Cotton kills

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santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
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can take 2,700 litres to produce the cotton needed to make a single t-shirt.
In what part of the process? I don’t know anything about cotton production AFTER the bales leave the farm, but up to that point no cotton farms in the Southeast that I’ve ever worked on or seen have ever irrigated. Just natural rainfall. There might be some that do, but I’ve certainly never seen them.
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Many developing countries grow cotton in very dry areas and have to irrigate heavily.
The Soviets were quite crafty, they changed the flow of rivers so instead flowing into the Aral Sea they flowed towards an arid area. Cotton was grown there. They had so much of it that it became THE insulation for winter clothes.
The resulting cotton padded jacket is called Telogrejka.
Which can be translated loosely to ‘body warmer’
 

Paul_B

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Jul 14, 2008
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Was Russian cotton insulation a case of using what they had even if it's not the best for the job? I can imagine in such a regime you did and wore what you were told and learnt to cope with it. Would they not have used other materials if they were cheaper and more available? I doubt you could go to a Russian version of endicotts and buy a better insulation layer perhaps from China?
 

Mark Baigent

Full Member
In what part of the process? I don’t know anything about cotton production AFTER the bales leave the farm, but up to that point no cotton farms in the Southeast that I’ve ever worked on or seen have ever irrigated. Just natural rainfall. There might be some that do, but I’ve certainly never seen them.

https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/the-impact-of-a-cotton-t-shirt

https://preview.tinyurl.com/rkcjs48

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/mar/20/cost-cotton-water-challenged-india-world-water-day
 

Janne

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Was Russian cotton insulation a case of using what they had even if it's not the best for the job? I can imagine in such a regime you did and wore what you were told and learnt to cope with it. Would they not have used other materials if they were cheaper and more available? I doubt you could go to a Russian version of endicotts and buy a better insulation layer perhaps from China?
Possibly. Probably.

They learned to use and function with what they had.
 

Paul_B

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Jul 14, 2008
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Possibly. Probably.

They learned to use and function with what they had.
If it's the case does it make a good case study for using cotton in winter? I doubt we will know for sure. But I do expect the Russian conscripts to be like British army raw recruits in that that only use issued kit. However as the British soldier knows a bit more they'll buy those alternatives that are better if their regiment allows personal kit of course. That's when they'll diverge. The Russian soldier probably sticks purely with issued kit and copes.

Out of curiosity, what do Norwegian, swedish, Finnish, Russian, American and Canadian soldiers wear now?
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
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Was Russian cotton insulation a case of using what they had even if it's not the best for the job? I can imagine in such a regime you did and wore what you were told and learnt to cope with it. Would they not have used other materials if they were cheaper and more available? I doubt you could go to a Russian version of endicotts and buy a better insulation layer perhaps from China?
Probably a bit of both:
A) What was cheap and/or available, and
B) What worked best
Remember, the Russian winter is actually what defeated the Nazis (and every other invader in history) Obviously the cotton quilted undergarments the Russians wore worked whereas whatever the Germans were wearing didn’t.

Thanks. I couldn’t open the middle one but both the other two indicated the water usage was in the growing process. Certainly not the case on the larger cotton plantations here nor on the smaller family farms. As I said, no irrigation is used here. It perhaps more importantly, even in the areas of the world where the cotton crop does require irrigation, is there any other fiber that takes less? (as others have already commented)
 
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Janne

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I do not know, but will check tonight. Should be able to find the info online. I will check the Swedish Army only though.

Yes, these 'real life' situations are a good pointer.
Of course, the Soviets were used to adverse conditions of all kinds!

The Germans had high tech equipment, tight tolerances. Difficult to manufacture ( and replace) and it was not made for the Russian cold.

For example, their advanced spotting binoculars, the various 10x 80 ( 20, 45, 90 degrees) and the 20x80 were so finely made the lubrication grease froze and they were unusable.

The Germans had huge losses due to frost bite. Mother had to walk to school along a hospital where they treated these guys and still talks about it.....

I suspect they too used cotton? They did in early part of the war, and then the [population had to ive as much of their clothes to the German state to e respun/reused for the mil equipment.

From -43 they id not use coton in their bandages though.
Badly refined nettle fibers. Civil clothes were used of these fibers too.

But they were not used to the cold, whereas the Soviets were.
There are no statistics of the Soviet casualties due to cold though.
 
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TLM

Settler
Nov 16, 2019
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Nettle was apparently used for uniforms in WW1 so very possibly in WW2 too. Properly done nettle is a stronger fiber than cotton, I have never come across data on wearing.

Finnish soldiers use polyester/cotton on top and cotton and wool underneath. Slightly earlier (when the stone axe had just been invented) when I served we had all wool outer clothing in the winter.

During WW2 when Germany first had problems with winter weather they came for advice to Finland, they were told what was used here to cope. I have read in two books that the advice was not accepted as "the methods would affect the military uniform and looks in an unsoldiery way". So the Germans would rather freeze and lose than change their ways or admit that their general winter clothing was not fit for the conditions.
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Many German soldiers 'adopted' civilian outerwear, like fur coats they nicked from the population. Plus had home knitted socks and such.

Thee things are usually forgotten, or not pointed out in discussions of clothing:
What is worn on the feet, head and hands.
I do not know in the Finnish Army, but in the Swedish one, up in the North, in the deep cold, we had ancient woolen boots, Sheepskin 'Ushankas' - caps with inner sheepskin lining and outer cotton, with ear flaps) and multi layer gloves.
I was in Arvidsjaur between -79 and early -83. 4th Squadron.
The regiment had just moved from the caves in Umea and into the new, state of the art huts in Arvidsjaur!
:)
 

TLM

Settler
Nov 16, 2019
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We used rubber boots with thick felt liners, ok. Hats were the std Finnish winter model which is ok. Hands were the problem, one got cold with everything on, except when skiing.

But I do agree with you, if the head, hands and feet are warm things are mostly ok.
 
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Janne

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No. K4 Norrlandsjaegare.
( sorry, do not have the Scandi letters here at work)
As it is/was an old cavalry regiment, a Company is/was a Squadron.
The last horse was stuffed in our Officers mess.

A similar unit to the one in Sodakyla, but more long range movements.
Walking, skis.
 
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Janne

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37 years go now.
Then, Ivan was breathing down our necks. Happy, peaceful times now!
I think that the equipment we can buy today is not as good as then. Does not last.

Also most clothes seem to be thinner? Thinner fabrics do not insulate as well as thick fabrics .
 

TLM

Settler
Nov 16, 2019
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Vantaa, Finland
I know that cellulose triacetate has been used as textile material but I have no experince on it (that I can remember). It should feel like viscose but absorb much less water.
 

TLM

Settler
Nov 16, 2019
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Vantaa, Finland
I have one very cheap polyester pile pullover, it is about 10mm thick and surprisingly comfortable but difficult to fit under other clothing. Alone wind blows through it but the thinnest windbreaker is enough to make the combination quite warm.
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Our unit were involved in various experients.
One of them was the all synthetic 'performance' clothing, made from synthetic fibers.
Superb the first half a day. as soon as the sweat dried, plus the skin fat adhered to it, they became useless. lost the insulation properties and started smelling very badly.


In British winter cold ( say - down to -5 C) I would say the optimal layering ( if doing moderate physical activity like walking and carrying a backpack under 10Kg) would be a brynja, cotton shirt, a thin jumper of whichever fiber, and a windproof/water resistant jacket with a full zip.
Of course, a woolen beanie or similar. Unlined leather gloves.

You can get wet two ways. From rain/melting snow, or from sweating. Both ways are bad, and will sap the body warmth.
 

TLM

Settler
Nov 16, 2019
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Vantaa, Finland
What kind of cold temps can one expect in the UK? Wind chill affects things but differently.

Here in the north the practical low is -40C and -30C in the south.