90th IDPG Reviews


Buzz Ricksons Tanker Jacket
Jacket, Combat, Winter

Review Date: 8/22/2012
Author: Sean Foster


National Archives


The "Tanker Jacket" (actual description Jacket, Combat, Winter) was a desirable garment to obtain as an infantryman serving in WWII.  It was commonly issued as a garment to armor crews and as a result the nickname "Tanker jacket" was adopted, despite its issue to non-armored personnel.

The Quartermaster Catalog describes the "Jacket, Combat, Winter" as "A windproof, water-repellent cotton jacket with kersey lining and knitted wool waistband, cuffs and neck."

I was loaned a repro of this jacket made by Buzz Rickson in Japan, in order to write this review.  I am writing to share my observations so others can make an informed decision if they are in the market for this garment.


Not available in the USA except possibly through History Preservation Associates, or online auctions.  I did see some of these during a trip to Japan in February 2012 and this repro matches my memory of the garments on the rack in the store in Nagoya.


Factoring for the exchange rate, this garment is currently around $425, not including postage from Japan which would add possibly another $100.  This is the most expensive repro of this jacket which I am aware of as of this writing.

History Preservation Associates retails the garment for $460 + $23 Shipping.

Size reviewed: 40R

The Review:

For this review, I am comparing my original which is not marked however it is sized exactly as the repro, so I can safely say both garments measure at 40R. The original was most likely marked size "Medium" originally.  It is a pleasant surprise to compare two which are identical in size.  The original is on the left, or bottom of the photos.


These Buzz Rickson repros are made in even numbered sizes (40, 42, 44, etc) which is not how the originals were made, but it allows for a more precise fit. Some other repros are made in size ranges (Medium, Large, X-Large, etc) and this is how originals were sized.  This 40R most likely equates to an original "Medium".

Special thanks to Bill K. who offered a correction with regards to information on sizing of originals. Below is an example supplied by Bill of an original tag from his collection.  You can see how the repro tag suitably matches most of the details of the original, apart from the difference in size designation (40R versus Medium).

The patterning of the repro compares very well to the original.  Details of the seam construction were duplicated almost exactly.  The size came out to be the same, so I conclude there is no size distortion incorporated into the pattern.

There are two minor differences I note from the original pattern.  First I noticed the zipper pull is about 1/2" higher on the garment on the repro, this will make the bottom edge have a slight inverted "V" when worn.


The other aspect in which I notice anything slightly 'off' from the original is the depth of the expansion pleats in the back.  This is a minor difference.  


The garment is well made, and the seam construction lines up with the original (single row stitching where it should be, double row stitching where it should be, etc).

The stitches per inch are nearly the same as in the original, and I noticed no obvious errors in the seams.  The garment appears to be solid and stable.

The shell fabric compares well with the original, both are "Z" twill and in the proper weight and color.

The lining material is one aspect which could have been duplicated better.  The repro lining is more loosely woven and not napped to the extent of the original (raising fibers on the surface to increase thermal insulation and make the fabric look more finished).  The repro wool is thinner, more like I would expect to see in a M41 field jacket.  The original lining is heavy melton wool and even though worn, you cannot see the weave structure as easily as in the repro.

The zipper is brass and the zipper pull looks like a vintage zipper pull.  The bottom end of the zipper is farther from the garment edge, as mentioned earlier.

The knit material for the cuffs and waistband is a more olive shade of green than the original, however the material of the original most likely experienced some color fading over the past 7 decades.


Like the original, this repro has the zipper extend only halfway up the knit collar (some others I have seen have the zipper extend up to the top).

The knit cuffs are sewn in place as in the original; they are made of one tubular piece of knit (no seam down the side of the cuff) and top-stitched where the cuff goes into the sleeve.

Pockets are good - no obvious issues.


Other repros:
At this time the other repros I am aware of are the WWII Impressions one (US made and reviewed in another article) and others made overseas (most from China, some from Pakistan).

This is an excellent repro although it comes with a heavy price tag.  The lining is not as thick and warm as in the original, or in other repros, so I expect it to not be as warm in the colder months as the others which use heavier wool.  The garment is patterned well, and is well made and should last through multiple reenacting seasons.  If I owned one which fit my tall frame properly, I would not hesitate to wear it although due to the cost I would be keeping it reserved more for cleaner displays and civilian wear.




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