Cards for Soldiers

Cards for Soldiers

By Alex J. Coyne © 2018 Gifts for Card Players

Card decks can be utilized for far more than just a card game. The US Military has had several limited-run card decks printed for issue to soldiers, not just to keep their minds and hands busy during idle time, but also sometimes to aid in daring escapes or the identification of hostile forces.

Bicycle Escape Map Playing Cards

The US Playing Card Company is known for being the largest card-producing company around, and during the second World War they combined their efforts with the US Army to produce a deck known as the Escape Map deck. These cards, when wet, would peel away to reveal secret maps and routes; the entire map would be revealed when the revealed cards were placed together. At the time, this helped many soldiers escape from their captivity – yes, with a deck of playing cards.

Official US Army Playing Cards by Bicycle

 These official US Army playing cards are made by Bicycle and contain the mascot of the US Army on the cards; yes, these were specially made to be issued to soldiers, though you can buy a reproduction deck, still made by Bicycle.

Bicycle Tactical Field Deck

The tactical field deck by Bicycle is a special modern spin on playing cards and we imagine this is what James Bond would take along for a night out on the town for a card game. These cards are designed to be played with even in particularly rough circumstances and weather conditions, and they are also perfectly visible through night-vision goggles, too, just in case you happen to have one of those around the house.

International Aircraft Silhouettes Spotter Cards

International Aircraft Silhouettes Spotter Cards was another co-operative effort between the US Army and US Playing Card Company during WW2; this time, the cards were designed to help soldiers spot aircraft from miles away by incorporating it into a regular pastime: Playing a game of cards.

The 52 Ace-of-Spades

This might be one of the more morbid items on the list, but it just goes to show you that the consequences of war are never pleasant: During the Vietnam war, a special deck of playing cards was issued to US soldiers – one that contained only Aces of Spades. Why? This, at the time, was the calling card for an imminent confrontation with the US Army soldiers, or just their firepower. You can read more about the Ace of Spades as a calling card at Gizmodo.

Bicycle Iraqi Most Wanted Playing Cards

These playing cards, also Bicycle-branded, were issued to the US Army during their time spent in Iraq; this time, the cards had printed on them the faces of the Most Wanted suspects at that point in time – this ensured that, much like the spotter cards of WW2, soldiers would be trained to recognize what they saw right on sight by incorporating it into their card games.

It’s a common fact that mentally tying cards to objects can jog a person’s memory; what do you think of when you picture a ten of hearts or a seven of diamonds?

Photo by Matt Briney on Unsplash
Related Stories
Magic Kits - Gifts for Card Players
Exploring Magic Kits
Many professional magicians consider magic kits corny, but they can still remember their first one!
Crafts with Cards - Gifts for Card Players
4 Easy Crafts You Can Do With Cards
Whether you’re a parent of a young child, a lifelong crafter and Pinterest fan, or
Sleight of Card: The Very Basics of Card Magic
Sleight of Card: The Very Basics of Card Magic
Can you remember the first card trick you ever saw? It leaves an impression on
Ellusionist and other Trick Card Resources - Gifts for Card Players
Trick Card Decks & Where to Find Them
Over the years, I’ve developed a deep-rooted fine love for card and coin tricks; those