A small selection of Tambrian uniforms and equipment, design work for my longtime comic book project "Inner Space"
Technologically speaking, the Inner Space world is situated around our world's late 40s, but a lot of the development has been pretty schizophrenic, so we end up seeing elements that were common in our world pre-war combined with a lot of post-war developments.
First and foremost, the Tambrian army equipment has been developed in peacetime and it's effectiveness in real world combat conditions still remains to be tested - there have been a few border incidents with the neighbouring nation of Marban, but the data gleamed from them was still pretty inconclusive.
Also, when it comes to it's fighting force Tambr relies on a mixture of universal conscription (this applies to all genders) to create a large pool of reservists, as well as a small cadre of professional soldiers which form the backbone of army, accounting for the bulk of the non-commissioned officer corps as well as the upper echelons of the officer corps.
The junior officers tend to be reservists with higher education, with army training integral to most university degrees.
For the purposes of illustration, all the soldiers drawn all have the rank of "Vzvotu
", the Inner space Equivalent of "Platoon Leader" or NATO OR-7, despite the fact the soldier at (2.) is clearly a conscript with an ill-fitting uniform... [the ranks and insignia will be discussed further in another instalment]
1a,b,c,d. The Tambrian Combat Dress Uniform consists of a lightweight tunic and trousers, steel helmet, steel body armour and combined cotton webbing and leather combat equipment.
The uniform is made out of cotton twill printed with a camouflage pattern [inspired by the "amoeba" pre-ww2 Soviet camo] but includes a slightly anachronistic element by having piping in the branch colour on both the tunic and trousers- in this case, yellow for infantry. The ranks are on the sleeves cuffs and also have the branch colour as background.[the branch colour and other insignia will be discussed further in a separate instalment]. The tunic is closed with heavy duty snaps concealed behind a fabric flap and includes two large pockets just below the edge of the body armour. The trousers have four pockets, two front internal ones and two large cargo pockets with with accordion folds located on the calves.
The helmet is complex, incorporating both hinged cheekpieces as well as a two-piece laminated neck guard to protect the back of the head. The design also incorporates two ventilation apertures above the temples and a suspension system with a headband and four internal pads attached directly to the shell. The chinstrap is attached to the cheekpeices, is made out of cotton webbing, has an integral chin cup and fastens on the left side with a heavy duty snap. The weight is about 1.6kg. [the design is based both on the RW WW2 American "T13 Aircrew Helmet", a precursor to the "M3 Anti-Flak Helmet" as well as the Italian "Mod.1933" Helmet and the Bulgarian "Каска М36"]
The helmet is painted in the standard greenish khaki used by most Tambrian military hardware and sports three sets of insignia - on the left side the regiment number in black on a diagonally divided background indicating branch and specialisation. In this case party per bend sinister, or-gules, to denote "infantry" ("or"-yellow) and "foot" ("gules"- red). On the back the rank in black, also with the branch colour as background, and, finally, the national insignia (white/black spiral) on the right side.
The body armour is also painted khaki and made out of five metal plates roughly 2.5mm thick - two to form the breastplate, two articulated ones to guard the lower abdomen and a small plate in the shape of an inverted trapezium [trapezoid, for the US readers] to guard the back. The plates are fixed to a padded cotton vest which opens at the front and also incorporates a neck guard. The whole weighs about 4kg and can protect against shrapnel, pistol and submachine gun bullets fired from more than 10m as well as assault rifle bullets fired from more than 100m out, as long as they hit at a slight angle. It will not stop the bullet of a full size rifle. [the body armour is closely based upon the Soviet prewar "Сталевий нагрудник" ("Stalnoi Nagrudnik", or "Steel bib")
The combat equipment is a mix of leather straps and cotton webbing and features a leather belt with two cotton magazine pouches for two magazine each in the front (which later proved insufficient and supplemented by adding another two pouches), a leather shovel carrier with folding shovel, scabbarded bayonet and cotton gas mask pouch on the left hip, cotton fabric bread bag with attached aluminium mess tin and an aluminium water bottle with fabric camo cover on the right hip.
The combat backpack also attaches to the top of the cartridge pouches and to the back of the belt via hook and loop fasteners and is designed to work as a shoulder harness, incorporating pads on the shoulders. The top of the backpack also has webbing designed to hold the helmet during marches.
The shelter half is rectangular, can also serve as a rain cape and it's rolled up outside of the sleeping bag. The three-piece aluminium pole is in the middle of the roll along with a small pouch containing three tent pegs and some string. [ based on the Soviet ww2 shelter half]
The soldier also wears lace-up leather boots, painted reddish-brown and with padded tops made of cotton twill.
The weapon is the standard Tambrian Lirak-Trit assault rifle in the 6HT/CA calibre (8X46mm caseless) and the magazine holds 30 rounds. [it will be described further in another instalment]
2a,b. The Garrison/Service dress is the same tunic and trouser combo of the Combat dress, but without the helmet and body armour. No belt is usually worn with this uniform, but the head should be covered at all times while outdoor.
The standard Tambrian cap is represented at (2b.) and is distinctive because of its V-shaped top, circular headband and ear flaps, which are worn down at all times and fastened under the chin. This is supposed to resemble that of the steel helmets worn in times when edged weapon combat was still common.
The cap is made out of the same camouflage fabric as the uniform, with piping in the branch colour and features the same three insignia as the helmet, but with the national arms in front, rank on the right an unit on the left. [keeping with the Balkan feel of the Inner Space world, the cap is based on the real life Serbian national hat, the šajkača, but with added ear flaps- it has, however, no connotations to real life nationalist movements and I chose it purely due to the visual impact]
The shoulders have removable padding used both for practical purposes, but also to resemble armoured spaulders. The collar of the uniform is the same colour as the piping, and beneath it, the soldier wears a khaki neckerchief.
3. For military parades and ceremonies the Tambrian Army wears a different uniform in the traditional Tambrian blue-grey. It has roughly the same design as the Combat and Field dress, but with external pockets ommited. The tunic and trousers are also piped in the branch colour, while the boots are the same as used with the other uniforms.
The shoulders and cap band are stylised polished steel versions of the spaulders and helmets worn by armoured infantry for edged weapon combat. Further decorative elements are a braided aiguillete in the branch colour which doubles as a pistol lanyard, as well as a square curl of silver braid on the upper thigh [based on the "Austrian Knots" worn in real life by hussars as well as the square loop used by the Romanian and Italian Air forces as part of their sleeve rank insignia].
A white leather belt and holster are also worn, as well as white gloves, cotton for enlisted and leather for officers. The rifle sling is also white leather.
The "unit" cap insignia is party per bend sinister, or-argent ("argent"-in this case, white), with the white representing guard units.
The soldier is presenting arms in the typical Tambrian fashion, with the left foot drawn perpendicularly behind the right heel [inspired by late 18th and early 19th century Austrian army drill], left arm diagonally in front of the chest and right palm down along the butt of the rifle.
The rifle itself is a Lirak-Oden bolt action rifle in 6HT/CAM (8X60mm caseless), in use with the Tambrian army by snipers and as a ceremonial rifle. The scabbard for the bayonet , also with a white leather frog, is located on the left hip, behind the pistol holster.