Tanker Boots

Reader Samuel Suggs in the previous post about 120mm ammunition has a sharp eye:

This is an off topic and possibly stupid question but: why does the soldier in second photo have buckles on his boots?

One of the things about the Army that I liked was that for a “uniform” service, there was considerable scope for individuality.  From the way one wore their patrol cap, the how they bloused their trousers into their boots, there was a surprising array of styles and techniques. From the outside, to civilians, troops look mostly indistinguishable. But as an insider, you could tell a lot about a troop by his sense of style.

And then there are those traditions among the various arms and services. Perhaps best known is the Cavalry’s attachment to Stetsons and spurs. There was also the famous “jump boots” which, by the time I was in, was authorized, and indeed pretty much expected of every troop to have  pair for ceremonial use.

But tankers too have their own institution- the tanker boot. For many years, armor crewmen have had either tacit or explicit permission to wear boots using straps and buckles in lieu of the more traditional laces.


Back when the Army wore black leather boots.


Current tan rough side out version.

As far as I know, their adoption by armor crewman has never been universal (after all, the Army will issue lace up boots, but tanker boots came out of your own pocket).

Wiki tells us that the idea of the tanker boot in the US Army originated with George Patton in World War I.

4 thoughts on “Tanker Boots”

  1. I still have my Dehner’s. Best investment I ever made for buying personal gear.

    1. I resisted buying Dehners for years. Finally did and never been happy with them at all. Bad fit in one, both uncomfortable and they misspelled my name. Worse, I never got around to having them fix it.

  2. Only requirement to wear tanker boots is to qualify the tank during Gunnery Table VI (formerly known as Tank Table VIII). Interestingly, I have seen a couple of infantrymen in command of Combined Arms Battalions elect to fight from the tank, rather than the Bradley (can’t say I blame them) Anwar tanker boots (on occasion) after qualifying the tank. I did a certificate “authorizing” guys to wear their tanker boots after qualifying. We’d print them up and I’d sign them out on the range for the new guys.

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