Some soldiers in the early North American colonies wore metal helmets and breastplates, but these proved cumbersome in the woodlands and were soon abandoned. Gunpowder cannon and small arms, and the increasing mobility of warfare, diminished the importance of personal armor, which finally disappeared by the end of the seventeenth century.
Steel helmets reappeared in the twentieth century largely to protect against shrapnel and fragments from artillery shells. In World War I, the Americans adopted the shallow British “tin hat,” but the U.S. Army developed its own deeper helmet for World War II. A new configuration, including more neck protection, was adopted in the 1980s.
The French and Germans experimented with metal cuirasses for machine gunners in World War I; the Americans did not adopt chest armor until World War II, when some bomber crews were provided with “flak jackets.”
Beginning in the Vietnam War, American combat infantrymen wore protective vests made of new composite materials, such as kevlar, covered by fabric. The vests, which provided relative flexibility and low heat retention, were designed to protect against blast fragments and antipersonnel, small‐arms “ball” ammunition. Crews of ground vehicles, helicopters, and other aircraft today wear heavier vests made of metal (often titanium), or ceramic tiles contained in the pockets; these prove bulkier but more efficient against small‐caliber armor‐piercing ammunition.
John Whiteclay Chambers II
"Body Armor." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 20, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/body-armor
"Body Armor." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved November 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/body-armor
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.