.

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  #2  
Old 20 Sep 17, 16:33
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Puttees, practical leg wear, ...

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Originally Posted by MonsterZero View Post

... to serve a purpose, much like "Mitasses", the Canadien name given to the tight fitting leggings usually made of woolen textiles, worn by First Nations warriors, and adopted by Milice Canadien (Militia), and the French Troupes de la marine/Compagnies Franches de la marine (French Marines, Colonial Regulars) for service in the field i.e. the American bush, late-17th to mid-18th Century.



Warriors of the Seven Nations of The Iroquois Confederacy of Canada



Troops of the Milice Canadien


French Troupes de la marine in Canada
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Last edited by Marmat; 20 Sep 17 at 18:18.. Reason: clarification
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  #3  
Old 20 Sep 17, 18:14
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I would imagine they were not easily replaced in the Field when they were damaged. It might have been easier push your trousers into your ankle boots. In effect it was another piece of kit for a soldier to maintain. I bet no one asks for the leather neck collar to be returned to use..

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Old 20 Sep 17, 18:17
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Roman legions wore them!

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Old 20 Sep 17, 18:48
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The Romans were a very practical people. They might have worn skirts but in cooler, wetter climates were quick to add leggings like the Gauls and Germans wore. I doubt they bothered with leg protection in North Africa or Greece.

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Old 20 Sep 17, 19:26
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With tall boots like militaries wear today, blousing the pant legs by tying off the end of it tightly around the boot is quicker and easier than wrapping your leg with a puttee.
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Old 20 Sep 17, 21:43
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If you don't wrap it right, it gets loose and falls down around the ankles. This attracts attention from NCO's!

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Old 21 Sep 17, 01:31
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Puttees would be out for me I'm afraid because I've got a longstanding underactive thyroid and am prone to cold feet, so anything that restricts the flow of warm blood to my tootsies is a nono (sniffle).
In fact I have to wear socks with non-elasticated tops that don't squeeze my leg veins and it's worse in winter because I feel cold and sluggish all over like a cold-blooded reptile; at least in summer I could bask on warm rocks along the seafront..
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Old 21 Sep 17, 06:06
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
Puttees would be out for me I'm afraid because I've got a longstanding underactive thyroid and am prone to cold feet, so anything that restricts the flow of warm blood to my tootsies is a nono (sniffle).
In fact I have to wear socks with non-elasticated tops that don't squeeze my leg veins and it's worse in winter because I feel cold and sluggish all over like a cold-blooded reptile; at least in summer I could bask on warm rocks along the seafront..
That's why you are called Poor Old Spike!
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Old 21 Sep 17, 07:13
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Puttees were first adopted on the Northwest frontier where the hot, dusty conditions and steeps terrain flexible, made breathable ankle support, and protection from dust and grit, an advantage. Pity the poor Highlanders who had to make do with fabric spats.

The water absorbent qualites of the woollen puttee cloth are less suited to the humidiity of the jungle, far less the damp conditions of northwest Europe- despite the continuing use by European armies over the first half of the C20th, and indeed by the Imperial Japanese Army and the various parties in China.

As pointed out already, the care and time required to wrap puttees neatly was also an disadvantage.

Having said that, the short puttees eventually adopted by Highlanders and increasingly among British infantry circa 1940 and 1980, were arguably preferable to the low British Army canvas 'anklet' which had to be blanco-ed or blacked.
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Old 21 Sep 17, 13:14
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Quote:
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Roman legions wore them!

Is there any real evidence to support this?
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Old 21 Sep 17, 13:58
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Puttees were first adopted on the Northwest frontier where the hot, dusty conditions and steeps terrain flexible, made breathable ankle support, and protection from dust and grit, an advantage. Pity the poor Highlanders who had to make do with fabric spats.

The water absorbent qualites of the woollen puttee cloth are less suited to the humidiity of the jungle, far less the damp conditions of northwest Europe- despite the continuing use by European armies over the first half of the C20th, and indeed by the Imperial Japanese Army and the various parties in China.

As pointed out already, the care and time required to wrap puttees neatly was also an disadvantage.

Having said that, the short puttees eventually adopted by Highlanders and increasingly among British infantry circa 1940 and 1980, were arguably preferable to the low British Army canvas 'anklet' which had to be blanco-ed or blacked.
Sorry but no. The puttee was originally an Indian civilian item of clothing and predates the arrival of the British in India and can be seen in Indian paintings and drawings. It appears to have been originally a Hindu item of clothing to be found in and around Haryana worn mainly by what we would today call the upper middle class. The North West Frontier is primarily a Muslim area.

Forget about the poor highlanders and pity the poor sepoys who for decades wore short shorts and bare legs (no socks let alone puttees) in British French and Mogul armies.

Despite all the guff about supporting leg muscles etc etc etc the puttee was adopted for military use because it was thought to look smart (but only if done properly and at the beginning of a march - it could quickly degenerate into a slovenly mess). As far as I can ascertain the rank and file in general (in the British Army at least) detested it. Get it a little wrong and you could be on a charge and there were some in the awkward squads permanently on a charge. Officers had officers' servants who would ensure that their man's puttees were prefect.

The point about its unsuitability in wet conditions is correct. On the Western Front in WW1 the sentries in the trenches were often ankle deep in water in the winter months when the puttee acted as a wick.and I have copies of battalion war diaries bemoaning the problems of getting sentries dried out at the end of their watch. But not only did the puttee soak up water it absorbed liquid mud and dried out into a rigid and abrasive cast that could cause supricating leg ulcers.

I have spoken to many (including family members) who wore puttees and they regarded the switch to the ankle gaiter as an immense improvement
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Old 23 Sep 17, 22:27
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Must've got some serious skin infections under those things, ringworm, boils, zits etc. Probably make a nice damp warm sweaty home for crabs, scrub lice, those tiny green ticks etc.
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Old 23 Sep 17, 22:46
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My favorite puttees:

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Old 24 Sep 17, 02:26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
Sorry but no. The puttee was originally an Indian civilian item of clothing and predates the arrival of the British in India and can be seen in Indian paintings and drawings. It appears to have been originally a Hindu item of clothing to be found in and around Haryana worn mainly by what we would today call the upper middle class. The North West Frontier is primarily a Muslim area.
Well, actually, yes. The key word there was 'adopted', as in first adopted in a military context by British troops in India, some time around 1870 (evidence is sketchy) but first seen being used in any quantity around the time of the Afghan War of 1878-80.

Puttees would seem to have been first used by officers hunting in the hills as seen in the accompanying photo of a Gordons officer returned from local leave circa 1870. The entry in 'Hobson Jobson' is illuminating.

"PUTTEE, PUTTY, s. Hind. paṭṭī.

a. A piece or strip of cloth, bandage; especially used in the sense of a ligature round the lower part of the leg used in lieu of a gaiter, originally introduced from the Himālaya, and now commonly used by sportsmen and soldiers. A special kind of cloth appears in the old trade-lists under the name of puteahs (see PIECE GOODS)....

1875. -- "Any one who may be bound for a long march will put on leggings of a peculiar sort, a bandage about 6 inches wide and four yards long, wound round from the ankle up to just below the knee, and then fastened by an equally long string, attached to the upper end, which is lightly wound many times round the calf of the leg. This, which is called patawa, is a much cherished piece of dress." -- Drew, Jummoo, 175."

Whether there is a link with pattu or 'puttoo' the homespun woollen cloth woven from goat or camel wool in the mountain districts is not clear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
I have spoken to many (including family members) who wore puttees and they regarded the switch to the ankle gaiter as an immense improvement


The reference was to the short puttee which, worn with hosetops, had been introduced for Highlanders to replace the pre-1914 spats worn with Service Dress. These proved useful for either kilted men, or men wearing shorts, during fighting in the Western Desert in WW2, as it helped keep dust and stones from the boots. It found more widespread use in the post-war period before the introduction of high-lacing 'combat boots.' It was worn by paratroopers, supposedly to support the ankles on landing, but the problems with water absorbency remained, and it was obviously an antiquated measure compared to providing soldiers with effective modern footwear. Short puttees had advantages in barracks because they did not need to be blancoed or boot-polished like the short, anklet gaiter.
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