Help wanted on Uniforms of the US Navy Landings at VERA CRUZ Mexico 1914

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Help wanted on Uniforms of the US Navy Landings at VERA CRUZ Mexico 1914

Post  Les-Art on Mon 09 Nov 2009, 3:58 am

Hi Guys,
Need your help here. I've noticed an interest amongst the members here on Naval uniforms and ranks through the years, so I am quite sure that someone has the information I seek.

In 1914 the US Navy took part in Landing operations against the town of VERA CRUZ , Mexico, the main force was composed of Navy personell and Marines from each ship involved. I have the details of the way in which the Marines would have dressed and details of how initially the sailors were uniformed with extra equipment from Army stocks as shown here worn by some of the first signallers to go ashore.
http://i88.servimg.com/u/f88/13/98/25/75/veracr10.jpg
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

As the action continued the sailors needed to be more camoflaged as their white uniforms were too good a target and took to dying their uniforms with coffee grounds, oil, and basically anything that came to hand. This is the information I need, apparently the dying was done ship by ship and the results varied from Brown to almost a red colour. So would like to know which ships were involved and what dyes were used per ship indicating what colour each group of sailors would have turned in.

I am sure someone has this info, so look forward to anything that can be provided especially if there are any coloured illustrations out there that show the differences between the colours. Thanks in advancet to anyone that can help.

Best Regards,
Les

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Re: Help wanted on Uniforms of the US Navy Landings at VERA CRUZ Mexico 1914

Post  ChrisF202 on Mon 09 Nov 2009, 7:50 am

All I have been able to find so far is:

BB-30 USS Florida (battleship)
BB-31 USS Utah (battleship)
AD-5 USS Prairie (a destroyer tender serving as a transport)

Both battleships had a crew of roughly 1,000 including a US Marine detachment which I believe was of company size. The USS Prairie served as a temporary transport ship and carried an additional 350 US Marines for the landings.

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Re: Help wanted on Uniforms of the US Navy Landings at VERA CRUZ Mexico 1914

Post  Les-Art on Mon 09 Nov 2009, 8:09 am

Thanks Chris it's a start.
Should have made it a little clearer in my first post, I don't need info on the US Marines it's the uniforms used by the sailors of the landing parties of the US Navy I need the info on.

I know that one ship used coffee grounds to dye their white uniforms but which ship, another used rust from the bilges which made an odd colour to the uniform. On shore these sailors were identifiable to each other because of these colours, so the 'look' must have been consistent within the ship.

The Naval Officers 'borrowed' uniforms from the marine officers and put on their Naval rank eppaulettes, so they would be in khaki.

Three ships don't seem to be enough for the length of this action and the number of men that seem to be involved in it.

Keep checking to see what you can find out, it's all appreciated.
Besrt Regards,
Les

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Vera Cruz Photo Site - Naval Uniforms

Post  brennapj@hotmail.com on Tue 10 Nov 2009, 3:48 am

Unfortunately, I can't help you with your specific question. However, I can provide this website which has many pictures of sailors at Vera Cruz in their "coffee-colored" uniforms. It is:

http://www.thortrains.com/online/veracruz1.htm

You may have already found this site. If not, hopefully it is of some use.

BTW - another one of the ships that provided landing parties was the battleship USS Michigan.

Pat Brennan

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Re: Help wanted on Uniforms of the US Navy Landings at VERA CRUZ Mexico 1914

Post  Les-Art on Tue 10 Nov 2009, 12:33 pm

Hi Pat,
Welcome to the forum.
The link you provided is actually what got me interested to know more, I downloaded some pictures from the site and from somewhere else, wish I could remember where, I found out about each ship using a different method of dying their uniforms for camoflage purposes.

From what I can find out the dark Blue uniforms stood out too much against the colour of the buildings and were easy for Mexican snipers to spot and therefore have go at.

Thanks for the info on the USS Michigan taking part.

Appreciate your help and if you come across anything else just post it here. If you find anymore links let me know it may be one I haven't found myself yet.

Best Regards,
Les

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Re: Help wanted on Uniforms of the US Navy Landings at VERA CRUZ Mexico 1914

Post  Les-Art on Sat 14 Nov 2009, 3:14 pm

HI Guys,
Here is one of the photos that got me interested in this question, it is taken from the website that Pat supplied the link to, I think it is a Library of Congress 'official' photo but I'm not certain.
http://i88.servimg.com/u/f88/13/98/25/75/vera_c10.jpg
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
It is clear that the dying of the uniforms didn't work for everyone and that the colours varied greatly, the two guys on the left seem to have had the most success achieving a dark brown colour but as you move to the right it seems that the other guys are having problems with consistant colour over the entire uniform, the worst being the sailor second from the right. next to the medic.
I suppose from the trying not to get shot point of view anything better than bright white was a good effort.

Looking at the smiles on some of the faces, especially the Chief in the centre showing off his colt .45 pistol, that this photo was taken after the action was all over.

Best Regards,
Les

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Re: Help wanted on Uniforms of the US Navy Landings at VERA CRUZ Mexico 1914

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