The fishtail parka was first used by the United States Army in 1950 during the Korean War. After the Second World War the US army recognized the need for a new cold weather combat system, resulting in four main styles of fishtail parka: the EX-48, M-48, M-51 and the M-65. The M stands for military, and the number is the year it was standardized. The name fishtail comes from the extension at the back that could be folded up between the legs and fixed using snap connectors to add wind-proofing. The fishtail was fixed at the front for warmth or folded away at the back to improve freedom of movement when needed.
The M-51 was introduced because the M-48 was too expensive to mass-produce. The outer hood of the M-51 Fishtail Parka is integral to the parka shell, an added hood liner as well as a button in main liner make the M-51 a versatile 3 piece parka. The early M-51 was made of heavy sateen cotton, the same material as the M-48. Later revisions of the M-51 were poplin based. The later liners were also revised from the wool pile (heavy when it becomes wet) to a lighter woolen loop or frieze wool design that dried easier and were far lighter. Primarily designed for the infantry, they are to be worn over other layers of clothing; the fishtail parka is insufficient to protect against conditions below -10 °C. Fishtail parkas are big as they were designed to be worn over battle dress and other layers.
In the UK of the 1960’s, the fishtail parka became a symbol of the mod subculture. Because of their availability from military surplus shops plus practicality and cheapness, the fishtail parka was seen as the ideal garment for fending off the elements and protecting the smarter clothes underneath from dirt and grease when on the scooter, the mod's vehicle of choice. In popular culture its place was assured by newspaper pictures of mods clad in fishtail parkas during the Bank Holiday riots of the 1960s.
It's made from a beautiful Cotton Sateen, the real deal when it comes to these parka's, features click buttons and perfect Real McCoy's zippers.
- 100% cotton exterior.
Made in Japan
* Liner in the last picture is to illustrate how the liner fits into the parka and is sold seperately.