With Veterans day in the USA, and Remembrance Sunday in the UK recently passed us by and the thoughts of armed forces very much in our minds during this holiday period. I therefore thought it would be interesting to write about the use of tarps during times of war.

During the first World war tarps otherwise known as tarpaulins were used extensively in trench warfare, in many occasions they were used to make shelters for the troops especially as the trenches filled up with rainwater very easily due to months of continuous rain. Tarpaulins were also used for covering up supplies drawn by hose and cart, whether it was for munitions or for general supplies such as food etc. Most of the tarps used during the first world war would have been canvas known as tarred canvas. These tarps would have been heavy and difficult to use as canvas is very heavy, especially when wet they absorb a lot of moisture unlike the pvc and poly tarps of today. Most of the canvas tarps used by the military would have been gray or olive green in color. Tarps at that time would have been made with large strong brass grommets.

By the time we reached the second world war tarps were probably more extensively used for covering a multiple of items such as truck covers, covering guns on tanks, as well as munitions and general supplies. A kind of tarp made from netting was also used for the purpose of camouflaging tanks, guns, trucks and equipment. They would be used for hiding the equipment from enemy observation. Also camouflage tarps came into use whether it was the standard olive green or desert shade camo tarps. As in the first world war tarps were used extensively for temporary shelters. The tarp material was made into tents which were used a great deal in the Korean and Vietnam wars. Tarps were often called hootch by the soldiers the word coming from the Japanese which translates to house.

In today’s modern warfare the strong lightweight camouflage tarps are used, either made from PVC or woven polyethylene. These useful tarps have proven to be the right solution for covering up the military’s assets in peace and during times of war.

By Papa

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