1944-1945 Fifth Army HQ – Blue Cotton

This jersey also has the accompanying trousers – both in cotton duck and trimmed with the red over white rayon soutache. The material was used rather than wool to allow for more breathing and to be cooler to wear in hotter climates.

Showing the lettering and trim on the placket. The red material is wool felt with the “Headquarters Co” stitched onto the long tail of the “Y”. The thinner white rayon soutache is 1/2-inch wide and encircles the collar. The buttons are blue-plastic two-hole convex and are larger than most baseball uniform fasteners.
The tail of the F is pulled away as the stitching is separated.

Not all 1940s/World War II military uniforms were made with wool flannel. Cotton wasn’t as high in demand as was wool, the principle material used for the millions of dress uniforms used by all branches of the armed forces (including the Coast Guard). This Fifth Army Headquarters team uniform set (there are two pieces; jersey and trousers) is constructed from a heavy canvas base material (cotton duck or “duck cloth”).

As with the majority of the baseball uniforms used during WWII, there are no manufacturer’s tags (a small size tag is attached inside the collar). Another commonality present on this jersey are the two-hole, convex buttons which are affixed in a standard alignment. The collar, unlike what is found on the similar cotton duck Marines jersey, fastens lower, forming a vee.

The highlight feature of this uniform set is the soutache that extends from the collar, across the ridge of the shoulder down to the edge of the sleeve cuff. Constructed from a rayon weave, this trim features a 3/4-inch brilliant red band that slightly overlaps two 1/2-inch white bands (forming a broad, two-color stripe), contrasting quite distinctively over the rich blue colored base fabric. The two-color soutache is also found on the trousers on the outer seam of each leg, reaching from the waistband to the cuff-edge of the legs. Two 1/2-inch wide bands of the same rayon trim encircle the collar and meet below the last button on the jersey’s placket. The  bottom of each sleeve also features the same, 2 bands of 1/2-inch white rayon trim.

The red athletic felt script lettering on the jersey’s chest features a long, broad tail of the “Y” (in “Army”) with “Headquarters Co.” stitched on the lower half in white thread.

As with so many of these military baseball jerseys, the Fifth Army HQ top fastens with convex, two-holed buttons (made of blue plastic).

In addition to the two uniform pieces, this group included a small, burgundy-colored (cotton) fabric banner with the team name applied with with white, chain-stitched block letters, spelling out the team name.

Historical Research
There are no markings, tags or other details that could help to provide a specific date that this uniform was used. However, research provides a little insight that does help to answer the age question. Considering the name on the jersey, “Fifth Army,” this designation was used until the Fifth Army was deactivated in October of 1945. The Firth Army was formed in 1943 in French Morocco and would serve in the Mediterranean on the Italian front. Following the end of hostilities, the Fifth Army would dominate the athletic leagues formed between European and North African units, winning championships with their baseball teams. Further research regarding the Headquarters Company team is forthcoming.

Uniform Features:

Jersey:

  • Buttons: The buttons are blue-colored plastic, convex, two-hole.
  • Material: The base material is medium-weight, blue cotton duck.
  • Soutache: A double line of 1/2-inch white-weave rayon material encircling the collar, down the placket and positioned at the edge of the sleeve cuffs. In addition, a 3/4-inch red rayon flanked by two 1/2-inch white rayon stripes extend from the collar to the sleeve cuffs,
  • Lettering: Red athletic script lettering spelling out the team name (with Headquarters Co. embroidered over the wide tail of the “Y”) diagonal across the chest, on both sides of the placket.
  • Numerals: None.
  • Sleeves: Twelve-fourteen inches, non-vented.
  • Other features: None
  • Tag:  No manufacturer’s tags. There is a small white tag with red numerals indicating the size of the jersey (“38”).

Trousers:

  • Buttons: Blue-colored plastic, convex, two-hole buttons (matching those on the jersey).
  • Material: The base material is medium-weight, blue cotton duck.
  • Soutache: A 3/4-inch red rayon flanked by two 1/2-inch white rayon stripes extending from the waistband to the leg cuff.
  • Tags:  No manufacturer’s tags.
  • Other Features: Rather than elastic in the leg-openings, the trousers have sewn-in straps with buckles for adjustment.

Accompanying the jersey and trousers is this 14″ x 11″ banner with chain-stitched lettering of the team name.

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