What is Allyness?
'Allyness' is best described as military fashion sense, i.e. wearing various non-issue items, or modifying issue clothing or equipment in order to look subtly different from one's peers. This can cause chaos when the entire battalion is trying to do the same thing: 'Oh my God! 'He's wearing the same smock as me!'
Many - if not all - champions of 'allyness' will argue that they aren't doing it for the look, but rather because the standard issue items are either not up to the job, or as good as the kit that they've bought.
Sometimes issue items can become 'ally' simply by being used in a theatre other than where they are usually issued; for example: the wearing of jungle combats, or Falklands parkas in the UK. Alternatively wearing jungle combats in the Falklands, or a Falklands parka in the jungle would not be in the least 'ally', and would at best probably be classified as stupidity.
Can anything unusual be ally?
Yes... and no. And speaking of stupidity. There is a fine line between ally and stupidity, i.e. between looking the business (even if you don't have a clue what you're doing) and looking like a big timing walty cnut. There was a time when it was acceptable within certain circles to put chains in the bottoms of one's OGs. It looked odd, and sounded even odder, with blokes chinking & clanking around camp with weighted lightweights - which is sort of oxymoronic. This was decidedly non-ally behaviour, and verging on gayness.
Attaching the rings off grenade pins to one's jacket or boot zips, however, was (somehow) ally. This was actually strange in itself as boot zips were an idea that was only ever provisionally ally, i.e. until you actually tried using them, and found out that if you laced the boots tight enough to tab in the zips didn't work properly.
So what stuff is ally?
Typical ally items include:
- SAS Smocks. Has anyone actually ever used the hood?
- Para Smocks - especially if you're not a Para, and obviously the bigger the better.
- Arctic windproofs.
- Tropical combats - tailored and bleached to pastel shades.
- DPM Flying Jackets.
- Aircrew Boots - in fact anything aircrew.
- Jungle Boots.
- Jungle hats with the brim and crown cut down drastically - or folded under to resemble the DILAC hat.
- Woolly hats.
- Pace beads.
- Beta lights.
- Assault vests.
- '44 pattern water bottle pouches.
- Thigh holsters.
- BFO knives.
- Zip-It boot zips - with grenade pin pulls.
- Officers berets.
- Para Helmet - in lieu of a '44 Patt. tortoise.
- DILAC Hats - yes, there was a renaissance.
- Hi-Tech Trail boots.
- Ranger Boots
- Berghaus gaiters.
- Lowa Combat boots or similar
- Jetboil stoves
Please feel free to add more!
Who is ally?
Champions of 'allyness' include (but are not limited to):
- The Paras
- The Ghurkas
- The Australian Commandos
- The French Foreign Legion (Especially 2 REP)
- The SBS
- The Royal Marines
With the exception of the above formations, there was a time when the only opportunity for the majority of fighting units to have seen any real action would have been if World War 3 had kicked off. The Gulf War changed all that and many line infantry regiments have been in the thick of it in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Of consequence allyness abounds throughout the armed forces with operational tours seeing examples of allyness being taken to previously unheard of levels of nailsness - very often out of necessity. It doesn't get more ally than that!
New Zealand Variants
The NZ Army has a very similar system, with many changes the same. Except instead of "Ally" it is known as being "Warry" or Warey, as in, someone who is ready to bring war upon others.