1950s Fishtail Parka


The 1950s war machine introduced The Fishtail Parka as one of the true layered ‘flexible clothing’ systems. It could be worn in all weather conditions. The ‘Fishtail Fins’ in the back were originally meant to be tied to your legs to give you full insulation and a closed garment system. It enabled the United States Army paratroopers with aerodynamics and provided safety.

M-51 Fishtail Parka 1950

The US army worked on several versions of the Fishtail Parka during the second world war. For colder climates they started with 1945 (the OD-7 a hooded parka and liner) but it was a flop. Later it was redesigned as the M-48, also known as the M-1948, named after the year of issue.


It’s simple design and pocketed arm was similar to the MA-1 flight jacket. The fully perfected M-51 once they worked out the details, was widely accepted for it’s versatility. And by the early 1950s it was heavily produced with important elements like the pile lining, sleeve pocket and original fur trim hood. Which was later replaced with synthetic fur.

Other details that came on the original M-51 included a light hood, epaulettes and buttons that you could affix to a heavier hood in colder climates. Perfected during the second generation with quick dry material, cotton and wool lining, it gave a paratrooper mobility without loosing heat.

M-51 Fishtail Parka 1950 - Minus The Hood

Still practical today the 1950s Fishtail Parka is a great addition to your vintage military wardrobe. These came in stock olive green color, as well as a dull darker green all standard during world war two. Look for the original real-fur-lined hood, it is rare if you can find it.

Best of luck sourcing one of these sweet military jackets they’re a real score and very practical in many climates.



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