Canada was unusual in issuing a dedicated mess tins pouch with their 51 pattern webbing set. They carried this practice on with the 64 pattern set, with the new design made of the same plasiticised cotton as the other elements of this web sets. The mess tins pouch is very similar in basic design to the grenade pouch we looked at a couple of weeks ago. The pouch is made of green waterproofed cotton and is a square shape:The lid is secured with a plastic quick release buckle and cotton tab:The back of the pouch has the same belt loop as the grenade pouch:Again this is secured with Velco, allowing it to be easily attached to a belt or removed:Whilst this Velcro was fine when the pouch was new, as it wore it became less ‘sticky’ and there was an increased danger of the pouch dropping off when he wearer least wanted it to! The pouch is perfectly sized to take a pair of Canadian style mess tins:Apparently the mess tin carrier was frequently used for carrying a Canadian soldier’s waterproof gear rather than mess tins. I rather like the concept of a dedicated mess tin pouch, but it is a concept that was not adopted by any other military and the Canadians themselves dropped the dedicated pouch when they introduced the 82 pattern set- apparently there was concern that aluminium mess tins could lead to Alzheimer’s in Canada. Notably the British are still using aluminium mess tins…
Having spent the last couple of weeks taking an overview of the post war Canadian 64 pattern and 82 pattern sets, tonight we start looking at the individual components in more detail with the 1964 pattern grenade pouch. The pouch is a simple box shape, made of green cotton webbing with a plastic coating to waterproof it:This plastic coating was notorious for flaking off in use, so this example is in particularly nice condition. The pouch has a box lid, secured with a plastic post and loop and a webbing quick release tab:The back of the pouch has a large belt loop:This is secured with Velcro so it is particularly easy to add and remove the pouch from the rest of the set:Note also the extra loop of Velcro on the base of the pouch, this was designed to carry the grenade launcher for the FN C1 rifle. The pouch is marked inside the flap with a date of September1982 and a manufacturer’s name of Manta:The pouch was designed to carry two M26 or M67 (C13) fragmentation grenades:
However it was too small fopr this and they were an incredibly tight fit. It was far better holding V40 ‘mini frag’ grenades, five fitting into the pouch:The pouch was also frequently used to carry a cleaning kit for the wearer’s weapon rather than for its intended purpose.
If you are a regular reader of the blog you will know that this year we have been taking a close look at post war Canadian webbing. So far we have only covered items from the 51 pattern set, however thanks to the kind help of my fellow collector Andrew Iarocci I now have 64 and 82 pattern sets in my collection and we will be looking at these over the coming months as well. It made sense to me to start with something of an overview of each set, and tonight we start off by looking at some of the history of the 64 pattern set, then over the coming months we can look at each component in more detail.I would argue that the 64 pattern set was one of the worst equipment sets every forced upon the poor infantryman. It was designed at a time where it was expected that warfare would be on a post-nuclear battlefield and troops would remain buttoned up in their armoured personnel carriers for much of the time. Therefore it made sense to make the webbing as minimal as possible. Note then that there are no ammunition pouches- you were supposed to carry your magazines in your pocket! As the set would not be supporting the weight of ammunition pouches, the yoke has very flimsy 1” wide straps, which were uncomfortable to wear for any length of time. Finally all the components are held together with Velcro. This is fine for quickly reconfiguring the set, but Velcro becomes less effective when it is wet and items had an annoying habit of dropping off on exercise! One user noted:
Problem is Velcro often does not work when wet and every now and then we do have to work in the rain. You either taped everything up with gun tape which looked stylish and made it hard to adjust your webbing ( removing/ adding jackets) or prayed you didn’t have all your gear fall off during ATC.
I seriously doubt whoever designed it was an infanteer. The web gear seemed ok for Arty and Engineer types who just needed something to hold NBCD kit and say water bottle close to hand while doing their thing and without being too bulky and intrusive. Also because of its minimal size it was ok for vehicle crews…Like most I loved it when first issued after this Korean/WW2 vintage stuff we’d had, but to be honest I soon missed that and was raiding my old gear for ammo pouches etc.
We will come back to this set in more detail in the coming months, next week we will take an overview of its successor, the 82 pattern set.