North Vietnamese Army Viet Cong Cadre Enlisted Khaki Uniform with Epaulets
The standard NVA uniform worn in the South by NVA enlisted and NVA officers consisted of a two pocket shirt and pleated trousers very similar to dress pants, such as Dockers. The detail on the pockets was something unique to the North Vietnamese Army. Most NVA uniforms worn in the South were made in the PRC to specifications issued from Hanoi. PLA uniforms of the period greatly differed from these made for Hanoi exports.
ENLISTED SHIRT DETAIL
Stand and fall rolled collar;
Two pleated chest pockets;
Scalloped pocket flaps;
Darts along the rear shoulder seam;
Pleased cuffs at the wrist;
Detailed ends on the wrist pleats;
Pocket flap undersides were made from two scraps of material pieced together;
Collar undersides were also made from scraps of material pieced together;
Buttons are all the same size, have raised edges and are convex.
Two inward hanging slash pockets on the trousers;
Button and Loops for blousing at the cuffs;
Three buttons at the inner upper waist;
Single button rear pocket on the right hip;
Darts on the rear hip;
Waistband and pockets are often white muslim but sometimes khaki.
In pre war and early war years, NVA uniforms, made in the PRC, were made in light colors such as khaki tan, khaki brown light gray and dark gray. As the supply of what was arguably surplus and obsolete fabric was exhausted in the PRC, the colors being used began to shift to various shades of green and brown. As the NVA expanded its ranks, and more and more uniforms were made by the PRC, the final color adopted by the NVA was a reed green color. This was the same color and fabric begin worn by the PLA in the 1960s. Other PRC made NVA uniforms, such as blue, were issued but on a much less frequent basis.
The vast majority of NVA uniforms were made in 100% cotton twill. Twill is a fabric where you can see parallel rows of fabric; one row being higher than the adjacent row. Poplin, a flat lightweight cotton fabric, was also used in making NVA uniforms, but much less frequently.
The Chinese have been marking uniforms they make with production numbers, consisting of several numerals, stamped in the armpit area or in crotch area since the Korean War. I have seen this detail in hats and uniforms from the early 1950s. They continued this practice when they manufactured uniforms for Hanoi, the Pathet Lao, Khmer Rouge and of the themselves into the 1980s. Real wartime NVA uniforms made in the PRC, in decent shape, will have these production numbers.
Post 1975 Uniforms often have Vietnamese labels.
Classic early wartime NVA uniform. The fact that the pockets are not pleated suggests it is very early 1960s production or made for NVA Cadre to the Viet Cong. The Viet Cong Main Force did not often go to the trouble of pleating the pockets on their shirts. Classic ChiCom buttons and fabric.
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